Yes. We are in. Finally! It has been a long time since I reported. So, here we go.
We have finally received our final inspection a while back. So needless to say, we have been living in the house for a while now. We have tested every aspect of the house including the fireplace and furnace. As with every new house there are always bugs to work out. And we do have a few. But nothing too major. The largest of the issues would be the heat pump system. When the temperature goes below 30 degrees the heat pump is not very efficient. It works way too hard to keep up. Which in turn, keeps the system running. So, long story short, I need to develop a way to heat the house with greater efficiency. I have come across way naturally heat up air using a solar hot air heater. Using the sun to naturally heat the air then bringing that air inside. I just need to make this system and will be testing this over the summer and early fall.
Fortunately, this winter was rather mild. And the spring has been absolutely fabulous. Since February we have only had to run the generator one time. And that was just to keep it working properly. Our battery level has never gone below 70 percent full. It's all good.
The back deck is finished, and I must say it looks pretty darn good. As you will see in the pictures below the deck wraps the entire back of the house, about 60 feet long. My metal fabricator, Accurate Metal Works, has a plasma cutting machine. I designed a piece to go into our radius section of the deck. The main section spanning 20 feet across. Notice, in the center of the deck section there is an old sawmill saw blade countersunk into the deck and bolted down. There is still a few finishing touches I need to do but all in all it is finished.
Moving on to the inside. There are a few things I need to finish. Shelving for the master closet, shelving in the pantry, desks and shelving in the office, flooring upstairs in what we call the treatment center and the sink and counter in the mud room. All these of which I need to make with all reclaimed oak and walnut, and maybe a few old cattle scale parts.
Here are a few ways to save energy. Throughout the house we have a lot of LED lights, and a few fluorescents, but absolutely no incandescents. All the can lighting, which is 15, are LED lights with the can trim included. There are very nice and admits out nice warm light. Above the beams in the living room are LED strip lights. You can buy this buy the foot and in a wide variety of colors and brightness. They are really nice because we have hidden them and unless you knew, you cannot tell they are there.
The water heater is the number energy usage unit in the house. Even with the solar water heater, it still uses quite a bit of energy. Because we generally take showers and baths in the morning, the sun has not had a chance to warm up the solar side of the heater. The sun really does not start heating up the unit until around 11:00am. So in order to conserve as much as we can we have installed a water heater timer. This timer is much like the timer on a lamp. You set it when you want it to come on and off. Since we don't need the hot water heater to overnight we have it turned off until early morning just before we wake up and take our showers. Then we have it turn off again during the day when the sun is out. Then back on again for the evening dishwashing.
We have also installed a product call EMonitor. It is a system that allows you monitor every breaker in your house and lets you know exactly how much energy is being used. We can monitor our usage online anytime and anywhere. You can view how much we are using by clicking this link. This is a real time look at what we are using at any given time. You can see our water heater uses the most, followed by our hot tub. Yes, a hot tub. Not exactly energy efficient, but it is not bad. And I really like using the hot tub. Especially after all the crap I have to make.
I have a lot of pictures to show so let us get started.
Here is the main section of the deck. It is a radius with a span of about 20 feet. This piece of railing was plasma cut by Accurate Metal Works.
Notice the saw blade in the center of the deck.
I made this this for our living room. We bought the star light and I made everything else from the light above.
Those are LED strip lights above the beams. They make nice ambient lighting. And yes that is a St. Louis Blues Game on that there television.
This is the master shower. I made this gradient tile work. It was a long cold road. And my hands cramped.
This is where it all happens. To the left our battery bank. And to the right the brains.
This is the brain part. On the right is the controller for the wind turbine. Underneath that is the turbine power shut off and turbine break in case there is way too much wind. To left of those are the four charge controllers. The energy from the solar panels enters the charge controllers as DC power then is paired down and sent to the battery bank. The other four stacked black boxes are the inverters. These take the DC power and converts them to AC and sends it to the house. It is that simple.
Our battery bank consists of 80 NorthStar Battery NSB170 Blue Batteries, for a total of 3,000 amps.
This is our water softener and our solar hot water heater.
This is the EMonitor system.
This is where we can monitor and change any setting in our entire system. It is the real brains in the house.
This is a screenshot of the Emonitor system. It tells us where every bit of energy is going. It allows us to find that phantom power and shut off anything that is using power that really does not need to be on.
This is a custom sink and counter I made for the powder room. The sink is just a galvanized tube where I cut out the center and attached the drain. Works just like it should. The counter is all wood from a barn I tore down.
A bonus shot of me welding the railing together. Shorts in March, who would have thought.
Here are some other bonus shots I took.
This is what I will be doing more of when all is said and done. Enjoy the view.
|Last Updated on Friday, 18 May 2012 11:34|
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