Friday, November 15, 2013

There's a Hole in the Bucket, Dear Jaime

Ok, I am pretty sure almost everyone knows this song.. I remember singing it in the backseat with my sister, as a kid,, over and over and over,, and probably driving my parents INSANE..

Ironically enough, the song has come full circle, although now I believe I am actually living it...

The Off the Grid transition has been fairly smooth, but has required constant attention and thought,,, every action has an opposite and equal reaction ( Newtons Law) comes in full play here....

Its cold in the house, Dear Rob,b Dear Robb, its cold in the house Dear Robb, its cold..
start a fire Dear Jaime, Dear Jaime, Dear Jaime, start a fire Dear Jaime, Dear Jaime A fire
Now the circulating pump is running ( too much ) dear Robb, Dear Robb, .....
well use some hot water Dear Jaime Dear Jaime, use some water Dear Jaime , some water,,..
But that turns on the well Dear RObb, Dear Robb, that turns on the well Dear RObb, the well.
Ill start the Generator Dear Jaime Dear Jaime Dear Jaime..................... ok YOU get the point...

A typical morning here:

- Get up at 5:am on mornings that you need to start the generator ( its been cold out and draining our batteries a bit,, more on that later).. start generator..
you can not flush the toilet use any water ,, or use any heavy loads while the generator is running.
- Start a FIRE, it was about 55 degrees in here this morning,,, Brrrrrrrr.. we heat our entire home with wood, so thats a MUST first thing...
-Put the Coffee on ( use the percolator, as the regular coffee maker is hard on the batteries,,)

Now when the fire gets started it heats up our water...... when the water gets hot, it HAS to CIRCULATE, or the stove would blow up,, NO THANK YOU....
so when the water gets hot enough,,, the circulating pump kicks on,,, when we have had a fire going for a decent amount of time it kicks on A LOT..
so whats the problem with that??? Nothing major, but it does use electricity...... so what do you do to make it turn off........
USE hot water right??? well,, If your batteries are low ( like when they are cold or when its first thing in the morning before the sun comes up) you dont want to use too much water and turn the Well Pump on, because its a quick drain on the battery.....

So we currently have 2 SMALL ISSUES
1. The batteries, we put the batteries outside,,, now we did this KNOWING the cold would effect them, but were concerned about off gassing of the batteries if we kept them in  the house ( you can vent them though).
Robb has them well insulated , but the cold is still draining them a LOT..
2. When we hooked up our cookstove to our hot water, we bought a circulating pump.... we have now found that it may be a little too big ( i think we were afraid to go to small ,, afraid of it not doing a good job and creating a dangerous situation,, exploding steam is NOTHING TO MESS WITH,, .. If my hubby wasn't such a smarty pants I am not sure I would have agreed to the hot water cookstove hook up,)

our 2 SOLUTIONS......

(This is the Solar Hot water Bread box , )

Remember the solar Hot water heater box we built??? This was to heat our water in the summer,, well , It turns out it didn't work as good as we would have hoped.....I didnt help that all it did was rain this summer either, but on a hot sunny day,, one person could take a QUICK hot shower... It worked, but we have decided to redo it.. and put it on the roof....
the GOOD NEWS is , we can use the wood from this to Build a Batter box, so we can Put the Batteries Inside.....

( that green thing is the pump)
2. Buy  a new circulating pump

we are going to sell this one and buy a smaller one.. It runs entirely too much. It we have the fire going all day, the pump is on... and I can only use so much hot water... and have to be careful because the well pump used a lot of energy,, so we dont want it continuously kicking on...

we definetaly knew we would have to adjust some things... Other than that, it is working good..
well with the exception of the generator... But I will save that story for another day......

One step forward two steps back,,, the adventure continues!

The Cool Family


  1. I know your pain lol we all have our idiosyncrasies with our off grid systems. But that's what happens when you take control of such things as your power and hot water and just plain leaving what is considered "normal" in our society. I do miss the convenience of the grid but I don't have to feel helpless. If my powers goes out then I can fix it or patch it I don't have to wait for the power company.... etc etc

  2. Yeah, just learning the routine! Everything has been pretty normal... just as before going off the grid, we have fridge, radio, computer, lights, etc:)
    right now we have 6 240 watt panels and 12 deep cycle golf cart batteries.. in the summer we will be golden! I am even going to get a washer! yay! we will even be able to run a small air conditioner!
    all though we are off the grid, our lives are pretty much the same.. we are moving our battery box in the house though, the cold drains them too quick!

  3. we also bought a new generator......... hoping this buying stuff will end soon, its about to give me a nervous break down,,lol.....

  4. I had to laugh when I read this post( not at you, but with you), we too have to deal with all the bits that go with off grid living. We also have our solar hot water circulating through our wood cook stove, it it makes really weird clicking and banging noises as it heats up. (we don't have a circulating pump.) What I hate the most is the rumbling from the tank up on the roof as the water boils. Our dog always barks because she thinks it's thunder. It's been up and running about 10 years now with no major drama, except a big blow out in the stove when we first bought the place, the previous owner(a plumber) had hooked something in reverse and it blew back through the system.What a mess it made. You can check us out at we are not living full time at our place yet but maybe by Christmas time when my husband retires we will be.