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This topic contains 5 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  treetopflyer 5 years, 10 months ago.

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    Hi guys and gals! Like many of you I too am learning about what it takes to live independently. The Mrs. and I found 72 acres north of McNeal, AZ that we plan on building a straw bale off-grid home for vacation and then retirement. Pretty steep learning curve with all the aspects of doing such. One of my biggest fears is sizing the solar PV and battery requirements along with proper design of the electrics i.e. go with low voltage LED lighting or stick with inverters and just stay with 120vac throughout? That’s more of a rhetorical question right now. The water well will go in first followed by a barn. After that we will salvage and store as many supplies and material as possible and improve as we go. This is going to be a strictly cash as we go venture over the next 10 years. I’m looking forward to sharing with all and learning from your experiences.



    Hello and welcome!

    Sounds like you are doing the right stuff, specifically not going into debt to live your dream. :)

    I would say to not wait too long to do things though, when my hubby and I decided it was time to jump ship and live our independent lives, we didn’t let any moss grow under our feet, once we found our acreage, we began to build, very much on the cheap, we got a small place put up to live in while we did the rest of the stuff necessary to live, the first couple of years were challenging, we were learning too. It’s been so worth it though. We completely gave up our old lives in the city, jumped in with both feet.

    Please feel free to ask any questions, you will find lots of friendly folk here more than willing to share knowledge, advice and experience.




    TreasureGift, thanks for the reply, I would love to drop everything and head to the property, but I’m still a slave to the $$$. I’m trying to amass some sort of retirement (started a little late) while building our dream, that way when we’re done with our current careers we will be debt free and only need a modest stipend to keep the “farm” running.

    Doug in Yuma



    Left out a few thoughts (got distracted), in the interim, this will be our vacation project. When we can, we’ll head to the property and take on an improvement, be it site prep and lay-out, pump shed, etc. Once the barn goes up in a year or two…we’re planning on ruffing it in there…I’d hardly consider it ruffing it though, we’ll have four walls and a roof, water and a generator for those occasions we need to run some tools or charge batteries…the rest will be portable kerosene and propane appliances for light and cooking and love to keep us warm! I’m not naive enough to think that it will be easy or as cheap as we’d like, but there will be some victories along the way to dampen out and defeats and in the end will be ours, built with our wits and brawn. Don’t you just love the sound of “rugged individualism”

    Doug in Yuma




    For what it is worth department. Since you are building a full sized house, my recommendation would be to wire it as a normal 120V system. The basic wiring is pretty standard and well known by all why are the least bit handy electrically. Even before you can afford to install solar panels, you can run the house with a small genset. Then when you can afford solar panels you install themand plug them into the house system. DC systems will incur wire losses in long wire runs and if you undersize the wires they tend to get hot. Not a good idea in strawbale construction.

    If you need a deep well for water you may not find a solar powered pump adequate for depth or flow rate. With the house system wired per normal it is easier to run a deep well pump with a generator. this is how my wife’s uncle handles his off grid home.



    Thanks elnav…That’s kind of what I was thinking. I’m fairly handy with house wiring/ 120VAC…the only experience with DC voltage is vehicle wiring. I’m in communications with a driller who is local to the property and survey will it for depth requirements and production capability. That quote will give me a good idea of what amp requirements I’ll need for the well pump.

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