Category Archives: Colorado

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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/

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How to Build a Wood Chip Composting Toilet for an Off Grid Cabin, Shed or Home

 

Off Grid Living – How to Build a Wood Chip
Composting Toilet for an Off Grid Cabin, Shed or Home

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Off Grid Living - How to Build a Wood Chip Composting Toilet for an Off Grid Cabin, Shed or Home

How to Build a Wood Chip Composting Toilet for an Off Grid Cabin, Shed or Home

Off Grid Wood Chip Composting Toilets

A composting toilet is not an outhouse with a hole in thing in the ground!  It does not smell.  It does not create pollution and building a compost toilet is a good way to take refuse and turn it into a important resource for gardening. It combines human waste and dry materials such as sawdust, wood chips, pine needles, crushed leaves, or wood ash and composts it with straw at a high heat to kill potential pathogens.

At the end of the process you are left with sweet smelling, clean, and hygienic compost that can be used to feed black soldier fly bins, which produce larvae for chicken feed and compost that can be used to fertilize gardens.

Please join our Off Grid Living 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” => https://livingoffgrid.home.blog/guide-to-off-grid-living/

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Solar Powered Lighting Systems for Off Grid Cabins and Sheds

Off Grid Living: Solar Powered Lighting
Systems for Off Grid Cabins and Sheds

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Solar Powered Lighting Systems for Off Grid Cabins and Sheds

Solar Powered Lighting Systems for Off Grid Cabins and Sheds

How to Install Off Grid Solar-Powered Lights

One of the first things you’ll learn when camping or off grid living is that without electricity, it gets dark quickly.

But solar power is a great way to provide a wide variety of lighting and security systems that will let see what is making that big bumping sound in the backyard at 2:00 am in the morning.

How Off Grid Solar Lights Work

Solar spotlights are powered by photovoltaic cells, which convert sunlight to electricity on the atomic level. Each cell contains a thin, flat semiconductor panel with a positive charge on one side and negative on the other. Sunlight causes the semiconductor’s atoms to blow apart, releasing electrons; the electrons are recaptured as electric current between the positive and negative charges. The electricity then travels through a cable to power the spotlight. Solar energy is also stored in the interior battery for use at night or on cloudy days.

Uses for Off Grid Solar Security Lights

Solar spotlights are particularly useful in illuminating outdoor spaces where traditional extension cords or bundles of wiring aren’t practical, such as in formal gardens, large open lawns or residential entrances. Newer models offer light emitting diodes (LEDs), which illuminate more effectively and efficiently than old-fashioned incandescent bulbs. Whether you choose to light a wide area from above or train the beam from ground level on an individual object, such as garden statuary, you can easily install individual spotlights without hiring a professional contractor.

Best Places to Install Off Grid Solar Lights

The foremost concern with installing solar spotlights is ensuring that enough sunlight reaches the photovoltaic cell. Spotlights today usually feature a long power cable between the cell and the actual light, so you can place the cell in a sunny spot that receives about eight hours of light a day, and position the spotlight where you want it.

For ground-level lighting, stake the cell in the ground so the cell faces the brightest sun, and then stake the light in the ground a few feet away from the object you wish to illuminate. Train the beam upward to focus on the object.

Mounting solar spotlights over entrances, garage doors or decks involves screwing the light’s baseplate into the vertical wall or post over the area you want to brighten, then angling the light’s beam downwards. With these types, the solar cell may be attached to the light’s hood or via a power cable; in both cases, the cell still needs to receive sufficient sunlight for operation.

Source: https://homeguides.sfgate.com/install-solarpowered-spotlights-79769.html

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How to Select a Wood Stove Based on the Size of Your Off Grid Cabin

The 6 Essential Considerations for Buying the Right-Sized
Wood Burning Stove for Your Off Grid Shed, Cabin or Home

By 30X40 Design Workshop

The video above presents a comprehensive buying guide for wood stoves – a primer on exactly what you’ll need to know before buying a wood stove for your off grid shed, cabin, container home, earthship, steel building, tent, tiny house, yurt and/or any other type of off home.

Top Stove Buying Decision Include:

  • Steel vs. Cast Iron Cost
  • Stove Output (BTU vs. Size)
  • Firebox size
  • Efficiency Catalytic vs. Non-Catalytic
  • Flue (Interior and Exterior)
  • Hearth Protection
  • Wood Storage Ash Pan
  • Aesthetics Maintenance

Checklist of Items to Consider when Buying a Wood Stove:

It may be summer now, but winter is coming and its going to be a cold one. Here are some simple considerations to think about when buying the right wood stove for your shed, cabin or other type of off grid home.

1. Decide Between a Fireplace and a Wood Burning Stove

There are two main types of wood stoves.  A fireplace, which is usually imbedded into a wall and a free standing stove, which sits in an open air space somewhere in a room. Fireplaces are usually open and waste a lot of energy and are prone to fires outside the fireplace as popping wood can send sparks flying out onto the room’s floor.

Free standing stoves are usually better because they can control the burn rate of your wood. They are much safer because they keep the fire enclosed inside a door. And, they radiant heat on a 360 degree basis, which is really important in very cold climates. When combined with masonry stone walls, they will heat up stone that will do a great job of efficiently heating up your home and keeping it toasty warm.

2. How Large Should Your Heat Source Be?

Picking the right sized wood stove for your living space is critical. A number of wood stoves for sale come with huge fireboxes, 3, 4, and sometimes even 5 cubic feet. But with modern insulation and the supplementary heat that most houses have now, these are usually overkill. A home between 2,000 and 3,000 square feet usually calls for a wood stove with a firebox between 2 and 2.5 cubic feet. If you’re heating a smaller space, like a garage or a cabin, you might want to try looking for even smaller wood burning stoves – 1 to 1.5 cubic feet.

3. Efficiency, Efficiency, Efficiency – Meeting EPA Standards

Higher efficiency means less money spent on wood, less work chopping and hauling wood, and a product that is better for the environment. Older wood stoves tend to be inefficient and waste wood and many companies don’t publish their efficiencies as a result. Look for wood stoves for sale that have EPA listed efficiencies of 70% or above to get the most bang for your buck. Some new stoves, like MF Fire’s Catalyst, also come with smart thermostat technology that helps to cut down on overheating, giving a real world efficiency boost of 20 to 25%. Buying a wood stove from MF Fire means less chopping, less stacking, and fewer trips to the wood pile during winter storms.

4. Clean Air and the New EPA Regulations

Gone are the days of smoke belching potbelly stoves. New clean air standards have set a high bar, restricting wood stove smoke emissions to only 2.0 grams/hour by January 2020, making nearly 85% of currently available wood stove illegal to sell. But some manufacturers are still trying to squeeze out their old units before the deadline. To get the cleanest and most efficient burn, look for wood burning stoves for sale with EPA listed emissions below 2.0 g/hr.

5. Catalytic or Non-Catalytic Fireboxes

When they were first introduced in the 80’s catalytic stoves, or wood burning stoves that use a catalytic combustor to reduce emissions, got a bad reputation. These initial poorly designed wood burning stoves were impossible to get started and used catalytic combustors that fouled and went bad after only a few seasons. New catalytic stoves don’t have those problems.

Most catalytic wood stoves for sale today are significantly cleaner and more efficient than their non-catalytic counterparts and those catalytic combustors can last for 10 years or more. When they do need to be replaced, the replacements generally cost less than $100. Some catalytic stoves can be harder to start, but buying a wood stove with new smart stove technology like automatic igniters or MF Fire’s TurboStart technology makes them easier to start than ever.

6. Smart Wood Burning Stoves

Technology is in everything nowadays: phones, cars, even refrigerators. Modern wood stoves are no exception. Some new wood stoves include features that make it easier to start, remotely control your burn, and even to protect your family from chimney fires. Buying a wood stove with these modern features help those of us who are getting up in years to do a little less work and have a lot more peace of mind. While smart wood stoves frequently cost a bit more, buying a wood stove with the added features are usually more than worth it.

7. Gathering and Stacking Wood

Acquiring, stacking and moving wood will become a part of your life. I personally embrace these as part of my choice to live in a cold climate, and I feel like the added effort is good for both myself and the environment — but it’s certainly not for everyone.

Source: https://mffire.com/ 

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More articles on Wood Stoves for Off Grid Homes:

Off Grid Living - How to Make the World's Best Trap for Only $5

How to Build the World’s Best Mouse Trap for Only $5 that’s Easy to Build

Off Grid Living – How to Build the World’s
Best Mouse Trap for Only $5 Easy to build

Off Grid Living - How to Build a PVC Trap for Rats, Mice, Squirrels, Turtles & Raccoons

Off Grid Living – How to Build a PVC Trap for Rats, Mice, Squirrels, Turtles & Raccoons

Catches and kills mice and rats all night long. No need to reset or re-bait. Rolling log mouse trap. This trap works best if you can get the holes drilled exactly in the centers of the pipe ends. In hind site I would have drilled them before pushing them onto the pipe.

Read, see and learn more at: https://buff.ly/2HSgWI7

Watch the #YouTube #Video: https://youtu.be/n1EsnIshQYw

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Living Off Grid in Colorado

How to Start Living Off Grid in Colorado

Searching for Information on How to Start Living Off Grid in Colorado? Our “Living Off Grid Newsletter” Provides Everything You Need to Research Before Building an Off Grid Cabin in Colorado

Have questions about what it will take to live off the grid in Colorado? Join our Colorado Off Grid Living Group on Facebook to read, see and learn more about the Off Grid Living lifestyle!

Who Wants to Start Living Off Grid in Colorado?

What is the Best Way to Find Affordable Off Grid Land for Sale in Colorado?

What Kind of Off Grid Home Would You Like Build in Colorado?

How Much Solar Will You Need for Electricity in Colorado?

How Much Rainwater Will You Need to Harvest in Colorado?

How Will You Heat Your Off Grid Cabin in Colorado?

How Will You Provide Food for Your Family in Colorado?

How to Build Fences/Roads for Off Grid Properties in Colorado?

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