Gas powered refridgerators
We picked up a gas refidgerator from GL this week and I already had a Servel that I inherited from a uncle in Montana. Seems like a good way to get off the electric grid, anybody got any experence with gas fridges?
Yup,,,there way more expensive to run on gas than electricity. The marina I used to work at tried selling campers for a short while so I got a chance to work with and on them for a bit too. I'm thinking just getting your power by solar might be the way to go for you, ya got plenty of sun in Texas,,, Hell ,,use it. If you want to get off the grid it seems your in just the right place for solar.
There pretty reliable, simple to install and prices have come down quite a bit now days, so it could be a more viable option for you being in Texas where the sun almost always shines. Plus there's tons of tax breaks and grants available which can help a bunch too.
I've been considering a small system just to supplement my needs here, but in VT we don't really get that consistent and strong enough sun for a decent $$ return unless you spend allot up front for a larger system.
You might be better off going that route,,,,unless ya got you're own gas well of course!!!! But it sure couldn't hurt to check them out if you really want to get off the grid entirely. It don't cost nothing to ask a dealer about them, and may be just the ticket for you. Lots of solar supplier sights on line have calculator thinngy's that you can do a rough estimate of what you'd need for a system by using your normal light bill power usage figures, that would at least let ya know if it would be practical $$ wise, for you to consider solar. Your defiantly in a prime location for solar, it's just ,,,,is it cost effective to do so???
For me not so much, I'm 63 and with what I'd have to lay out for a system that would do the job here in Vt,, I don't think I'd ever save enough money to make it worth while considering the initial costs. Hell my bill is only a bit over hundred bucks a month, so the only advantage for me would be,,, being independent of the grid. It may be WAY different for you where you are located though.
I too have been reading and researching this for some time, the key thing is your own circumstances. How much power do you need, to run what and how often, and are you off-the-normal-grid or not.
Homepower magazine was the leader in this area for many years and clearly /concisely put out article on specific peoples systems with wiring charts + cost spreadsheets. Their website is a great resource for general info and the latest tech in this field (Homepower.com) but they just re-modeled it so thing are harder to find
This one is on solar heating but is an excellent example of their style:
Solar Heat for my Maine Workshop (pdf)
Try this to start: http://www.homepower.com/articles/pv-systems-simplified
And there are a lot more articles here too on designing/costing a system. The key steps to avoid buying too little (having not enough capacity) or spending way too much is to a) do a power use audit of your loads/appliances and how much you use each day or week. b) Determine your site's solar potential by doing a solar survey (are trees shading you south side half the day, etc...) c) Budgeting the type of system/batteries/inverters you will use.
And here is some info on installations/state rebates in Vermont:
Thanks for the links Rocster, one I had already , the others I didn't . I have a perfect roof to put solar on and would still like to go that route if possible, if it don't break the bank. Seems research is the main hurtle in getting a good system. There's so much info out there now it's hard to keep up with all of it sometimes.
I have the floor out of the kitchen right now, running new corrugated stainless CSST tubing to replace the rotted gas pipes. I'm running two extra valves in the kitchen and one in the laundry room just for gas a refrigerator and freezer. Here, electricity is *much* more expensive than natural gas.
The Servel refrigerators that Arkla used to sell were recalled when the manufacturer went out of business. All of the works in back were glass, and sometimes some bozo would break something rocking the refrigerator around, at least that was the story. A few breaths of ammonia and they basically sued the company out of business.
There's a German import now, but they're very expensive, or the RV refrigerators, which are both expensive and small. But I'll come up with one or two old Servels eventually...
If you are over here anytime soon I have a Servel for sale or swap, bring a pickup this thing is heavy.
Some of them use to run on K-1 for home use..You would fill the lamp every 24 to 36 hours.They are great when they run right.