An illustration of loads growing!

icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,399 ✭✭✭✭
After three years of living in our "new" house, it has been interesting to see how the loads have grown over those years.

We always prided ourselves on living on ~350 wh/day in the old house, and once we moved to the new house, we upped our average loading up to ~5-600 wh/day. Now three years later, we are closer to 800-1kwh/day.

Having a bigger solar capacity allows us to be very much more lax in our usage. For example we run a few more lights at night, just to keep the house "warmer" looking. We now run 3-4 lights on average instead of 1 or two in the old days.

The bigger use however comes from the computer and internet. Because we have "power to spare" we leave the modem and router on nearly all day instead of turning on and off several times a day. (also have gone to a wireless router, which means we leave the lap tops lit more of the time as well!) The real reason for leaving the net on is that we use a internet radio device into the radio since we get such lousy reception otherwise. (Not to mention the ability to get stations from near and far. A great device, draws only ~6 watts, but it needs the radio on, and the modem and the router, totaling ~35 watts to listen to the radio!)

There are all kinds of other energy sucks that have emerged since then too. Camera batteries, FRS radio chargers, cordless tools etc.

At present, we are able to generate ~1.25 kw on an average day, more if the batteries are down further as the the CC begins to ramp down early. So my consumption is certainly sustainable, but I no longer have as big a reserve.

So, a word to the wise, as you are designing an off grid system, remember to calculate your loads carefully, but remember to add in a significant factor for "growing loads". I would suggest a 50% factor!

Comments

  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: An illustration of loads growing!

    tony,
    when one has a bare minimum to begin with it is very easy to double or triple one's loads. for those that use a high excess to begin with, for them to double or triple their loads would be nearly criminal. it is good advice though to allow for some expansion of loads as one would find difficulty to expand a system at times later on due to equipment limitations, battery capacities and ages, and many other intricacies found in systems. sometimes one could even miscalculate or mismeasure the power needs in the first place and a bit of an oops factor can possibly allow for that too.
    i'm glad it is working for you and making your life better and i'm glad you found your way here to know you have many people in your corner.
  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,347 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: An illustration of loads growing!

    I still amazes me that the off grid boys can make a house work on so little power. It is really a hats off to conservation and load management. 8) I am not worthy! :p

    I had a day last week where we used 100+ kWh! :grr with about 60 kWh the norm.
  • audredgeraudredger Solar Expert Posts: 272 ✭✭
    Re: An illustration of loads growing!

    Tony, My loads sneak up during the summer, having "excess" power tends so breed complacency. A light left on so the house isn't dark when I come home from Friday night poker, recording more shows on the satellite box etc.

    Winter dicipline is comming soon and we will be back to 700 watts a day or less!

    Dave, You don't know how we do it and yet Tony and I will tell you we don't do without. As BB has said one mans watt is anothers kilowatt. Power usage is a very personal thing.
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,399 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: An illustration of loads growing!

    I could be routinely using ~1.5- 2kwh on a great day, with my 400 watt system, but that would leave me little or no reserve.

    The way we do it is pretty simple. We live in climate where there is no need for A/C, although we now use a couple of paddle fans on a few hot summer nights! Second, no TV and it's various add ons like DVR's, Sat receivers etc. We do movies on the lap top a few nights a month, sometimes a couple of times a week if the weather is poor.

    We also use a propane fridge which drops use ~.5-1 kwh day. (as I have said before, if I had to do it over again, I would go with a good compressor fridge instead).

    Other than that, our big usage is the Sat modem and router, along with the internet radio stereo. All those combine to ~4 amps running ~4-8 hours per day.

    Tony
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: An illustration of loads growing!

    We use about 4X what Tony does.
    It started out to be a system to run the refrigerator, which we got because we were spending most of our time there and propane was becoming impractical (small size, need to change tanks often).
    Oh; and it would run the computer "a few hours a day" so work could continue. We'd start the generator to run the printer!
    And then ...
    We wouldn't start the generator to run the printer. And we'd run the satellite modem with the router and the VOIP phone adapter. And a few lights. And then ...
    The water pump. Just turn it on mid-day when the batteries are full and pump "for free".
    Then the septic system went in. Okay, so they are both big Wattage users but the pump is 6 minutes a day and the digester is less than 1 most days. The computer set-up is still the biggest power consumer for a day!

    Now there's a microwave oven. What next? :p
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 4,877 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: An illustration of loads growing!

    This is escalating... We use 4 times what Marc does! In summer we can easily use 12KWH a day! BUT here is the key, we still use less than 2KWH after sunset and in full conserve mode less than 1.5KWH in winter.

    The other 40 homes I work with are similar in philosphy but larger in capacity. They all (at one time) were able to operate in search mode on their inverter/ chargers. I think this is the key to starting out well and not deeply discharging in winter. Search teaches conservation to newbies!
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,399 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: An illustration of loads growing!

    Dave,

    You got the key, and that is time shifting the loads. We do 90% of our water pumping during the day, and after the CC has begun to taper, as well as charging the lap top batteries. It is an on going discussion in my head as to whether or not is is better to leave the lap tops plugged in all the time so that they don't actually need to be recharge, or to discharge them, and recharge when the house batteries are nearly full.

    We charge drill and saw batteries in the afternoon. One of the great design features of our house is that you almost never need a light on between sunrise and sun set. The exception being Susan occasionally likes the light over the stove on a grey afternoon, and the other is reading in the afternoon facing the windows. It is too bright, so you can't see the shaded side of what you are reading. Simply turning the chair so the window is at you back works, or just turning on the reading light.

    After the panels go dark, we probably draw ~ 150 wh between dusk and dawn, for lights and the radio. The paddle fan(s) draw a bit more in the heart of the winter or the heat of summer.

    The bottom line is the battery is seldom drawn more than 10% on any given night at worst.

    Tony
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 4,877 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: An illustration of loads growing!

    The last time I checked with the family Tony, they maintain that "ongoing discussions" in your head are fine and that it is even relatively sane to talk back.

    They draw the line at saying "huh" Most of the group are ex navy docs, Rn's, and corpsmen. Making it thru winter is always a good thing!
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,399 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: An illustration of loads growing!

    I buy tin foil by the pound! Keeps the volume down a bit!

    T
  • bobdogbobdog Solar Expert Posts: 191 ✭✭
    Re: An illustration of loads growing!
    We use about 4X what Tony does.

    How do you use that much on 320 amps of battery juice?
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: An illustration of loads growing!
    bobdog wrote: »
    How do you use that much on 320 amps of battery juice?

    Load management. The batteries only have to supply power when the panels don't. Thus the need to run the "heavy stuff" only when the batteries are floating.

    Our 700 Watt panels perform at slightly better than 80% during our 5 hours of "good equivalent sun". That's a daily harvest of 2400 to 2800 Watt hours: 600 Watts (Tony's) * about 4 = 2400. When it gets in to the fall, we have to scale back ... and run the generator more.

    When Winter comes everything gets shut down; the place could not operate in sub-freezing temps and 6 (total) hour days. :cry:
  • soloronesolorone Solar Expert Posts: 254 ✭✭✭
    Re: An illustration of loads growing!

    Oh the creeping watts, they sneak in everywhere, almost like dust bunnies, they just seem to appear. At our age we have ceased to do without, with in reason.

    For those that don"t remember, our system suffered 3/4 years of neglect, as we both dealt with sever illnesses. Things were slowly whipped into shape this summer. Limbs and trees removed, battery connections reworked, shorts found, dead cells replaced. System was working quite nicely this summer, considering the age of panels and batteries. Got 5 more trees to remove for the winter sunrise.

    I had planned to add another 1.4 KW, but, that could not be done. We have been averaging about 1 1/2 hours charge time a day, I suspect some watts snook in with that sony last year.;)
  • BajaGringoBajaGringo Solar Expert Posts: 40 ✭✭
    Re: An illustration of loads growing!

    We use 3kW per day on average here in Mexico off-grid. That includes an electric fridge, outdoor lighting, big screen TV, bluray, surround sound, wireless internet and a lot more. We just invested time looking for ways to be creative in cutting watts down and/or replacing them with non-electric alternatives.

    Life is much better (and fun) here on 3kW per day than when I lived north of the border watching the electric meter spin with power bills that would ruin your day just to know they were in the mailbox.

    Besides, you can't beat the view and my dogs say they aren't going back...

    DogsatSunset.jpg
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,399 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: An illustration of loads growing!

    My dog has a better view!
  • Ralph DayRalph Day Solar Expert Posts: 898 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: An illustration of loads growing!

    Tony,
    Can't tell if that's a real cedar strip boat under the dog or a big freighter canoe. Either way, what a nice way to travel! Recent picture? The shorline looks decidedly like autumn.

    My dog seems to like canoe rides. He gets to see stuff, move about, but expends no energy. Then on landing he'll run figure 8's for 2 minutes.

    Ralph
  • BajaGringoBajaGringo Solar Expert Posts: 40 ✭✭
    Re: An illustration of loads growing!
    icarus wrote: »
    My dog has a better view!

    There's something about dogs and water. My two youngest have turned into real fishermen, bringing up everything from oysters to sting rays from the beach below each morning.

    Great pic!
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,399 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: An illustration of loads growing!
    Ralph Day wrote: »
    Tony,
    Can't tell if that's a real cedar strip boat under the dog or a big freighter canoe. Either way, what a nice way to travel! Recent picture? The shorline looks decidedly like autumn.

    My dog seems to like canoe rides. He gets to see stuff, move about, but expends no energy. Then on landing he'll run figure 8's for 2 minutes.

    Ralph

    Ralph,

    It is a cedar strip Giessler, built near Muskoka I think in the 1930's. the picture was taken a year or two ago, but could have been taken today. We are having a very early fall.

    I also have a '30s vintage Peterborough "handy boy. I like the wooden boats just for the aesthetic, not too practical to work out of any more. There used to be hundreds of them around the bush here, and most ended up in the burn pile. The "Handy boy I rescued from the burn pile and restored. The Giessler I found under a deck where it had been for 50 years or so. I have done nothing to it.

    Some where I have a picture of the two of them at anchor in calm water,, nice picture but I have no idea where it went.

    T

    Giessler is still in business building cedar strip boat. Still in the family
  • PolychrestPolychrest Registered Users Posts: 17 ✭✭
    Re: An illustration of loads growing!

    Geisler boat builders is located in Powassan, Ontario just south of North Bay. The same family has been making quality wooden boats since 1920. They must be doing something right. http://www.gieslerboats.ca/
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,399 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: An illustration of loads growing!

    Poly,

    I spoke to one of the Giesslers when I bought mine. I knew when I saw it it wasn't a (more common) Peterborough so I was trying to figure out what it was. He said he thought it was his. Peterborough's have round ribs, and Giessler's have flat ribs. There were no serial numbers on these boats in those days, at least not that have survived.

    Mine is a beautiful example of an un-restored classic. Used, but with lots of life in it. I would love to find a few more, but my wife would kill me. On this small island, we have 5 outboard boats, plus an assortment of canoes, kayaks, sailing things of many sorts! (Not to mention a 100 year collection of outboard motors, ranging from a couple of '20s vintage Johnsons, to a slew of 50 and 60's vintage OMCs and Mercs, up to the current crop of 80's vintage OMC. Too many projects)

    On another decidedly off topic side note, I had occasion this week to travel from far northern Ontario to Maine for a family wedding. My wife had flown over in advance, so it was just me and the dog. Looking at the map as I was cruising through North Bay, I realized that Powassan was just down the road. I drove up to the Geissler shop, to see a number of boats sticking out the door, and walking up I asked if anyone there was named Giessler. Several hands went up, and I mentioned my correspondence as well as my boat. To make a long story short, after looking through dozens of photos on my la top we determined that my boat is not a Giessler, but rather is more likely a "lakefield", another builder of small boats in the 1930's.

    I had a great time looking through the cluttered shop, and I think the Giesslers were happy that I came. It seems that a crew of 6 builds ~90 cedar strip boats per year, ranging from small canoes to 25' freighter canoes to full decked runabouts. The bulk of their output goes to tourist fishing operators.

    So if anyone wishes a "vintage" cedar strip boat, they are available, and quite reasonably priced. A 16' open runabout is ~$2-3000, about what a new aluminum or glass boat would cost.

    Tony
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: An illustration of loads growing!

    Tony;

    Never throw anything out! The minute you do, that's when you'll need it.
    Wives sometimes need reminding of this. :p

    You're lucky to have such a fine watercraft. Somehow my polyethylene "Penguin" just doesn't have the character. But it's much easier to move about. :p
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,399 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: An illustration of loads growing!

    A funny side note, that is decidedly off topic,, but since it is my thread,,,

    I have oft mentioned that I have a Honda powered Eatons Viking wringer washing machine that my mother bought new in ~1960. Over the years I replaced the original B&S engine with a honda, and aside from oil changes it has worked flawlessly.

    Three days ago Susan was doing laundry and she came to me and said the agitator quit, and she thought the belt had broken. After a bit of work, I figured out that it was more serious than that. Spending the day trying to figuring out how to take it apart, I finally realized that over the years, water has slowly replaced the grease in the transmission. Some winter that water froze, breaking the casting, and throwing metal chips into the gears. The main drive gear had finally ground all it's teeth off. Not including the broken case, the machine was terminal. Where the hell was a going to find a transmission for a 1960 Viking wringer? No where!

    There are currently two wringer machines on the market that I know of. The first is a Danby machine that I know from experience is a POS if you can even find one. The second is a reproduction speed queen wringer that is made in Saudi Arabia of all places.

    Lehmans, in Ohio, who sells lots of non-electric stuff to the Amish sell the speed queen. They also sell rebuilt Maytag wringers which are the gold standard for wringer machines, (and all spares are still readily and reasonably available! So I phoned Lehamans on Saturday and they had one Maytag in stock. (they only can sell them when they get them to refurbish!) So I told them to put a sold tag on it, and I would phone on Monday (today) to figure out shipping. Bottom line it was going to cost me $1000+ when all was said and done.

    Yesterday, We went for a walk up a long abandoned bush road. (Remember we are very remote) At the end of this road was a logging camp and sawmill that had been abandoned in ~1950. Some of the buildings were then used by trappers and hunter over the years, and fully abandoned in the 1970s. There is now virtually no sign that there was ever anything there, save the one old trapper shack still standing.

    Rooting around in the shack, what did I find? A perfectly good looking B&S powered Maytag! I borrowed my neighbour and his ATV, hauled it to the shore and into the boat, and now I have a perfect machine! I spent today adapting it for the Honda motor, and now it it perfect. It even had the original belt, the paint isn't even chipped, and the oil in the transmission is clean as a whistle!

    It had been stored inside, with a tarp on it. The moral of the story,, don't throw anything away if you live in the bush! (My wife isn't convinced, but she's getting there!)

    T
  • SlappySlappy Solar Expert Posts: 251 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: An illustration of loads growing!

    That is a great find! By looking at the pic it really looks brand new, That was pure luck on the find and the timing that your other one flew south. Good luck with it and hope it serves the both of ya well for many years to come. :D
  • BajaGringoBajaGringo Solar Expert Posts: 40 ✭✭
    Re: An illustration of loads growing!

    It was obviously meant to be - surely some good karma coming back at ya'...

    ;)
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