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Old 04-15-2011, 05:51 AM
 
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So when talking about frugal living I've been thinking of alternative sources for energy. We are looking at installing a closed loop heating system in our home. Since we won't have any costs for installation, the system will only cost us around $5K. From what I've read about the cost of running the system, it should only cost me an extra $1/day for electricity. I was wondering if anyone has this type of system and what their experience has been.

We aren't interested in an open loop system, the corporate farm next door is messing with the water levels.

The other thought my husband and I are discussing for down the road is a windmill. My husband says its about $15K to install one that can run five houses. We are in a very windy area, flat and rural. We are thinking of maybe five years down the line looking into this, but I have reservations about this idea. Still need to research it, but I would love to hear any information people have about them.

Our utility bills in the winter (October-April) are about $5-$6K (depending on how rough of a winter it is), then probably another $1 for the rest of the year. So if this works and we no longer have these monthly bills the windmill and furnace would be paid off in less then 4 years. Plus, both are forms of renewable and clean energy. But I am nervous about taking the leap.

Last edited by NaleyRocks; 04-15-2011 at 06:16 AM..
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Old 04-15-2011, 06:00 AM
 
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I do not believe that there is a wind turbine that cost's only $15,000 that can run one house, let alone 5.

A wind turbine is set up to produce a specific amount of electricity regardless of the amount of wind....for instance, a wind turbine that is rated at 3kw will produce ONLY 3kw whether the wind blows at 50 mph or 7 mph. It will produce less if the wind doesn't blow, however.

I am a solar consultant and have seen many small wind systems. Most people are very disappointed with their wind turbines for various reasons.
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Old 04-15-2011, 06:01 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NaleyRocks View Post
Our utility bills in the winter (October-Novemeber) are about $5-$6K (depending on how rough of a winter it is), then probably another $1 for the rest of the year.
HUH???? $5,000-$6,000 for 2 months? Do you live in a McMansion? or are you living on the Artic Circle?

Have you looked into a simple (and CHEAP) Solar Hot Air Collector for daytime heating needs?
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Old 04-15-2011, 06:15 AM
 
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Originally Posted by springazure View Post
HUH???? $5,000-$6,000 for 2 months? Do you live in a McMansion? or are you living on the Artic Circle?

Have you looked into a simple (and CHEAP) Solar Hot Air Collector for daytime heating needs?


OMG you are right, I meant October-April. LOL. We only get 52 sunny says a year, people do not have a lot of success with solar panels in this area. Thanks for pointing that out, I am going to go edit.
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Old 04-15-2011, 06:18 AM
 
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Originally Posted by alphamale View Post
I do not believe that there is a wind turbine that cost's only $15,000 that can run one house, let alone 5.

A wind turbine is set up to produce a specific amount of electricity regardless of the amount of wind....for instance, a wind turbine that is rated at 3kw will produce ONLY 3kw whether the wind blows at 50 mph or 7 mph. It will produce less if the wind doesn't blow, however.

I am a solar consultant and have seen many small wind systems. Most people are very disappointed with their wind turbines for various reasons.

Thats kind of what I was thinking I was going to find, if windmills were that cheap it seems like more people would have them. I'd really like a way to get awy from utility bills. Our electric bill costs more for delivery than supply. And I like the idea of being self-sufficient.
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Old 04-15-2011, 06:24 AM
 
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$5,000-$6,000 is still INSANE!!! Where the heck do you live? Solar Hot Air Collector could provide free heat during the "shoulder" months (spring months and autumn months). They are super cheap to DIY using aluminum gutters.

Low Profile Solar Hot Air Project 1
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Old 04-15-2011, 06:33 AM
 
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I live in Northern NY (15-20 minutes from Canada, I can sing you their national anthem). 1200 sq ft house. Last year we paid more to heat our house than to rent it.

Fuel for heat right now, and its up to $4/gallon and we use about 200 gallons during the coldest months. Electric bills in winter shoot up to well over $200/month. This year has been brutal, its 28F right now, winter just doesn't want to let go.

But I will admit, that amount is high, utility costs really skyrocketed this winter. I heard many people talking about heating costs being more than rents/mortgages. Thats why we decided we are going to sawp out the furnace in the house we are buying for a closed loop system. We will still use fuel when its really cold (below 10F or 20F) but that should only be about a month out of the year. But I want to talk to folks who have had that type of furnace installed and see what their luck has been like. Its widely talked about up here but no one has been brave enough to take the first step.
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Old 04-15-2011, 06:40 AM
 
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If you check out that link I offered, here is a copy/paste....

We have folks in Alaska and Canada on the SimplySolar group who are getting great results from their home made units.
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Old 04-15-2011, 06:55 AM
 
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I'm looking into that solar hot air collector but it doesn't look like a viable option. The info I am finding states

[LEFT]On heavily overcast days, the collector does little heating, but on partly cloudy days or with a thin overcast it provides useful heat. It usually takes about three hours to warm the workshop from 35 to 65 degrees—a good excuse to sleep in! If you’re determined to start work early, more insulation, more thermal mass or an early morning blast from a backup heater would be in order

Read more: Build a Simple Solar Heater.


I think for a project like that I would start with something small like a shed or garage and see how well it worked.

I think its a good idea for places like VA and the Carolinas, sound like all they would need to get them throught the winter months. I was watching a solar contest thing on TV where they were using a similar idea with a water wall house? I think thats what it was, the walls were made out of water that was heated through solar energy. I admit I have a hard time understanding how this stuff works, but it seemed pretty similar. [/LEFT]
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Old 04-15-2011, 07:24 AM
 
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I'm trying to find some old youtubes, but I'm not so sure they are available any more. Here is one from Newfoundland. Obviously Newfoundland doesn't have the most ideal sun conditions.


YouTube - Brilliant Newfoundlander Invents the Solution!

The point is.... it won't provide ALL your heating needs, but will hopefully provide 1/3 to 1/2 of your heating needs (depending on location). Every little bit counts. The 1st link I provided is a super duper CHEAP and easy DIY project.

Once you have 1/3-1/2 of your heating needs solved, off-grid fashion, THEN you just have to figure out HOW to get the remaining heating needs off-grid. It's all about "baby steps". One project at a time.

I live on the IL/WI border. I know of a few Wisconsin people that made these. It is providing them with 100% free heat for 2 months of Autumn and 2 months of Spring. That is 4 months of free heat right there. It provides them with about a 1/3 savings during the brutal 3 winter months.

Every penny counts!
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