Adirondack Country Homes Realty Inc.

   Serving the "Entire" Adirondack Park with offices at:

         Schroon Lake Region (Main Office):  PO 488, 1098 US Route 9, Schroon Lake, NY 12870 * 518.532.7900

         High Peaks Region/Auction Sales:  2918 US Route 9, North Hudson, NY 12855 * 518.532.9323

         Lake Champlain Region:  25 Munsey Way, Elizabethtown NY  12932  * 518.569.8884

         Lake George:  2022 State Route 9, Lake George, NY 12845  *  518.668.2677

         North Country Region:  113 Flynn's Line Road, Burke, NY 12917  * 518.483.4538 

         Speculator Region:  Route 30, Speculator, NY 12164  *  518.569.8884  

         Washington Country Region:  4156 County Route 30, Salem, NY 12865 * 518.584.3294

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adirondack Country Homes Realty Inc. Offers OFF-GRID - how Lou does it!

 

The mechanics of my off grid home in upstate NY

By:  Lou Hall, Realtor

Here's some information about how I power and heat my off grid home. I'm totally off the grid here, about a 1/2 mile from the closest power pole. I do have a land-line telephone and the wire simply laid on the ground for the first nine years until Verizon finally buried it in 2007. My system was designed and installed by Kirk Herander, the owner of Vermont Solar Engineering, located in Burlington, VT. I found Kirk to be extremely knowledgeable, trustworthy and reasonably priced. I would recommend he and his company to anyone in the northeast who's considering living off the grid and looking for a reputable dealer.
 

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Solar Panels:

Off Grid Life: Front-end loader digging a trench for the solar panel conduit.

Front-end loader digging a trench for the solar panel conduit.

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Off Grid Life: 6 AstroPower Solar Panels.

6 AstroPower Solar Panels.

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Off Grid Life: Solar Panels January 2009

Here are the solar panels I'm currently using:
6 AstroPower AP-120 Solar Panels (now GE Energy) on top, and
6 Evergreen 115 watt, 12vdc Solar Panels on the bottom.

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My Trace / Xantrex SW4024 Power Panel:

Off Grid Life: Power Panel

Xantrex SW4024 Sine-Wave Inverter.
Xantrex DC250 250-amp breaker with enclosure for SW4024.
Sine-Wave AC Power Inverter w/high efficiency
and bi-directional operations.
60 amp AC pass-thru power at 120 VAC.
Adjustable three stage, temperature compensated
battery charging with 250 amp DC disconnect breaker.
Battery Temperature Sensor.
60-amp AC disconnect / bypass breaker in box.
Inverter Conduit Box.
AC and DC wiring in conduit.
Negative / Ground Bonding Block.
Powder coated steel back-plate
(40" H x 43" W x 1" D).
500 amp / 50 mV shunt (for remote metering).
Solar Boost 50 Charge Controller with
24 VDC nominal, Digital Display.
Auto-Toroid 3000 VA Step-up Transformer for 220vac water pump.
System Monitor:
Bogart Engineering 2020 Tri-Metric meter.
Delta LA302DC Lightning Arrestor, for DC protection.

Off Grid Life: Trojan T-105 Battery

16 - 6v, 220 ahr Trojan T-105 Batteries / 24 Volt Battery Bank.
IES DS-500 Desulfator for 24V Battery Banks up to 500 ahrs.

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Here's Some of Xantrex's Newest Technology:

Off Grid Life: Xantrex XW System
 

The XW Hybrid Inverter/Charger is a true sine wave inverter/charger that can be used for both residential and commercial applications; stand-alone, grid-backup, and grid-tie with battery energy storage. Capable of being grid-interactive or grid-independent, the XW Series will operate with generators and renewable energy sources to provide full-time or backup power.

The Xantrex XW System is a fully-integrated, battery-based system, designed for residential and commercial solar and backup power applications. Engineered using a complete systems approach, the XW System stands out from its competition, with a reliable, clean, compact design and integrated balance-of-systems components.

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Propane Generators:

Onan Spark-Ignited Two Cylinder Generator Set
Model GNAA 60 Hz
Propane - 7.0 kW, 8.8 kVA, Standby
6.3 kW, 7.9 kVA, Prime Power

Off Grid Life: Onan Model GNAA Generator Set

My old generator was also an Onan. A four cylinder 15KW J-Series which really was overkill for my setup. I still have it, and sometimes miss it, as repairs were easy to do on my own.

Off Grid Life: Onan 15KW J-Series Generator Set

Everything on the new one is highly electronic and you practically need a degree to do much more than change the oil and spark plugs. It's been relatively dependable however, and uses much less propane to do the same job. If I were to do it over however, I'd prefer a smaller version of my old J-Series generator.

Off Grid Life: My Amish Made Generator & Coal Shed

My Amish Coal Bin / Generator Shed with an
Onan Two Cylinder, 7.5 KW Propane Generator New in 2006.

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Refrigeration:

I use a Sunfrost RF16 Refrigerator & Freezer that runs straight off the battery bank on DC power. It's really been a workhorse running continuously for the last seven years without missing a beat. The Sun Frost refrigerator employs an array of design innovations to achieve its exceptionally low energy consumption. The cooling system on the Sun Frost is top mounted. This configuration reduces energy consumption several ways. The heat generated by the compressor and condenser (black coils on the back of many refrigerators) does not re-enter the refrigerator and also with a cooler running condenser, the efficiency of the cooling system is increased.

Off Grid Life: Sunfrost Refrigerator

Fewer Solar Panels
The Sun Frost refrigerator typically reduces refrigerator energy consumption by a factor of five compared to the typical household refrigerator currently in use. The accompanying cost of the solar power system is similarly reduced. The Sun Frost RF16 12 volt DC model consumes 15 KWH per month, or an average of 42 amp hours per day. Producing the 110 KWH needed to run the typical refrigerator on a solar power system would require an investment of around $12,000 in hardware, batteries, and inverter. A Sun Frost RF16 will reduce this cost by a factor of at least six because of its increased efficiency and the elimination of inverter losses. Inverters convert DC battery power to 120V AC at an energy loss of about 10%.
 

Off Grid Life: Sunfrost Refrigerator

Reliable
The cooling system of the Sun Frost refrigerator contains a minimal number of moving parts. Both the DC and AC compressors incorporate highly reliable, hermetically sealed, brushless motors. The efficient thermal design of Sun Frost refrigerators also contributes to their reliability. The top-mounted cooling system runs at a lower temperature than most, which prolongs the life of the system's lubricants and reduces mechanical strain on the compressor. The cooling system should provide well over 15 years of trouble-free operation. Worth the price, but each one being custom built, they are not inexpensive. The RF16 DC model I own currently lists at $3,215.

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Kodiak Coal Stove:

Off Grid Life: Alaska Coal Stove - Kodiak Model

After 15 years of heating with wood I switched to anthracite coal in September of 2007 and wouldn't go back to wood if you paid me. I bought a Kodiak Coal Stove from Alaska Stove Company and it's simply been the best stove I've ever used. No more chainsaws, backbreaking wood splitting, stacking or hauling wood into the house.

Off Grid Life: My first coal delivery from Champlain Coal.

I built a coal bin inside the right third of the generator shed that holds about three and half tons of anthracite coal. The back side of the shed is conveniently located along the edge of my road so the coal truck can easily fill the bin from the back window of the shed.

Off Grid Life: Coal Bin

Throughout winter the stove burns about a five gallon pail, or roughly 40 pounds of coal a day, and you just can't beat it. The stove holds up to 120 pounds of coal, and the fire burns uninterrupted for hours and hours at a time. Unlike burning wood, the temperature in the house hardly ever varies. Cleaning is a snap, and the ash is great to have around when my road gets icy.

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Lou Hall resides in Washington County living "Off the Grid" is an a very fine agent for Adirondack Country Homes Realty and our partner, Thunder Mountain Land Sales.    Lou invites anyone who is thinking of living "off the grid" to drop him an\ personal e-mail to shop talk with him.   E-mail Lou at lou@adkland.com anytime.