The constant increases in power costs and the threat of being left without electricity in over-burdened areas are seeing many people investigating the Dos and Don’ts of living off-grid. This can be a surprisingly costly undertaking, but if you do things properly you can bring expenses down a lot.
Remember, you don’t need to do everything at once, and small changes can make a huge difference.
Convert Lighting and Appliances
If you are still using incandescent light bulbs you may as well be literally setting fire to your money. Even the newer light bulbs have limitations when it comes to saving energy when you have a lot of them going at once.
Replace all your light bulbs with LED ones. Doing this will considerably reduce the amount of electricity you’re using, and greatly impact the size of the solar system you need.
Converting your cooking appliances and geysers to alternative power is the next big change you should make. Electric ovens and water heaters use massive amounts of power and will drain your solar system quickly. Replace devices with a solar power-friendly alternative where you can and use gas-powered options for the rest.
You’ll have to bear this in mind when you want to play the online slots Australia and many other countries have to offer! Charge your smartphone, tablet, or laptop up properly beforehand and make sure you’ve got a full battery before you start spinning the reels.
Be Smart About the Batteries You Buy
Generally, you won’t need to spend much time looking after your solar system to keep it in good condition. Ideally, purchase maintenance-free batteries, so you won’t have to check water levels constantly, and just keep an eye on your panels. These will need to be hosed down every so often to ensure they keep operating at maximum efficiency since they get covered in dust and the like over time.
Change Your Patterns of Consumption
Change when you are using power, putting a new time slot into place so that most of your home’s energy expenditure occurs during peak sunlight hours. This will reduce the load you’re placing on batteries at night, and the less discharge you have the longer these will last.
Make Sure You Have the Space
A full off-the-grid system requires quite a large area. You’ll need to fit in roughly 20 solar panels for a 5kW system on your lawn or your roof and have somewhere to put the 20–30 batteries you’ll need. They will need to be housed in a cool, dry area since the temperature they’re kept in dramatically affects their lifespan.
When you go off-grid you won’t be able to access a backup unless you have a generator installed. This means that, for your new system to function properly even if you’ve had a series of cloudy days, you need to have enough batteries to keep you going.
They have a lifespan, which is greatly reduced if they get discharged too far too often. You can avoid having to replace your expensive batteries often if you have a lot of them.