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Discussion Starter #1
Bought a really cool booked used from amazon.com called compact cabins...awesome ideas in there! It shows possible cabin plans that use solar energy and propane gas(is it a gas or liquid?) Anways...is it cheaper to buy 200lb tanks of propane for heating,cooking, and refridgeration...and solar energy for lights... instead of electricity? I was asking my DH his thoughts and he was the same as me,have no idea. Only asking as our electric bill was 180.00 in January, and 136.00 in February. Thanks for any advice you may have.

Our cabin will have a 3 burner stove, and smaller compact fridge/freezer as we are a family of 3.
 

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Cost of liquid propane (that's what the LP stands for) vs. electricity depends on various factors. We are happy when it's warm enough for our heat pump to run because it's cheaper to heat with electricity than propane, but we are on off-peak rates for the heat pump and we have low rates here to begin with.

Liquid propane vaporizes at temps warmer than around 45 below zero. The gas is what's burned off to heat a house or light a stove burner. The tanks are pressurized to force the gas through the pipe to the house.

Propane appliances are often more efficient. Our camper fridge works better on propane than on electricity.

I'm not sure residential propane fridges are the gas absorption type like RV fridges or if they use a compressor. If they are gas absorption, they only cool to about forty degrees below ambient temp. So if it's ninety degrees in the room where the fridge is, it would only cool to about fifty degrees, which is not safe for food storage. I know a lot of people in our area use gas fridges because some of the more remote cabins around here are so far off the beaten path and it's prohibitively expensive to put in power lines. They use gas lamps and other appliances, too.

As for solar power, how well that's going to work depends on where you live. Here, winters are usually quite cloudy for long periods of time and days are short. Solar wouldn't work as well for us as somewhere the sun shines shines almost every day. You can do a cheap experiment by buying a small solar garden light and putting it in a sunny spot where you can see it easily from your house. Keep track of how many nights that light glows brightly and note what the weather conditions are, especially during winter. Here, it's not unusual to get many nights in a row when the lights aren't on at all or are quite dim. That would give you an idea how well solar power might work in your particular location.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you SD- learned what LP meant. You make good points about the solar panels and amount of sun. So we should do a lot of research before committing to the off grid life...I find it really fascinating. Any good book recommendations you may have poured over? TIA!
 

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I think it's fascinating too. I've always been intrigued by alternative building methods like rammed earth, cordwood masonry, and straw bale construction.

I don't understand wind and solar power as much as I would like. I don't have any good sources of info for that but I think a good basic understanding of power usage and power draw for various uses and different appliances would be a good place to start.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Too funny you mentioning straw bale...I did a buch of reading on it as well...if I wasn't worried about moisture and molding...thats the way I'd build.
 

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Yeah, you definitely need to live in a dry climate.

I saw a house for sale in Wyoming made of straw bales. You'd never know it. They're supposed to be very energy-efficient.
 

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I'll see if I can find it again. It's for sale and I was looking at Wyoming real estate. It cracked me up because the street it's on is called something like Huffnpuff Lane.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Oh no way! Thats awesome...did laugh at the street name...imagaine giving that address to the pizza delivery person...they'd think it was a prank call.
 
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