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  • in reply to: water storage #63847
    RockHillPhil
    Member

    I gave this some further thought overnight and I reckon you could build a heat store that you then store your water in or over. The theory is a heat absorbent surface, ie a solar panel that passes warmed air through a substrate such as pumice which has a high surface area and is therefore absorbent. The heat is then released by means of vents. This will depend on the amount of radiant heat you get in your chosen location, but assuming it is cold but clear and not grey and cloudy (like gloomy old Devon)then you should be on to a winner.

    I can’t think where you would get plans for this idea but there must be info on the net somewhere as the idea is not a new one. In fact it isn’t that far removed from the Roman underfloor heating system, the difference being you use solar radiation instead of a couple of slaves feeding a fire.

    If you maintain a temperature of just above freezing then the water will stay liquid. It takes a sustained period of cold to start the icing process, however once ice crystals have formed then you are in trouble as the whole process is speeded up. This is why you need to protect all parts of the system, pipework, pumps, inlets etc.

    The best policy is to store larger amounts of water as the heat exchange required to lower to freezing point is greater and so the process will take longer your water will stay wet through all but the longest coldest spells. Again it shouldn’t be too difficult to do some basic maths to calculate the volume of water and the heat used etc. I am no mathematician so can’t help here but any keen physicist at your local university should have the ability to work this out, it is all known physics as water is the basis of a lot of known data for temperature calculation. Hence why zero Celsius is freezing point.

    It would probably pay to have a separate tank over the main tank that acts as a filling reservoir so the cold incoming water is separated from the main store until it is heated (superficially) to the ambient temperature in the store. This system is the same as in a Fortic tank used in some central heating systems. If the incoming supply is particularly cold it could be possible to pass it through a heating jacket or an old radiator that would use solar heat to raise the temperature to a suitable level. Again a bit of maths is what you need here.

    Anyway, I hope this assists you in thinking your problem through. Good luck, Love & Light, Phil.

    Oh and as a bit of data regards volumes of water gathered from rain. I live in Devon England and we have regular winter rainfall and some summer rains . I gather my water from a 81m square roof (9×9) filter it to 0.25mm through a Wisy vertical filter (which i could show you how to make one, I paid over £100 for mine….pah, live & learn).

    The water is allowed to settle in a 1500l tank then pumped to 2x1500l tanks using a swimming pool pump run from battery/solar/inverter and controlled by a relay and float level system that my friend made for me ( a NAND gate I think).

    I never drop far below a total of 3000 litres and I use a washing machine and flush toilet. I am very conservative with water use and at the moment I have no shower and instead wash from a bucket, but this is only a temporary arrangement. However 2 gallons (10litres) is adequate for a shower and you really don’t need to shower every day unless it is hot and you are dirty. As for dish washing, well those machines are a pointless piece of junk for lazy people seeing as I can wash all my plates, pots and cutlery in three bowls of water in less than half an hour. Hey stop me here I’m ranting……..:-)

    in reply to: Energy saving light bulbs #63848
    RockHillPhil
    Member

    https://ledcalc.com/

    this link will take you to a calculator for constructing LED lamp arrays. You can purchase LED and all the resistors, insulators etc from Goodwill Led Sales on Ebay. They are very helpful cheap and fast delivery. Their phone number is 01793 349349 in the UK at least.

    I use LED’s from xmas lights which I salvage from the recycle centre. Ask on Freecycle for any busted sets. The LED’s will be fine. All you will need is a soldering iron which can be 12V, 240V or butane powered, some solder and cable. A battery (3volt) to identify anode from cathode in second hand LED’s and a bit of time.

    I have a couple of car lamp LED’s from an ebay site. These are a bit directional and cold white but efficient and fairly cheap. If you are running from mains supply you will need transformers, which need to be DC LED dedicated, but these are readily available at any electrical wholesaler and not particularly expensive.

    If you are constructing your own LED lighting, then the addition of some red and some green LEDs will give a better light, but warm white LEDs are available as are superbright.

    All flourescent, including CFL should be disposed in hazardous waste through your local recycling centre as they do indeed contain mercury and other chemicals which will be bad if allowed to enter the water table. Mind you my head is full of mercury amalgam so I don’t think I need worry too much about a few CFLs.

    in reply to: An out-of place question on central heating #63849
    RockHillPhil
    Member

    Sounds like it is an excuse to use more of the lovely power the energy companies are producing and so bolster their profits. I am sure there is a good logic here as it will take longer to reheat a house that has cooled excessively, but you should therefore be thinking of ways to insulate and preserve this heat. If the house is suitably insulated it will retain the heat in its structure for some time unless you live in a very cold climate, and even then adequate insulation is the preferred option. I suppose it would depend on the size of home you are heating, the structure of the building and the type of heating boiler/furnace as to the exact calculation but I like your tin foil hat and blanket theory. It would depend on when you took your vacation and for how long. If I go away in winter for a fortnight it is pretty damp and cold when I return. In summer this has no effect.

    Failing this do as I do, have a small living space with a decent wood burner and then even in the coldest of weather the internal temperature is suitable for me and my girlfriend to sit around in our underwear or less. Oh, and I live in a part caravan part shed in a hole in the ground so no luxury modern dwelling here.

    in reply to: getting started #63850
    RockHillPhil
    Member

    Wow if my main problem was where to lose heat I would be a happier man. When you have humped logs all day with Pleurisy nagging at your ribcage and everything is damp and mouldy then your minor cooling dilemma will seem so insignificant.

    If you get an old gas fridge and adapt it to a solar heating panel to do the work of a the electric element/gas flame, you should have ice for free. I keep thinking about trying it but it is pointless here as there isn’t enough heat in the average day and for seven months I don’t need a fridge to keep things cold I need it to stop them from freezing.

    Good luck with your new venture. I am somewhat jealous, though I am excluded from the USA as an undesirable alien (a few weed plants years ago) so I shall never get to enjoy the benefits of your vast country.

    in reply to: clay or brick ovens #63851
    RockHillPhil
    Member

    Years ago at the Free festivals I met a Dutch guy who baked bread every morning in a 45gallon drum laid on its side with the earth dug from around it and piled over it and the fire placed under it. It needed a very small fire in comparison to the size fo the oven and he made delicious bread and pizza and jacket spuds. I have seen similar ovens since but none as efficient as his design. The nice thing is that once finished you replace the turf and all you have is a small area of charred earth and a few dry turfs. I have never had need of such a construction so haven’t tried but as and when I find need I am sure I will be able to replicate it. And if propane reaches the £2/kg expected by the end of 2010 then I suspect I shall be building one. Mind you I hope to be somewhere else by that time as My experiments on this bit of land are close to complete and I am keen to move to the sun. No amount of off grid technology can help arthritis!!!

    in reply to: greywater system #63852
    RockHillPhil
    Member

    Whoa, Mr Key Master you can’t just dis something as simply as that without adding something to substantiate your claims. I have no idea about Waterwise but the theory sounds good and isn’t far from what I intended to do myself. I would appreciate a bit better explanation as to why YOU think this system is wrong, plus case histories. I am no intellectual but it was always explained to me that you give your sources when you state a fact.

    Come on guys it’s not really helpful to simply state..”avoid product X as its crap” If we are ever to get off grid technology into the mainstream we need a proper scientific approach to the subject and that precludes all petty arguments and simplistic retorts.

    The average person is already confused enough by the governments and monopolies that tell us the global situation is probably not too serious so long as shareholder returns are maintained at a suitable level to facilitate future investments. How will we ever get innovation off the ground if all we get are unsubstantiated claims about the technology being developed.

    BAD SHOW!!!!

    Reveal your sources matey or hold your tongue.

    in reply to: water storage #63843
    RockHillPhil
    Member

    I keep all my water in old orange juice containers (1500litre) which as it happens sit over what used to be a reservoir for the farm below me. The reservoir is a hollow concrete box of around 6metres cube and the tanks sit over the open top of this. The theory is, and this can be applied almost anywhere, is that the air temperature in a space over the ground is never below 5C so therefore the tanks should never freeze. Now there is something that I haven’t been able to prove, since we are getting warmer winters here in Devon nothing freezes for more than a day and so the volume of water never gets to drop very far any way. So in fact my study here is of little use as to prove anything. However I am confident that air allowed to rise from a rock strata will maintain temperatures above freezing so long as you are not above permafrost. So simply put, build an insulated container over a rock fissure and you should be drinking ice cold fresh water all year round. My water is fine and all I have done is as I said above and then wrapped all the pipework in plastic sheet filled with rockwool insulation which I was given. So far so good. Three winters with no freezing. Mind you we have a few chilly nights to come, but I have complete faith.

    Whether this will help I don’t know but you could easily set up a trial with a max min thermometer and a box.

    in reply to: help going off grid #63844
    RockHillPhil
    Member

    You could fit solar PV or water heaters but this depends on your accommodation arrangements. To be honest you are best looking at what you can do in other areas of your life to save energy than to try and fit energy producing technology, unless you have spare cash to invest. The returns from most technology is not good unless like myself you have no other alternative supply. You may be able to divert water from a washing machine to a tank that will flush your loo or collect rainwater to use similarly. There are energy saving products that will lower your bills and reduce CO2 output. If you live in a communal block then your neighbours may be interested in a water heating system or even a micro turbine or PV array. These are slow to pay back the investment in all but the most perfect of installations. Do your maths and see what you could save.

    The best route to being efficient is to cut down on what you use and avoid waste. Sharing your car or getting rid altogether is a good option if you live in an area with alternative transport facilities. Hiring a vehicle is a viable option if you only need it sporadically.

    Keeping tabs on the waste materials from packaging is a positive move and asking your retailers to reduce the packaging or simply handing back any surplus is a good way to reduce waste. Reuse anything you can and recycle everything possible. Buy second hand where possible and use Freecycle or a similar group where it is available, or set up your own group.

    The best thing to do is see how much energy you actually use by simple calculation, then reduce this number by removing anything that is unnecessary.

    Good luck. To quote that great giant of supermarkets Tesco: ‘every little helps’

    in reply to: Ponder, what responses will this post get. #63845
    RockHillPhil
    Member

    register for wwoofers, they should be able to help you. I have no idea how you do this but my friend has them over every summer and she has no inertnet nor even a mobile phone so it can’t be that hard to arrange. I think you will need to feed them but one of her Austrian regulars eats only apples??? so that may be simpler than you ever imagined.

    http://www.wwoof.org/wwoof_uk

    you could just have a few parties on the land and get the crew to do some graft. There’s lots of willing people out there who would work for a few weeks park up in their vehicles and they could arrange a party at the same time. You can even do it within the law by applying for a wedding type license. It doesn’t have to be a rave, you could host an opera weekend and get some graft at the same time.

    And anyway it can’t be that remote in Dorset, that’s positively urban.

    in reply to: do you need an address? #63846
    RockHillPhil
    Member

    Hey I live in a part caravan part shed under the guise of mobile home. According to planning law a mobile home is 66ft x 22 with a floor to ceiling height of not more than 10ft that is capable of being moved when assembled.The fact this cannot be moved on the road at this scale implies sectional construction. My shed bit is pallets from the business next door these are 7m x 2m and three make a 23ft x 7ft space. The rules for building regs do not apply to mobile homes other than LPG regs. or any services that you may have installed such as mains power will need to meet specs.All electric is regarded as temporary so needs to meet much lower standards and if like mine it is all solar and inverter then it is outside regs.

    All my water is rain from the shed roof and stored in tanks then filtered. I have a septic tank and flushing loo, though I also have and prefer my soil toilet which offers better views of the surrounding countryside. I have planning consent for two mobile homes on the land and so could construct another similar dwelling should I so desire.

    It will all depend on the local regulations and whether or not your local authority are a bunch of gits or like mine, very nice people who didn’t want me to cause them a headache, which I would have done if they refused me permission. Offer to pull down the town hall if they take away your land. It will involve the risk of imprisonment but would leave them with something of a historical legacy that would remind everyone how callous they are as planners for heaving you onto the roadside. Otherwise a flat bung of around £5k does the trick with some councils, or you could offer to build a road or a park or similar like supermarkets allegedly do.

    You may think I jest but this is a synopsis of my journey to off grid heaven.

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