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11/14/16

Off Grid Passive Solar Modern Prefab Finally Gets Hot Water Successfully For All Seasons

Whether your candidate won, lost, or wasn't even nominated, I think we can all agree that in the United States, we are emotionally drained.
It was Handsome Husband's first election as a new citizen.

Tiny, the day after.
On the prefab house project front, sadly, the passive house development possibility in the northeast is NOT going to work out. It would have been a great project, with a great team, but when we sat down to explore the lot considerations it was clear we would need to go custom vs. prefab and they already had a great, local architecture firm involved so thus it was not the right fit for our passive solar prefab homes on urban infill lots.

Just remember: with disappointment, there can be rainbows. You just might have to get outside yourself (and the prefab house) and look at things another way. But if you look, they are there.



Frost outside, but inside the prefab house it's still comfy.
It's November, and Pip 2 is doing flips and headstands and all sorts o' gymnastics in the modern prefab's great room... It's in the 70s in this passive solar prefab house at night, so Pip 2 wants to open windows. Outside it's in the 30s. We will awake to frost. Tonight, it's in the 20s. So no, Pip 2, we will not open windows and instead embrace the energy efficiency of the SIP that keeps us warm and cozy at night.

It's always a shock to go from the warmth of the prefab house to the outdoor temperatures! Each time, we run back and grab coats...

We have still no heat on in the off-grid passive solar prefab house.

BUT WE HAVE HOT WATER!!!
For the first time ever our bathroom had steam once the teen was done! Here's what finally worked for piping hot water on a *eensy* solar set up without resorting to propane, thanks to Handsome Husband:


Flippin' for steamy hot water during *all* seasons
off grid, not just summer or via the cook stove!

"We basically went from the assumption that our 30 tube solar hot water collector will remain unchanged and that we will downsize the tank to the point where the solar hot water collector will be sufficient to heat the water during the lower insolation in winter. When researching small tanks with heat exchangers we ran across marine units that seem perfect as they use hot engine coolant to heat water.

We always think of our house as a boat on the dry - space efficient and independent so it only makes sense that our problem was solved for the water.

We now have an 11 gallon tank with a heat exchanger plumbed in place of the 80 gallon solar tank. The tank comes with a 1500 Watt heating element that we power from a dedicated breaker, allowing us to have the option of turning the electric heater on should we ever need it.

The solar collector is now way oversized in the summer, at which point we will use the 120 gallon radiant floor tank as a heat sink."

Also: when we are not in a hurry for a shower (in the morning, running out the door) during frigid temperatures, we can certainly heat the water on the cook stove if we want and use the Kahuna Portable Shower setup like we did last winter which worked perfectly fine *if* you had time to do so.

We now have piping hot off grid showers WITHOUT RESORTING TO PROPANE like everyone else off grid does for ALL seasons. Taaaaaaaa DA.

We had visitors this week, new farm hands, check them out!
Doin' some science with the farm hands.

"I water horsies!"

New cowgirl.

Farm hand feather-gatherer.
The second family visited on a day where the evening was cold and the daytime, brisk.
As we sat down to lunch, I mentioned that we had not yet turned on heat. She was impressed. Inside the prefab house it was toasty, comfortable, and when we all came indoors we quickly shed our coats.
Lunch for the visiting farm hands!

Those farm hands wore him out!
Soon it will be cook stove season, and with it soups, stews, roasts and toasty gatherings in the off grid prefab house. Have a good week.







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