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I use solar water heater (my own design) in warmer months when it’s most efficient and small propane water heater salvaged from R.V. in winter months. Costs nothing in Summer and very little in Winter. Both fed with same low pressure gravity flow system. Works well for me.
I have to agree with elnav. I have some experience with steam systems and they require constant monitoring and maintenance to be safe. I am not familiar with hot air engines, but with anything steam, you would be making a serious commitment in terms of time, labor, and materials, regardless of your source of heat.
I have read this post several times and am still trying to figure out how a person’s sexual orientation relates to living off the grid any more than it would relate to living on the grid. Unless you are specifically looking for a group of gay men for companionship, I do not think it would make any difference at all. The off gridders I know have a habit of minding their own business and expect the same of others. As far as bigotry is concerned, it exists everywhere, in all social strata, and it is not solely directed at gay people. Any time you find two or more people in a group, you’re going to find some kind of bigotry. Get over it and get on with your life and do what you want to do. Do not let other peoples problems become your own or dictate your life for you. This link may be helpful; https://www.bearridgetradingpost.com/.
Thank you for the link, Elnav. What great information. I already have about 1000 ideas. This link now lives in my bookmarks bar.
Just a quick note about improving the efficiency of a propane fridge. Some years ago, I worked in Arizona and lived in a RV. The temps were 100F degrees plus,and when I came home after working in the hot sun all day, my ice cream was mush. A fellow worker showed me his set-up. He had installed a low drain 12V computer fan on his refrigerator vent and powered it with a cheap solar panel designed for maintaining batteries. It increased the air flow across the coils of the fridge which, in turn, increased the efficiency of the fridge. I tried it and it worked. My ice dream wasn’t frozen hard but, at least, I couldn’t pour it out of the box which was a definite improvement. I think more air flow would have improved it even more but I did not want to cut a hole in the floor to draw cooler air from under the RV.
My wife and I lived without electricity or running water for many years and did not miss it. It is a matter of orientation. We had battery powered radio and needed nothing else. We had a well for water. We did not have a build up of fumes in the house (elnav) because we opened the windows. Folks did just fine without all these luxuries for hundreds of years before Edison came along and invented a light bulb.We are also not Amish (for trm’s benefit), we’re mountain folks. We now have solar systems and gravity flow water and are living in the lap of luxury. We’ve been off the grid for most of our adult lives, and it’s a way of life for us. If we want something we grow it or make it or trade for it. We are in our 60’s so may have a head start on most of you.
Excellent idea for AC, loadarranger, I hope you don’t mind if I copy it at my place. It gets hot here in OK, also. Our home is wired for 12 V. and 120 (generator) but we rarely use the 120 except for AC. Got 12 V. fans from Walley World for 8 bucks each, 2 speed, low amp drain. Push enough air to work. Wired them with 14 ga. wire. Got 12 V lights from “Fish House Supply” on net, priced reasonable, wired them with 14 ga. wire (got a large spool of 14 ga. auto wire at auction). All give good service. Use 60 watt panels to power them. Run Laptops and satellite internet on 4 of Wal-Marts largest Marine deep cycle batteries. Have another 120 watt solar array will set up this winter to compensate for diminished sun. Elnav is correct in what he says, but if you’re more familiar with 12 V. marine systems, it might be your best, most economical choice. Just my .02, I’ve been off grid for about 30 years or more. It pays in the long run to have a system you understand and can trouble-shoot and repair yourself.