Stephen Lloyd

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since Jan 19, 2013
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Recent posts by Stephen Lloyd

Well, that makes sense. And I was thinking of hooking the refrigerator up to a timer so that it would only turn on every three hours, just in case it was drawing some massively wasteful phantom load despite the external thermostat.

To do this, I had to unplug stuff. I unplugged the kil-a-watt meter, which reset it. I plugged it back in and now it doesn't show that reading. Now, it shows what makes sense: when the fridge is off, it consumes zero watts and zero VA.

Let's hope it was just a weird error in the meter.

7 years ago
So then would that mean the refrigerator is using 100 watts without saying it? or just that it, like, has 100 watts in reserve or something, as reflected by the volt-amp reading?
7 years ago
Awhile back, I converted my chest freezer to a refrigerator by using an external temperature control. The external thermometer unit turns the freezer on and off to keep temperatures at a refrigerator's temperature.

I am looking at my chest freezer's usage yesterday using the Kill A Watt meter and noticed that normally it says .4 watts, but 100 volt-amps. This is when the unit is not powered on.

What is going on here?

7 years ago
Ditto the seepage. I built a ferrocement barrel vault roof on top of an earthbag walled cellar. I didn't seal it or anything. Only when it rains really heavily does it seep. It's not bad, not at all. Thoroseal is good, and pure portland/water as a final coat is good for dealing with any seepage.

I think the seepage could have been addressed 100% if I had coated the exterior in Thoroseal in the first place.

Ferrocement (and earthbags) are so great, and I would like to see many more people using them.

Abe Connally wrote:I've done a lot with ferrocement, including vaults, domes, water tanks, buried homes, etc.

One thing I can tell you is that IT IS NOT WATERPROOF.  That's right folks, it will leak, or at least, seap.  But, depending on the water source, the leaking can actually cure itself, as minerals get deposited in the cracks/pores, and the leak eventually stops.

To make it completely water proof, you need a final coating of Thoroseal or just cement, water, and acrylic.

Very fine sand and/or fly ash helps with the waterproof issue.

Cold joins are the biggest problem with water tanks, you need to reduce them as much as possible. 

7 years ago

solomon martin wrote:Here is a method that may be less labor intensive than a full stone or concrete foundation: build a series of masonry (stone) piers that will support your floor beams at 8 or 10ft. intervals.  In between the piers, hang expanded metal lathe and coat with mortar to make a 1/2 inch thick ferrous cement "foundation" walls.  You are still using cement, but only a fraction compared to a concrete stem wall.  You can increase the insulation factor by applying cob or something to the interior of the ferrous cement.

I'm planning to do something similar (or identical, if I understand your description) to what you wrote here. I will be using concrete piers, with copious rebar to span the piers, laying mesh over that, and troweling concrete into the mesh. I will probably have several layers of mesh to make for a durable floor. I'm interested in keeping lumber usage to a minimum.

Any additional clarification about your post would be useful---

7 years ago
I just wanted to chime in and recommend (or re-recommend) Lake county, CA. Beautiful land, very rural, with some flexibility regarding building and such. Real estate is much more affordable than nearby counties, and there's not much reason for this valuation. Several towns and cities within an hour or two's drive (for farmer's markets, supplies, social activities etc.). Davis, Santa Rosa, Ukiah, Hopland (home of the Solar Living Institute)... The towns in lake county don't have especially much to offer if you are looking for that sort of thing, so it's best to not look for that sort of thing. Some parcels have some issues with water quality (boron and sodium, generally, or low flow) and other parcels are superb with lots of good quality water. Like I said, the towns are what they are, and the rural areas are quiet and feel very remote even if the town is ten minutes away. Clean air, good climate. A hardware store (or hospital) is never too far away--

There are several good sources online for how to build a solar still. Videos, articles. I came across this text, and was really impressed:

I'm building a roughly 3x4 ft solar distiller using a salvaged plate of glass. I am making the body from ferrocement (dyed black). The water channel will be concrete as well. I will use PEX tubing covered in something or another to prevent UV exposure/damage.

Fun stuff.
7 years ago

John Elliott wrote:Compared to sea water, which is about 14,000 ppm, your 230 ppm doesn't look so bad. It would take a long time for sodium to build up at that rate. Which brings us to the important question -- how much evaporation do you have going on? Do you live in a desert (like Las Vegas) where this is the only water your trees will get? Where you have 4" of natural precipitation and upwards of 70" of evapotranspiration in a year? Then yes, that might be too much sodium.

But if you live in an area with more than 20" of rain a year, that's probably going to be enough natural flushing of the sodium from your well water that it won't be a problem.

Well, that's what I am hoping. Avg annual precip in the area is 27 inches, all in the winter (northern California). So that means I am irrigating a lot, but only during the summer. This year, I hope to build all the necessary components for rain water storage so that I will be able to use rainwater from now on.

I like the comparison to sea water. It makes me feel very good about the sodium report.

In our water, we don't have excessive amounts of calcium or anything else. Just boron, which is another issue. (4.5mg/L).

7 years ago
I have heard that charcoal is useful for keeping humidity levels low. Any other things work like that?

Mostly I keep meads, ales, wines and other fine drink in the cellar. And veggies.

7 years ago
Our well tested at 230mg/L for sodium. On most everything else it's great. What can be done about the sodium -- or is it a problem?

7 years ago