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Kim Smith

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since Apr 20, 2013
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Recent posts by Kim Smith

I am new to the forums, but have been weaning myself off grid utilities over the past year to save money. The thing I've discovered... it does not have to be an all-or-nothing effort. Start slow and be systematic in your approach. I started by analyzing all the things in the house I use (or don't) that consume utilities and my hard won money. Electricity and water are difficult to do without: doing dishes by hand and line drying clothes as you are doing now helps some (hanging a small load in the bathroom over the tub works great when it's raining out). I've also gotten rid of my television and large desktop computer in favor of a 17" laptop. This month, I bought several solar lights to use on my front porch instead of the regular light. I shut the door to all the rooms that I do not use, which means I only heat and cool a small portion of the house. It's amazing how much my electric and gas bill dropped after doing this! Next step... I bought a small 20W solar panel, power controller, deep cell battery and 400W inverter to build a portable power pack for my laptop, a fan, and some lights to use when camping. When I've discovered the limits of that, I'll upscale or downsize appropriately to power an RV system.

The point is to be systematic in your approach and discover what you can live without and what must be kept for personal sanity. I always thought I'd go crazy without television; but the online services like Netflix allows me to watch stuff whenever I need an entertainment fix, and the rest of the time is spent actually doing something instead of sitting in front of the tv. The laptop can be powered by solar with the appropriate inverter. Lights can all be solar powered as well - especially if you use high intensity LED lights. LEDs come in a variety of colors now that can emulate the traditional "warm" light colors, so reading is easy. Solar can be added to over time, so you don't have to invest huge amounts of money on a whole-house system right away. Start with a decent sized panel and the appropriate deep cell batteries, then plug stuff into it. When you need more power and have the money to invest, buy another panel and batteries. And so on...

I wish you luck in your effort. It's not a quick fix, but it is totally doable.
6 years ago