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Living off Grid - Home Design Features Part 2

| 11/7/2012 3:52:24 PM

Our off grid home has many design features you don’t normally find in most houses. Many people come here to see what some of these features look like or how they operate. 

This is the second installment of features. Part 1 was published last week. See Part 1 

Working Cold FramesInsulated cold frames – on the south side of the house we put in raised bed insulated cold frames. We have grown fresh cold weather type vegetables as cold as 18F with nothing to heat them but the sun. They are attached to the side of the house which never freezes.

Plug in switches – we have more wall switches than most homes. The extra switches turn our phantom power off when an appliance isn’t being used. Phantom power consists of things like the stereo and microwave clocks or anything else that shows lit up on a screen even though the appliance is turned off.

HRV – we have a whole house fan for fresh air that is configured to warm up the incoming cold air with the outgoing heated air. The result is semi heated fresh air which becomes pretty important in the winter months when we have to keep our house warm.

Tankless hot water heater – our hot water heater has a little generator in the supply line that lights the propane pilot light when the water is turned on.

Outdoor SinkOutdoor sink – we have a commercial food prep sink outside we can use during the months that aren’t freezing. It is great for cleaning the garden veggies, and cleaning fish and the chickens at butcher time. This sink helps keep all the mess outside. In the winter month we just drain the lines.

Ed Essex
11/12/2012 4:14:45 PM

Hi Jay, We don't have any condensation - ever. Our windows are typical two pane insulated type E and filled with Argon. Pretty much what you would see in any new home today. There are many factors for condensation starting with your heat source. Since we heat with wood we are pretty dry inside, anywhere from 25 to 35 humidity. An open flame heat source like propane can produce moisture as well as single pane windows. If that happens, just make sure you hang the curtains a little bit off the window so they don't touch the wet glass.

11/12/2012 3:25:21 PM

With your insulated blinds, how do you manage the condensation that occurs on the windows?

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