Tuesday, August 29, 2017

An Easy Way to Cut Your Power Bill & Inexpensive Garden Fencing

Another pretty summer morning at my house. I'm enjoying it while it lasts!

Here's a little video story about how I thought I had a problem with my solar system, but it was actually caused my a careless oversight on my part. Even if you are not off grid with limited power, it's the kind of thing that might save you some cash! One of my followers told me that when she started unplugging everything that was not in use a few years ago, her power bill went down by 25%! That's pretty amazing unless you prefer to just donate extra money to your local power company. :) 

My friend Beth came over and we went current picking together. Despite being at the tail end of the season for currents this year, we found a pretty good pile as you can see. Enough to juice into a little over a quart of wonderful citrusy fresh current juice!

Since a lot of you have inquired, here's a video on how I keep the big critters out of the garden. Most of the time anyway. Including possibly a relatively cheap way to fence your own garden if you live in an area where that is necessary!

In other news, I am still battling my little underground munchers in the garden that are not stopped by any fencing, but the things they have not gotten to are looking good!


  1. Well since you asked for tips......first buy a P3 kilowatt meter, its maybe 20 30 yankey dinerios, nothing...with this you can measure everything individualy or everything at once. No math involved! Plug and play,this device measures everything and displays it at the push of a button, amps, watts, VA, time, volts etc, not another brand, The original P3 model (without battery back up)only, there is reasons why but that's another subject.
    It can also be used as generater diagnostic tool for checking frequence and output voltage.
    Now if you had this device and had been using it you would have noticed something strange about your fridge, I sort of have a idea of the consumption of that model, I am guessing its roughly 9.5 to 10 cuft unit, I say around 300kwhs a year? am I close?
    You would have noticed that every few days (depends on model)all of a sudden the unit will draw a huge spike of current from your batteries, and this can be for 15 minutes, or even a hour (again depends on model, size, etc) This draw is due to the unit (as all are)being a self defrosting fridge, and how do they defrost your fridge your thinking? well they turn on @$5# heating coils, Im not making this up, that's what they do, they heat up the coils inside your fridge. If your happy with this, and maybe you are and that's fine, but if like me, and you don't want that, you need to defeat the counting circuit that controls the fridge. This will turn your fridge into a model that you will need to manually defrost, but I have not found this to be a big deal with my 18 cuft unit, a once a year chore...no big deal and now there are no more power spikes being drawn by my fridge at 3am on a dark winters day when I need to save the power I have! 10 years no problem.
    If you get a P3, I will tell you how to do it easily, though defeating the defrost cct is something you can figure out on your own just sitting at the table with a cup of coffee. Even if you just make this change to the fridge for use in the winter, and go back frost free mode for summer, it will save you battery amphrs in the winter..

    Now you cant do this with a fridge, it should stay inside for proper operation, but Frezzers will run fine out side, just stick it in a garden shed. Get about a 5, 6 maybe 7 cuft chest model There ratings are from 270kwhrs a year to 325, Im in the ball park. Those ratings are based on a freezer at room temps. Dynamics change once they are outside, from experience and here is how to do it, measure the inside temp of the frezzer when full and running, its likely somewhere at -12 to -15 c bump it up to -18 -20c, then put a mechanical timer on the power cord set so it only comes on during daylight hours, never at night when the sun isn't out, now your running a freezer off sunshine, and not your batteries. Through the winter this freezer will use 166 to 200 watt hrs a day..nothing really, middle of summer will be 250 375watt hrs a day. This is a dramatic reduction in power use, by keeping it in cooler ambient temps year round. something like a third its enerstar rattings over a year and all without using power from your batteries!!

    Use Philips brand LED lights, best brand I have measured, honest ratings (many aren't).
    Use motion sensors, either occupency sensors that mount right in your switch, or the type that screw right in the socket and you can aim the field to cover the area you want. All my lights are this way, if I have to many happy pops and fall asleep the lights turn themselves off, and no more finger prints on the wall switches (less cleaning)

    1. Thanks! My fridge does not self defrost, one of the reasons I went with this model. I share a chest freezer with a neighbor and it lives in his shop. No keeping a freezer outside here without some serious wildlife/bear proofing.


  2. Go to a Panasonic microwave, the inverter type, not standard model, most magnetrons are duty cycle controlled, and they actually draw full power just in pulses, the inverter microwaves are different when you use lets say the three power level the tron uses a lower peak draw from your batteries, This isn't so much a power saving tip just a equipment usage tip for smaller 12 volt systems cause the microwave is a ugly animal to power on small system, but this model tames it a bit, and this is easier on smaller 12 volt systems. You don't really need a larger system as such, but just more panels would seriously up grade your system, cut generator time.I don't like your charge controller,I have been in that brand, but if your happy with it so be it, but if you ever add more panels that would be a good time to change out that controller.

    1. No microwaves in my house, thanks though. I do know I don't have the best charge controller, it's just the cheap one that came with some of the other components and since it works ok, I haven't decided to spend the money on a better one. Someday when it fails I'll replace it with something different.

  3. Again I forgot to mention, none of the above I would know unless I bought a kilowatt meter. That's why I said that first, nothing is more important than being able to measure things! Just saying, also for those, and they are called MC4 connectors, if you use the googler you will be able to find places like amazon that sell the tool that is used to make taking those MC4 connectors apart trouble free, you should have one!