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 Post subject: Re: Going off the grid
PostPosted: Sat Jan 11, 2014 2:44 pm 
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Given your conditions (excellent solar recovery potential, excellent water conditions from the well) have you given any consideration to construction of one or more elevated cisterns? They could present an interesting way for storage of both water as well as power...
Using solar to run the pump(s) needed to bring water from the well up into the cisterns, then using the reverse flow of water to re-generate electricity. You'd essentially be creating your own hydroelectric system, as well as providing a pressurized water supply for your needs. You might not even need a tower depending on your terrain (i.e.: you have sufficient vertical drop to create pressure to run a hydroelectric generator) and even possibly have it be an almost closed-loop system... upper and lower cisterns.

I have no idea if it'd even be feasible or how productive it would be in terms of energy recovery, but it's just a thought that popped into my head.

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 Post subject: Re: Going off the grid
PostPosted: Sat Jan 11, 2014 10:16 pm 
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sota, your ideas have logic and would theoretically work, however, there's a lot of situational involvement and cost factors in the scenario you presented. Workable? Yes. A good solution for me? Probably not. The hydroelectric system is a fantastic setup for those who have a natural flow of water though. You have the right idea for sure. Thanks for posting.

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 Post subject: Re: Going off the grid
PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2014 2:07 am 
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Over the last several months we’ve been designing an electric/solar/hand pump water system. Part of the design includes the construction of a well house that will be large enough to adequately hold the necessary equipment and protect the system from freezing temperatures. We decided that an underground vault (below the frost line) would be the best setup to meet these needs.

The well house will be a concrete cast that is 5’ feet inside diameter and 8’ feet deep. A 36” x 36” aluminum hatch will be cast into the concrete lid. There will be steps cast into the side of the vault to maximize space. The bottom of the vault will be open to the ground to allow draining in the event of a leak. There will be 7 holes precast in specific locations and sleeved to specific sizes. The holes will be used for electrical and water inlets/outlets. The entire well house is reinforced with rebar with two layers of concrete mesh.

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Last edited by dieselenthusiast on Sun Jan 26, 2014 12:16 am, edited 4 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Going off the grid
PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 7:36 pm 
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We got grid power!

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 Post subject: Re: Going off the grid
PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 8:35 pm 
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I must have missed it but why above ground not underground? underground is more costly but isn't it less likely to be damaged?
either way I bet your happy with just having that accomplished. keep it going it will be all done before you know it. but you might be like me always thinking of what's next. for me its hand rails, on my bilko stairs.


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 Post subject: Re: Going off the grid
PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 10:07 pm 
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Cherrie 274 wrote:
I must have missed it but why above ground not underground?


That's a good question. The electric company will run up to 130' feet of wire (aboveground) for free, so that's why I had it ran aboveground to the meter pole. The power will be ran underground from the meter pole to the well house and beyond (home, garage/shop, barn, etc.). My electrician knows how anal I am, so he suggested installing the meter pole at 100' feet instead of 130' to help alleviate some of the wire weight. Due to the weight, the meter pole would eventually start to lean with the additional 30' feet of wire. Even with 100 feet of wire, he installed the pole leaning slightly in the opposite direction of the wire. Sure enough, I could see a 1/4" gap in the soil where the pole had been pulled back in. The pole now looks straight.

Cherrie 274 wrote:
underground is more costly but isn't it less likely to be damaged?


In my situation, it's actually more cost effective to go underground than above ground. Depending on the spacing of the poles, the estimated cost was $1,500 per pole and it would take 5 poles to get to the building site. We decided to go underground with the power mainly for cosmetic reasons, but there are also some cost benefits. I'm also able to help with some of the labor costs.

At 7,000 feet, we get a lot of lightening strikes. That's one reason why we have two grounding rods on our meter pole (which is code). It's not uncommon for the power to go down several times each year, but those are mainly due to a failure in the grid itself. The electrical company does a pretty good job keeping the trees cut/trimmed so that fallen tress are less likely to take a wire/pole with them. The best solution is to have a backup system so that grid failures are no longer a problem. "Going off the grid" (as the thread title indicates) is our ultimate goal.

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 Post subject: Re: Going off the grid
PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 10:50 pm 
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The well driller measured the static water level 24 hours after the well was drilled. At that time, it had a static of 105' feet. Now that I'm taking calculations to determine well pump specifications, I wanted to take one more measurement. Much to my surprise, the measurement was still at 105' feet.

I tied a string to a wrench and lowered it down until a splash was heard.

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Strung the string out and took a measurement using a tape measure

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I snapped this pic at the end of the string.

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The plan is to place the electric pump at 200' feet and the solar pump at 150' feet.

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 Post subject: Re: Going off the grid
PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 11:01 pm 
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In Michigan we are the opposite, most power failure are weather related. but underground is way more expensive to run. Amish are off the grid, to you plan to grow out a beard?


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 Post subject: Re: Going off the grid
PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 11:09 pm 
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Cherrie 274 wrote:
In Michigan we are the opposite, most power failure are weather related. but underground is way more expensive to run.


I assume that parts of Michigan can get a fair amount of ice which can weigh down a power line to the point that poles begin to break. Fortunately, we do not have that problem here. The atmosphere at this elevation is too cold and turns moisture into snow. That's why we get snow from October - May.

Cherrie 274 wrote:
Amish are off the grid, to you plan to grow out a beard?


There's a lot to be learned from the Amish. I don't foresee a beard anytime soon, ha ha, but will post pictures if I somehow change my mind. :mrgreen:

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 Post subject: Going off the grid
PostPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2014 12:09 am 
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[quote="[/quote]

There's a lot to be learned from the Amish. I don't foresee a beard anytime soon, ha ha, but will post pictures if I somehow change my mind. :mrgreen:[/quote]

You've got that right. And please do, post. Oh we get snow in Oct and May, it just doesn't stick around, long. This year we got our "stick" snow in first part of Nov. It's been a long time since we've had it that early.


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 Post subject: Re: Going off the grid
PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2014 10:01 am 
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I love seeing the progress! You should have a show like "Alaska: The last frontier".

The more I look at living after THE scenario, the more I think it wouldn't be worth it to me. I'd miss too many modern conveniences and entertainment. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Going off the grid
PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2014 1:33 pm 
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Megalos wrote:
I love seeing the progress!


Thanks!

Megalos wrote:
You should have a show like "Alaska: The last frontier".


Ha ha, my progress is much too slow to have a running show sort of speak. :lol: I thought about throwing up a few YouTube videos once we make some progress. I believe our water system will be of value for those who are searching for ways to be prepared and have a backup system. There are a lot of neat things that I'm not willing to disclose, but I'm willing to share my experiences with others in hopes that they can increase their awareness in preparedness, find a better way of life, become self-sufficient, grow better foods, and ultimately become more independent.

Megalos wrote:
The more I look at living after THE scenario, the more I think it wouldn't be worth it to me. I'd miss too many modern conveniences and entertainment. :)


There lies the problem. There wont be modern conveniences and entertainment after the scenario in the same way that you know them now.

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 Post subject: Re: Going off the grid
PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2014 2:14 pm 
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I could do it. I kayak and without drinking! I don't get some peoples ideas of what's fun and entertaining.


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 Post subject: Re: Going off the grid
PostPosted: Sat Feb 15, 2014 10:23 pm 
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We got the hole dug and leveled for the precast concrete underground well house.

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 Post subject: Re: Going off the grid
PostPosted: Sun Feb 16, 2014 9:48 am 
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No digging in my part of the world. Ok well digging snow.
Looks good, how big ?


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 Post subject: Re: Going off the grid
PostPosted: Sun Feb 16, 2014 9:55 am 
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Cherrie 274 wrote:
Looks good, how big ?


The hole is about 8' feet deep and 7' feet wide.

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 Post subject: Re: Going off the grid
PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 4:51 pm 
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The well house is now installed. There's no turning back once you seal the two sections together. Each section weighs in at approximately 5,000 lbs.

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 Post subject: Re: Going off the grid
PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 7:39 pm 
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I like it!
We use to use 500 gallon septic tanks for well pits. But state outlawed pits.


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 Post subject: Re: Going off the grid
PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 9:19 pm 
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Cherrie 274 wrote:
I like it!

Thanks!
Cherrie 274 wrote:
We use to use 500 gallon septic tanks for well pits. But state outlawed pits.

I assume that you're talking about a concrete septic tank? The septic tank isn't a bad idea, and was one method that I considered. In our setup, the concrete septic tank was going to be too shallow for the 62" tall pressure tank that we wanted to use, plus additional height would be needed to keep the tank off the floor. The concrete floor was another concern. If any of the plumbing or components were to develop a significant leak, there wouldn't be an adequate drainage system that would allow the water to escape unless a drainage system was customized. As an example, I've heard that a concrete septic is prone to flooding which has resulted in damaged electrical components. Lastly, the concrete septic doesn't have the large hatch built into it. I customized a larger hatch so I can remove the pressure tank if need be. I did, however, like that concrete cisterns had a square footprint which offered more usable space. The square shape would be easier to mount things on the wall, including shelving.

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 Post subject: Going off the grid
PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 9:31 pm 
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Yes.
They take the concrete lid off( usually) and use a metal plate that is then mounted by chain links. This makes it lock able. I'd take a picture of my neighbors but it's buried under snow:).
House were I grew up flooded one time when pipe broke. Mine here never did. But my 2" couldn't be fixed. So new submersible well. I think they outlawed pits because so many filled with water contaminating the well. Or because gases build up in them. My friend- Daddy Don was a well man, he got over come at least twice. So make sure you have Good air in there.


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