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PG&E Forces 800,000 Customers to Begin Living Off Grid in California

Off Grid Living - Installing Solar Power to Produce Off Grid Electricity

Off Grid Living – Installing Solar Power to Produce Off Grid Electricity

PG&E confirms power will shut off to 800,000 customers statewide

Sacramento, California (October 8, 2019) – PG&E announced that many of the northern counties of California will see a power shutoff beginning at midnight Tuesday; a second round of outages is expected to impact the Bay Area starting at noon Wednesday.

“The power will be turned off to communities in stages, depending on local timing of the severe wind conditions, beginning with counties in the northern part of the state,” PG&E said in a statement.

After days of warning, Pacific Gas & Electric confirmed Tuesday afternoon that 800,000 customers across 34 California counties would be left in the dark starting at midnight.

To help homeowners without power, PG&E offers customer both solar incentives for installing solar power and well as rebates for adding solar battery backup banks for their solar power arrays so that they will be able to generate their own electricity, even when the power grid has been turned off.

Guide to Off Grid Living - How to Select between Mono-Crystalline vs Polycrystalline Solar Panels

Guide to Off Grid Living – How to Select between Mono-Crystalline vs Polycrystalline Solar Panels

The utility planned the shutoff as a precaution due to “unprecedented wildfire risk,” the company said in a Tuesday night press conference.

“The power will be turned off to communities in stages, depending on local timing of the severe wind conditions, beginning with counties in the northern part of the state,” PG&E said in a statement.

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

PG&E said it would communicate with affected customers directly via automated calls, texts and emails. It also created a map of affected areas, which you can check for your neighborhood. PG&E’s site was intermittently down Tuesday, so we’ve put some of the maps in the gallery at the top of this story.

PG&E said the shutoffs would begin just after midnight early Wednesday morning. PG&E meteorologists forecast high winds to last until midday Thursday, but power could be out for several days longer.

“Before restoring power, PG&E must inspect its equipment for damage and make any necessary repairs. That process cannot begin until the severe weather event has subsided,” the company said.

The outages could last “five days or longer” in some areas.

“It’s also important to remember that some of our customers may experience a power shutoff even though the weather conditions in their specific location are not extreme,” said Sumeet Singh, PG&E vice president of the Community Wildfire Safety Program in a Tuesday night press conference.

“The reason why this happens is because of the inter-connected nature of our electrical grid and the power lines working together to provide electricity through cities, counties and regions. We’re working directly with state and local agencies to help prepare our customers and the public for this safety event,” he added.

ALSO: Map shows neighborhoods impacted by PG&E power shutoffs

The weather this week is expected to be dry and windy, which makes the risk of a catastrophic wildfire high, PG&E officials said. The utility company wants to shut off power so its electric equipment doesn’t start a wildfire as has happened in recent years. Singh stressed that the shutoff is only implemented as a “last resort.”

The number of potential customers affected in each Bay Area county, according to PG&E, is:

  • 32,613 customers in Alameda County
  • 40,219 customers in Contra Costa County
  • 66,289 customers in Sonoma County
  • 32,124 customers in Napa County
  • 14,766 customers in San Mateo County
  • 38,123 customers in Santa Clara County
  • 32,862 customers in Solano County
  • 9,855 customers in Marin County

Read more:
https://www.sfgate.com/california-wildfires/article/PG-E-power-outage-800-000-customers-length-number-14501984.php#item-85307-tbla-10

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Guide to Off Grid Living: What Are the Best Dog Breeds for an Off Grid Property?

See more “Guide to Off Grid Living” photos:  ▶️ https://buff.ly/2xrL2Ko

The Best Dog Breeds to Make a Good Pet for an Off Grid Cabin or Home

The Best Dog Breeds to Make a Good Pet for an Off Grid Cabin or Home

 

 

#Australian #BlueHeelers #BorderCollies #Cabin #Catahoula #LeopardDogs #Corgis #Dogs #German #Shepherds #GoldenRetrievers #GreatPyrenees #Homes #Labrador #Retrievers #LivingOffGrid #News #OffGridLiving #Rottweilers #Sheds #Texas #UnitedStates

How to Raise Crickets for Food for Chickens, Ducks, Fish and Reptiles for Off the Grid Farms

Off Grid Living:  How to Raise Crickets for
Food for Chickens, Ducks, Fish and Reptiles

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Off Grid Living - How to Raise Crickets for Food for Chickens, Ducks, Fish and Reptiles

Off Grid Living – How to Raise Crickets for Food for Chickens, Ducks, Fish and Reptiles

Raising Crickets for Food for Chickens, Ducks, Fish and Reptiles

New Mexico – Breeding crickets is surprisingly easy and a great way to have different sizes on hand for feeding an array of animals. In this blog, we’ll run down the supplies needed and the techniques we use to breed and raise crickets.

How to Get a Cricket Farm Started

First, you’ll need to order in some crickets – you’ll want to order 3/4”, as most adult crickets have already been bred before they are shipped out. This base of crickets will set you up for success and get the life cycle moving quickly.

How to Build Houses for Crickets

Your crickets housing is up to you. Some have great success with 10 and 20-gallon tanks, and others prefer plastic tote bins. Whatever you use is up to you, just make sure the sides are high enough crickets can’t jump out, or provide a well-ventilated top.

Set up the 3/4” crickets as you would any other crickets – egg crate for climbing and hiding, then a food and water source. Josh’s Frogs cricket food and Insect watering gel is the easiest way to go as these items wont spoil like fresh vegetables will.

You’ll want to maintain crickets at a temperature of 85-89 degrees Fahrenheit with low humidity. This can easily be achieved with a low-watt light suspended above your cricket housing.

How to Know If Crickets Are Laying Eggs

After crickets are mature, in generally 1-2 weeks, you’ll hear plenty of chirping. This is an indication your crickets are ready to breed and it’s time to provide them with a place to lay their eggs.

At Josh’s Frogs, we use sandwich containers containing 2 ½ cups of vermiculite and ¾ cups water. Any shallow container will work, so long as it can hold the vermiculite and water. Using a container that you can pop a top onto is ideal.

Place the egg laying container on top of a piece of egg crate in your crickets enclosure, then use a smaller piece of egg crate to make a ramp up to to the container. Leave the container in place for a couple days to give your crickets plenty of time to lay their eggs. Then remove it for incubation.

How to Incubate Cricket Eggs

Cover half of the egg container’s top with paper towel to catch condensation, then put on the top. Incubate the egg laying bin at 89F for 8-10 days. We’ve modified freezers as incubators at Josh’s Frogs, or you can purchase an Exo-Terra Incubator for easy use.

What to Do When Baby Crickets Are Hatched

After the pinhead crickets hatch, place the bin in a container the pinheads cannot escape from and provide them with a bit of egg crate to act as a ramp.

You can feed out the pinheads to your animals, or raise them up to a larger size before feeding. Younger crickets require a higher level of humidity than older crickets.

Source: http://www.joshsfrogs.com/catalog/blog/2015/03/how-to-breed-crickets/

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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The Best Gas, Battery and Electric-Powered Chainsaws for Off Grid Cabins, Sheds and Homesteads in 2020

Off Grid Living – The Best Gas, Battery and Electric-Powered Chainsaws for Off Grid Cabins, Sheds and Homesteads in 2020

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Off Grid Living - The Best Gas, Battery and Electric-Powered Chainsaws of 2020

Off Grid Living – The Best Gas, Battery and Electric-Powered Chainsaws of 2020

Picking the Best Gas, Battery and Electric-Powered Chainsaws of 2020

New York – There are three main types of chainsaw to choose from; gas-powered chainsaws are most frequently used by professionals, as they are the most powerful, and can run longer than their electric counterparts. STIHL chainsaws are perhaps the best known brands in this category, and you can get some very capable Husqvarna chainsaws in this class too, but you might not need a tool of that magnitude.

For many domestic users, who mostly need chainsaws for home purposes, such as cutting branches off trees and chopping down smaller trees, battery-powered electric chainsaws can often do the job nicely. If you’re on a budget, have a small garden, or only need to call on your chainsaw-wielding abilities every now and then, a corded chainsaw might be enough for you.

Do keep in mind, of course, that chainsaws are incredibly dangerous power tools, so make sure you use protective equipment at all times, and thoroughly read the manual for whatever chainsaw you end up choosing, treating it with care at all times.

Also, frequent use will wear down the chain, making its jagged teeth blunt. If you don’t want to keep forking out for new chains, get yourself a chainsaw sharpener and follow our chainsaw maintenance tips at the bottom of this guide.

Source: https://bestofmachinery.com/best-chainsaw/

Do chainsaw Chains Stretch?

Chainsaw Chains can wear out over time and will begin to “stretch” out. If your saw is not getting enough oil, the friction of the chain rubbing against the guide can heat the chain and will wear it down more quickly. It is important to make sure that you are adjusting to let enough oil onto your blade in order to prolong the life of your chain. Remember that larger guides and chains will require more oil and that you will also have to up the output if you are cutting particularly dry wood or dirty bark.

Another problem that can cause a chain to “stretch” is a worn out sprocket. If your chain is no longer gripping to the sprocket as it should, this can make for a lose fit along the guide. Check out the manufacturer’s instructions for help with changing your chain or sprocket and for more tips on avoiding unnecessary wear.

Do Chainsaws Overheat?

Yes, chainsaws can overheat. Chainsaws, like many power tools, have powerful engines that can run at very high temperatures and can overheat, particularly during the summer months. Regular maintenance and cleaning of your saw can help to prevent overheating as air intake areas on saws can become clogged with dust, debris, or oil buildup.

The engine, guide-bar and chain should also be kept clean, (fueled with a non-ethanol fuel mixture, for gas-powered saws) and lubricated in order to reduce friction that can overheat the saw.

Does Chainsaw need Oil?

Yes, yes, and yes. Proper lubrication of your chainsaw will keep it running smoothly and efficiently, and reduce overheating and wear over time. Most saws come with auto-lubrication systems, so, as long as you make sure you have plenty of oil in the tank, and are regularly cleaning your equipment, you should be able to maximize your chainsaw’s lifespan.

How to use a Chainsaw?

Every chainsaw works differently, as startup, stopping, and operational features and procedures can vary greatly between models. It is imperative that you carefully read the operating instructions that come with your specific machine in order to ensure safe operation of your new chainsaw. Also, before you go out and buy your chainsaw you need to find the right size and weight of chainsaw you feel comfortable using.

Are Stihl chainsaws the best?

STIHL certainly makes a good case for being one of the best brand of chainsaws. If you’re willing to put out the cash for a fine chainsaw, it’s worth a trip to the hardware store to look at a STIHL.

By most accounts, you can expect these saws to be powerful, durable, reliable and long lasting. The STIHL MS170 performed well in our tests, but missed out on being our best overall pick due to its price and entry-level nature. We found it to be smooth, fast and agile, making clean, straight cuts every time we used it.

One other thing to note about STIHL chainsaws is that it’s almost impossible to purchase them online. You’ll have to go to a local STIHL dealer, which you’ll be able to find through the company’s dealer locator on their website.

Source: https://www.toptenreviews.com/best-chainsaws

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  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:
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How to Get Rid of Skunks and Discourage Them from Visiting Your Off Grid Homestead

Off Grid Living – How to Get Rid of Skunks and
Discourage Them from Visiting Your Off Grid Homestead

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Off Grid Living - How to Get Rid of Skunks and Discourage Them from Visiting Your Off Grid Home

Off Grid Living – How to Get Rid of Skunks and Discourage Them from Visiting Your Off Grid Home

Getting Rid of Skunks and Discouraging Them from Visiting Your Off Grid Homes, Cabins, Sheds, Porches, Patios and Chicken Coops

Idaho – Having skunks around your home can present a number of health and safety hazards. Aside from the threat of being sprayed with their noxious musk, skunks are also known carriers of rabies and other diseases that can harm your family or pets.

Skunks will also tear open trash bags and topple garbage cans, which can attract other vermin and insects to your home. By removing food sources, eliminating hiding places and using an effective skunk repellent, you can make your home inhospitable to skunks, forcing them to go elsewhere.

Five Important Steps to Dissuade Skunks from Visiting

Step 1: Remove food sources around your home, such as pet-food bowls and low-hanging bird feeders.

Step 2: Place all trash in cans with tight-fitting, locking lids.

Step 3: Eliminate any insect infestations you have. Also be sure to take care of any rodent infestations, as skunks will eat small rodents.

Step 4: Remove piles of brush, wood or other debris in your yard that could serve as a hiding place for skunks.

Step 5: Use wire mesh to seal any openings in or around your home that skunks could be using to enter crawlspaces, basements or other areas.

Once you’ve eliminated food sources and hiding places, your home will be less appealing to skunks

Source: http://www.havahart.com/articles/rid-skunks-5-steps

Common Skunk Repellents and Their Effectiveness

There are numerous repellents on the market. However, many of these repellents contain harmful chemicals which may poison your pets or children if they come into contact with a treated area. In addition, they are often ineffective. Here are some other repellents which have varying effects:

Predator Urine – Sprinkling the urine of dogs, coyotes, or other predators near the den often has some effect. These may be obtained at many outdoor stores (or via your own pet). The downsides to using urine is that it must be reapplied every 24 hours, can be washed away when it rains, and is only a partial solution. You will still need to take precautions, such as installing a fence, in order to keep the skunks away. Be warned that your dog’s urine may attract stray dogs if they are not fixed.

Ammonia – Many home remedies call for mothballs or ammonia as a means to repel skunks. While skunks do have a sensitive sense of smell, these methods are not very effective. In addition, ammonia may be washed away by rain and must be reapplied frequently. If you choose to use ammonia to turn away a skunk, your best choice is the aforementioned predator urine.

Cayenne Pepper – when carefully sprinkled near the entrance of a den, will help drive the skunks away. Note that this method will require a fresh application after rain, and further measures, such as fencing, must be taken to keep the skunks from returning.

Citrus Peels – Orange or lemon peels are also quite effective. Sprinkle these around where the skunk likes to go and it will start to avoid those areas. Peels have the advantage of lasting until they decompose and will also repel many other pests. Once the skunk is out of your yard, fence him out for good.

Hot Pepper Spray – Cayenne pepper can also be used to make a repellent spray. Chop one yellow onion, and some Jalapeño peppers. Mix these with one tablespoon of cayenne pepper and boil in two quarts of water for at least 20 minutes. Strain the mixture with a cheesecloth and place into a spray bottle. The skunk will avoid anything sprayed with this liquid, although it must be reapplied once every three to five days or after rain.

Source: https://pestkilled.com/how-to-get-rid-of-skunks/

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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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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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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