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Tiny Home Report, Northern Michigan

Posts: 46
tiny house composting toilet woodworking
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A new topic in addition to my first post.


I'm going to apologize if any of this is old news and everyone knows all of this. I've never actually discussed our place in northern Michigan aside from my own web site and there's an awful lot of information on this site. Wow.

We are literally in the middle of nowhere in northern Michigan. Nearest store is over 15 miles away. There are only a few homes around our lake and most of the time nobody's there. Four places, nobody's been there in at least 5 years. But Amazon still delivers there in the same two days as in Ann Arbor where our main home is. Astounding.

The tiny home project is getting close to the end of the year as fall starts rearing it's head. I'm able to get a lot of little things done as well as major projects and really wanted to write about my solutions to common issues.

We have two sides, the old sun porch side and the new addition, an Amish structure as an addition. I've concentrated this year on the addition side and getting it done before I tackle the old side next year.

I've started using hanger bolts for a lot of projects. They have a wood screw at one end and a machine screw at the other. Next week we're building the skirting around the addition side and using these bolts to hold them on. I've got it raised 12 inches for a crawl space.

These solar lights are amazing. Get this: They come with a real solar panel and will stay lit ALL night long. And they come with a USB charger so I have one that isn't mounted to anything and use it at night as a regular light. And if that's not enough they come with a remote control.

Insulation. Mice. Freaking mice eating up my insulation and scrabbling around in the walls. No more. I'm now using a product called "Reflectix" which is a Mylar coated bubble wrap. One layer is something like R-1.5, however two layers with an air gap between them is an astounding R-21. One layer on the outside wall, one layer at a 90 degree angle across the studs/rafters. Did the bedroom this past spring and the difference is amazing.

Appliances - The RV appliances I've installed, I am more than happy with. A lot less expensive than other types.

The shower is an RV pan and drain system. The surround is made with Coroplast. The whole thing cost less than $200.
For the shower, no separate plumbing. I use a system that I think a lot of people do, one of those 2 gallon pump up sprayers - fill it with hot water and off you go to get clean. But I have a twist. I got 6 feet of extra hose and a multi position garden hose sprayer. With a shower setting. See photos. Now I can clean up the paint sprayers, wash the car and take a shower.

I had my first run in with vinegar flies from the composting toilet. I need to pee more.

Power - We use a series/parallel battery bank using Duracell 6 volt deep cycles (wet cell) in series for 12 volts, 2 sets connected in parallel. I started my off grid shenanigans in 2002 and have used many types and brands of "deep cycle" batteries that did not have a long life. I do have one Walmart trolling motor battery from 2006 that still works just fine. I have an additive that I use in the cells that has extended the life of the Walmart battery for this long.

For various reasons, we can't use wind or solar so I rely on a small inverter generator sold by Ryobi. It lives in the wood shed with 3 layers of acoustic tiles around it and a 12 volt radiator fan for exhaust. Decibels outside the shed are 22. Uses 1 gallon over a 15 hour period with the loads we have. The thing about these is that if you have one of these super quiet inverter generators, Westinghouse, Ryobi, GE, etc., the motor is made by Ducar. All the videos you see about comparing inverter generators to see which is best - what these people don't know is that the same engine is in all of them, just the color and control panel are different.
There's a video about servicing them on Youtube:  

The one he works on is the same one I have.

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I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/cards
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