Category Archives: Off Grid Living

Off Grid Living – Prepping to Live Off the Grid

How to Build and Insulate a Wooden Floor for an Off Grid Shed, Cabin or Home

Off Grid Living: How to Build and Insulate
a Wooden Floor for an Off Grid Shed, Cabin or Home

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Off Grid Living - How to Build and Insulate a Wooden Floor for an Off Grid Shed, Cabin or Home

Off Grid Living – How to Build and Insulate a Wooden Floor for an Off Grid Shed, Cabin or Home

Building and Insulating a Wooden Floor for an Off Grid Shed, Cabin or Home

Colorado – One of the important areas that many people skip on insulating are shed and cabin floors due to limited access to the underside of floors because of small crawl spaces or budget problems. One of the main problems, especially in very cold environments is the combination of using propane to heat, cold furniture, and lots of humidity inside a shed, cabin or home.

Propane releases a lot of moisture when it burns and then cold furniture such as metal bed frames, claw feat on a bathtub and even the legs of a wood stove where the metal is cooler than the room or cold because the floor is not insulated causes water to condense, drip down and then saturate the wood underneath.  This will cause the wood to rot and black mold to spread underneath the floor and into the home’s walls. By the time you discover the problem, it will be a giant mess and very expensive to clean up properly. It is much better to insulate as much as your budget will allow.

The best way to protect against moisture build up during winter months is to insulate underneath the floors and all of the walls. Filling the spaces between the floor joists under the cottage with insulation batts is the simplest and most cost-effective method to prevent air leaks and cold air from seeping int. To get the highest R-value, completely fill the cavities between the joists and then seal with plastic sheets or tape all seams.

If you only use the cottage a couple of weekends each winter, adding minimal insulation would be enough to keep your tootsies from freezing solid when you step out of bed in the morning. But if you’re crawling under the cottage to insulate anyway, then make dodging the spiderwebs worthwhile by spending a little extra money and time and getting the most R-value for your efforts.

Cover your insulation with 1/4 “hardware cloth” also called #welded wire.” The size of metal screen should be small enough to keep out nuisance animals, such as mice. Place the insulation batts against the underside of the floor, then cover with the hardware cloth, securing it to the joists with a staple gun. Make sure you haven’t overfilled the space—squishing the batts a little bit is okay, but too much compression will reduce their insulating properties.

It would also be worth your while to either install welded wire all the way around the perimeter of the house and/or run soffit all the way to the ground.  And like the perimeter of a chicken coop also bury the welded wire flat going out 2 ft from the home’s edge. Then bury it and stack heavy rocks all the way around. This will keep skunks, coons, opossums, foxes, rabbits, rats, mice and all kinds of varmints from making a home underneath your cabin.

Source: https://cottagelife.com/design-diy/insulating-the-floor-of-a-cottage/

Want to Learn More? Join our Off Grid Discussion Group on Facebook!

  1. To learn more and discuss off grid topics, please join our free Facebook group at:
    Off Grid Living: Prepping to Live Off the Grid
  2. Or, read more topics in our “Guide to Off Grid Living” at:
    https://LivingOffGrid.Home.Blog/Guide-to-Off-Grid-Living/

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#OffGridLiving #LivingOffGrid #Wood #Floor #Insulation #Batts #Sheds #Cabins #Homes #Pier #Footers #HardwareCloth #WeldedWire #Moisture #Mold #Rot #Joists #Tempered #WaterProof #Plywood

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How to Size a Generator to Back Up an Off Grid Solar System

Off Grid Living – How to Size a Generator to Back Up an Off Grid Solar System

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Off Grid Living - How to Size a Generator to Back Up an Off Grid Solar System

Off Grid Living – How to Size a Generator to Back Up an Off Grid Solar System

Sizing a Generator to Back Up an Off Grid Solar System

California – When searching for a generator to support your off-grid solar system, keep a few things in mind:

  • Generator output should be 2x your inverter’s output
  • Match generator voltage to inverter voltage
  • Generator must be warrantied for off-grid use
  • 2-wire start is mandatory to work automatically with solar system
  • 3600 RPM generators are more cost-effective, while 1800 RPM generators cost more up front but last longer and are more efficient

Generator Sizing

As a general rule, the generator should be around 2 times the size of the inverter’s continuous output. For example, a 4,000-watt inverter should be paired with an 8,000-watt generator.

This is because the generator needs to charge batteries while still powering the loads (appliances using energy). If the loads total 4,000 watts, and the charger is 60 amps at 48 volts, that totals around 7kW of continuous power:

60a x 48v = 2,880 watts + 4,000 watts = 6,880 watts

8kW would make sense as a minimum generator size to power the loads and have enough power to charge the battery bank as well.

It’s a good idea to round up slightly to give some headroom for the generator, especially at higher elevations where your generator is going to lose some of its power. Engines can lose around 3% of their power for every 1,000’ increase in altitude. Make sure you account for this if your system will be installed at a high elevation.

Can I Use a Larger Generator?

A larger generator can be beneficial if you have large loads like an air conditioner or a welder that will only be used when the generator is running.

We frequently sell 12kW and 14kW Kohler generators with our off-grid systems using a 4000w inverter. A larger generator is going to burn more fuel, but otherwise will work fine.

Can I Use a Smaller Generator?

Smaller generators will still work, but it typically requires adjusting the settings to limit the battery charger’s output. Most battery chargers allow you to adjust the AC input amperage and charge rate.

You will need to match the generator’s voltage with the inverter. For example, 120Vac generators should be paired with 120Vac inverter/chargers, while 120/240Vac generators need an inverter that outputs 120/240Vac.

In the rare case that you are using a three-phase generator or inverter, the same rules apply: the generator’s voltage would need to match the inverter.

There is one exception we are aware of. Magnum PAE inverters are 120/240Vac but can handle a 120Vac input, provided you turn down the charge rate to 50% or lower, and adjust the AC input amps to match the size of the generator. This is useful if you need an inverter that can output 120/240Vac but are working with a smaller generator.

Generator Fuel Type (Natural Gas, Propane, Diesel)

Most standby home generators work on natural gas, propane or diesel. Diesel generators tend to be much more fuel efficient and longer lasting, but the initial cost can be 2-3 times more than a natural gas or propane alternative.

The Kohler 12kW & 14kW generators we sell can work with either natural gas or propane. Off-grid customers typically use propane instead of natural gas, but these models can be configured to work with either fuel type.

Warranty

Most generators don’t have a warranty that covers off-grid or prime power applications. Check the generator warranty closely to be sure it can be used off the grid.

Kohler’s 12RES and 14RESA generators are both warrantied for 18 months / 1000 hours of off-grid use (whichever comes first).

If you need more power, dual 14RESA generators can be combined in parallel with the Kohler Powersync module for 28 kW of output.

2-Wire Start

Off-grid generators paired with solar power systems need 2-wire start capability to allow the automatic generator start (AGS) function to work. When your batteries drop below a certain voltage, the AGS kicks in to turn on the generator and recharge your battery bank.

Note that 2-wire start is different than electric start. Some generators will have a button for electric start/stop, but they can’t be controlled by a 2-wire signal, which means the inverter can’t communicate with the generator to trigger the AGS mechanism.

The Kohler 12RES and 14RESA are both capable of two-wire start.

1800 RPM vs. 3600 RPM

Most generators operate at one of two engine speeds: 1800 or 3600 RPM.

The difference is based on engine design and the alternator being used. 1800 RPM generators are generally considered superior because they are more fuel-efficient, but they cost quite a bit more up front. 3600 RPM generators tend to be cheaper but less efficient.

The Kohler 12kW and 14kW generators we sell are 3600 RPM. They are very durable, reliable and more cost-effective for typical off-grid applications. Kohler doesn’t make any 1800 RPM generators smaller than 24kW, although there may be options from other manufacturers. Be sure to do your research and read reviews to learn about the company and make sure you are getting a quality product.

Source: https://apelectric.com/general-faq/

Want to Learn More? Join our Off Grid Discussion Group on Facebook!

  1. To learn more and discuss off grid topics, please join our free Facebook group at:
    Off Grid Living: Prepping to Live Off the Grid
  2. Or, read more topics in our “Guide to Off Grid Living” at:
    https://LivingOffGrid.Home.Blog/Guide-to-Off-Grid-Living/

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#1800RPM #3600RPM #AirCooled #Backup #BriggsStratton #California #Cummings #Diesel #Gas #Generac #Generators #Kohler #NaturalGas #OffGridLiving #Propane #UnitedStates #WaterCooled #Winco

How to Build Greenhouses and Cold Garden Frames Out of PVC Pipe

Off Grid Living: How to Build Greenhouses
and Cold Garden Frames Out of PVC Pipe

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Off Grid Living - How to Build a Greenhouse and Cold Garden Frame Out of PVC Pipe

Off Grid Living – How to Build Greenhouses and Cold Garden Frames Out of PVC Pipe

Building Greenhouses and Cold Garden Frames Out of PVC Pipe

Alabama – The greenhouse is an ancient invention, going all the way back to the Roman Empire. It is the oldest example of passive solar heating, creating an environment for plants to grow in, where they otherwise couldn’t survive. Anyone who loves gardening and lives in a cold environment needs to have a greenhouse; at a minimum, to start their plants in the spring.

Yet building a greenhouse is normally considered a very expensive proposition… at least, building a metal and glass one is. However, you can build your own greenhouse for a fraction of the cost and it will work pretty much just as well as one designed by an architect.

This is done by using PVC pipe for the framework, covered by a thin, sheet plastic, commonly used by building contractors to partition off areas and provide temporary weatherproofing to their projects. It is available in varying thickness up to 6 mil. Any thickness of plastic will work, but the thicker variants will last longer.

Source: http://theplywood.com/diy-pvc-greenhouse

Want to Learn More? Join our Off Grid Discussion Group on Facebook!

  1. To learn more and discuss off grid topics, please join our free Facebook group at:
    Off Grid Living: Prepping to Live Off the Grid
  2. Or, read more topics in our “Guide to Off Grid Living” at:
    https://LivingOffGrid.Home.Blog/Guide-to-Off-Grid-Living/

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#OffGridLiving #LivingOffGrid #Howto #Build #Greenhouse #Cold #Garden #PVC #Pipe #Alabama #ColdGardenFrames #Gardens #Greenhouses #LivingOffGrid #News #OffGridLiving #Pipes #PVC #UnitedStates #WindowBoxes

How to Pour Cement Wall Foundation Footers for an Off Grid Shed, Cabin or Home

Off Grid Living – How to Pour Cement Wall
Foundation Footers for an Off Grid Shed, Cabin or Home

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Off Grid Living - How to Pour Cement Wall Foundation Footers for an Off Grid Shed, Cabin or Home

Off Grid Living – How to Pour Cement Wall Foundation Footers for an Off Grid Shed, Cabin or Home

Pouring Cement Wall Foundation Footers for an Off Grid Shed, Cabin or Home

Alaska – All concrete block walls, both structural and non-structural,  require a solid, poured concrete footing. Concrete with high cured strength and rapid strength gain is recommended for pouring footing construction with cement.

All poured concrete/cement footings should be at least twice the width of the concrete blocks used. Standard 8” x 8” x 16” blocks would require a 16” wide footing. Make sure the footing depth extends below the frost line, and check local building codes for construction requirements in your area.

Tie rods should be set a minimum of 6” into the concrete footing for load bearing concrete block walls. Rebar should be placed in every other masonry core to provide structural support.

Source: https://www.todayshomeowner.com/how-to-build-a-concrete-block-wall/2/

Want to Learn More? Join our Off Grid Discussion Group on Facebook!

  1. To learn more and discuss off grid topics, please join our free Facebook group at:
    Off Grid Living: Prepping to Live Off the Grid
  2. Or, read more topics in our “Guide to Off Grid Living” at:
    https://LivingOffGrid.Home.Blog/Guide-to-Off-Grid-Living/

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#Wall Foundations #Pier #Beam #Cement #Concrete #Forms #Rebar #Gravel #Footers #FrostLine #CinderBlocks #FoundationJacks #LivingOffGrid #OffGridLiving #Alaska

How to Pour Cement/Concrete Foundation Piers for an Off Grid Shed, Cabin or Home

Off Grid Living – How to Pour Cement/Concrete
Foundation Piers for an Off Grid Shed, Cabin or Home

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Off Grid Living - How to Pour Cement Foundation Piers for an Off Grid Shed, Cabin or Home

Off Grid Living – How to Pour Cement Foundation Piers for an Off Grid Shed, Cabin or Home

Pouring Cement/Concrete Foundation Piers for an Off Grid Shed, Cabin or Home

Washington – Pouring a cement or concrete slab foundation on a slope or a hill can be an expensive pain. Heavy machinery is expensive to bring in and the soil type may not always conducive to you building a fully dug out basement. A poured foundation, or even a cement pad, can cost thousands and take weeks to build. Again, a cement truck may not even be able to access your shed, cabin or off grid home’s site.

But when building a foundation with a pier and beam footers, it becomes much, much more affordable and is less risky to install and there are many other benefits.

Source: https://theoffgridcabin.com/how-to-build-the-best-foundation-for-an-off-grid-cabin/

Want to Learn More? Join our Off Grid Discussion Group on Facebook!

  1. To learn more and discuss off grid topics, please join our free Facebook group at:
    Off Grid Living: Prepping to Live Off the Grid
  2. Or, read more topics in our “Guide to Off Grid Living” at:
    https://LivingOffGrid.Home.Blog/Guide-to-Off-Grid-Living/

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#Foundations #Pier #Beam #Cement #Concrete #Forms #Rebar #Gravel #Helical #Footers #FrostLine #CinderBlocks #FoundationJacks #LivingOffGrid #OffGridLiving #Washington

How to Drill In Off Grid Foundation Piers with Helical Screw In Steel Footings

Off Grid Living – Metal Foundation Piers – How to Drill
In Off Grid Foundation Piers with Screw In Steel Footings

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Off Grid Living - Metal Foundation Piers - How to Drill In Off Grid Foundation Piers with Screw In Metal Posts

Off Grid Living – Metal Foundation Piers – How to Drill In Off Grid Foundation Piers with Screw In Metal Posts

Drilling In Off Grid Foundation Piers with Helical Screw In Steel Footings

Utah – Helical piers also known as helical piles, screw cylinder anchors and helical foundations started to be used in 1836. This revolutionary engineering technology was discovered and developed by Alexander Mitchell and became utilized as a successful foundation for lighthouses, bridges, piers and homes on hill tops.

After over 170 years of development and use, these helical foundations are successfully used throughout the world to support anything from small residential applications to supporting a variety of large-scale civil engineering structures. Deck footingsfence post basespier footings, metal post foundations for a porch or solarium, ground screw anchors to support an addition to a home are some of the more common residential applications. Helical piers are a foundation technology and can be considered for use in any application requiring a foundational support.

Source: https://www.technometalpost.com/en-US/advantages/helical-piers/

Want to Learn More? Join our Off Grid Discussion Group on Facebook!

  1. To learn more and discuss off grid topics, please join our free Facebook group at:
    Off Grid Living: Prepping to Live Off the Grid
  2. Or, read more topics in our “Guide to Off Grid Living” at:
    https://LivingOffGrid.Home.Blog/Guide-to-Off-Grid-Living/

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#OffGridLiving #LivingOffGrid #Foundation #Piers #Steel #ScrewIn #Posts #Piles #Steel #Screw #Helical #Cylinder #Anchors #DeckFootings #PierFootings

How to Plant Flowers in a Window Box to Brighten Your Daily View

Off Grid Living – How to Plant Flowers
in a Window Box to Brighten Your Daily View

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Off Grid Living - How to Plant Flowers in a Window Box to Brighten Your Daily View

Off Grid Living – How to Plant Flowers in a Window Box to Brighten Your Daily View

 

Planting Flowers in a Window Box to Brighten Your Daily View

Texas – Window boxes add instant curb appeal, brightening up the exterior of your home with blooms and greenery. Whether you’re an urban dweller with limited garden space or a suburbanite looking to liven up your facade, consider filling a few window boxes with a selection of these plants, whose short heights and interesting textures bring beauty and drama to containers.

  • Flowering Bulbs – Often overlooked for window boxes are foolproof flowering bulbs. Whether you do a fall planting of miniature daffodils, snowdrops, or hyacinths for springtime bloom, or you do a late-spring planting of lilies, alliums, or dwarf gladiolus for summertime bloom, be sure to tuck a few bulbs and corms into your window boxes for added impact.
  • Vegetables and Herbs – If you’ve got an accessible location, try planting edibles. Plant herbs like sage, chives, thyme, and mint. Just open the kitchen window when you need some fresh herbs! Cherry tomatoes, lettuce, and kale mixed with marigolds will do nicely in a window box. Like flowers, they will need water every couple of days and fertilizer every two weeks.

Source: https://www.bobvila.com/slideshow/12-plants-that-are-perfect-for-window-boxes-52052

Want to Learn More? Join our Off Grid Discussion Group on Facebook!

  1. To learn more and discuss off grid topics, please join our free Facebook group at:
    Off Grid Living: Prepping to Live Off the Grid
  2. Or, read more topics in our “Guide to Off Grid Living” at:
    https://LivingOffGrid.Home.Blog/Guide-to-Off-Grid-Living/

# # #

#Miniature #Daffodils #Snowdrops #Hyacinths #Lilies #Alliums #Dwarf #Gladiolus #Sage #Chives #Thyme #Mint #OffGridLiving #LivingOffGrid #Gardens #Flowers #Window #Boxes