This blog is about our travels in our solar powered "Airstream" and living off grid, in our passive solar home, near Bancroft, Ontario, Canada.

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Sunday 17 November 2013


What happens when you leave your off grid house unattended during the cold, dark, wet month of November?

We were a little nervous about how everything would function as we knew we would have some "no sun" days as well as freezing temperatures. We left our thermostats sent at 15*C (59*F) so the in-floor heating would function anytime the temperature dropped below 15. 

Our in-floor heating uses 4 pumps and is divided into three zones. 

The fourth pump is attached to the water tank.

The heat for the floor comes from a heat ex-changer attached to our domestic hot water tank. 

That little copper box with the red arrow is the heat ex-changer.

This tank uses propane to heat the water and is directly vented to the outside. All worked perfectly.

When we got home the outside temperature was 0*C but inside the house was very comfortable. Although we had snow and days without sunshine Jim never saw our batteries below 80%. Granted we weren't living here but we did leave both our freezer and refrigerator plugged in, the pumps worked to push the hot water through the floor and the well pump came on a few times as neighbours came in to water our plants.

We have a generator that will come on automatically to charge the batteries if they get too low.  On the 12th of November the generator came on and ran for 5 hours. No one was here but the information was recorded by the memory chip in the generator and I could retrieve it when I checked Saturday. 

The only negative in this whole system is the amount of propane our generator consumes. We had our propane tank filled just before we left. Propane tanks are filled to 80% and today our propane gauge sits at 69%. (Down 11%) Only our water tank and generator were consuming propane while we were away. 

Tomorrow - Part Two - Conserving Propane

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