So the well is a bust, for now. Link for the history. I know I have water down at 11 feet. I have checked two different ways. But the cheap pump I purchased ($100) just does not want to work. I had thought about using a Shurflo DC pump. Then, I could try a solar setup. But since it is only 15 feet from the house an AC pump makes more sense. The issue I have now is the cost of a new, good, well pump. They cost in the mid $200 range and that is a good chunk of change for something I cannot be 100% will work. I think what I need to do is buy something from the local store and check on the return policy. Then if it works I am in business. If not I could just return it and get my money back. At least I can use the old pumps accumulator tank. So it is not a total lose.

Too bad I can’t get a larger diameter well down in the ground. Then I could get a Grudfus deep well pump. I could water to his heart’s content and still have plenty to go around. O’ well, wishful thinking.

If I ever take the next step I will let you know. I think when all the rain is over and I have to water, then I will look at this again.

I finally got a new toilet! Home Depot had a 1.0 GPF on sale for $98. The nice thing about this toilet is that it is a plain old fashion gravity toilet. It has fewer things to go wrong and it is very quite.

It has been working great for about a month now. Only one time have I had to use the plunger. That is good because the old one was once or twice a week. I did receive my latest water bill. We only used 2050 Gallons. The pervious month was 2700 gallons. Remember, this also involves the new low flow shower head too.  (That is most of the reduction.) But I figure the new toilet saves at least 10 gallons a day. FWIW, my bill was still $39.56. We have a high fixed charge now. 😦

You have saved 8,026 sq. ft. of rainforest.

The Juicy Rewards program is over now. I collected dozens of points and used all of them to save the rainforest. Very easy to do since I already drink Orange Juice. Just trying to do every little bit that I can.

I hope they run the same program in the future. Then I can save another 8,000 sq. ft. of rainforest.

Have you ever wondered how much electricity the self clean cycle uses on you electric oven? I finally found out. Since I have my TED5000 it was very easy. The cycle runs for five hours. The internal temperature gets up to somewhere around 800 degrees F. I can’t be exact (should have used my TED1000 tied directly to the circuit) but I figured I used between 10kWhrs and 12 kWhrs for the entire five hours. That is equal to a little over a dollar!

I received a new shower head for Christmas this year. The Evolve low flow shower head uses only 1.5 gpm @ 85psi. I think my pressure is lower so that means it uses slightly less. My old shower head used 2.5 gpm. Since my water/sewer bill has just about doubled I think this should help to reduce the overall impact of the increase. The increase is NOT from usage it is from flat-out utility robbery. Nothing I can do about it other than conserve.

My wife and I have been using it for over two weeks now. After getting use to the lower water volume it has been very nice. You just turn on the shower and walk away. After the shower gets to temperature it shuts itself off automatically and stays that way until you plug the chain to start the flow of water.

How much could it save me. I take about a twenty-minute shower and my wife, about the same. In a week that adds up to over 250 minute of showering. Now that is equal to 250 gallons of water! (2.5 gpm-1.5gpm = 1gpm) I am figuring that is mostly hot water. (75% is a good number) The amount of hot water saved is close to 200 gallons! WOW! I had no idea. 1000 gallons a month and 50kWhrs a month. (63 degree rise of 800 gallons of water. 1 gallon = 8.33 Heat pump is about 250% efficient. 3413 BTU per kWhr)

Only time will tell if I see this in my utility bills. I would hope I could see 1000 gallons since I only use an average of 4000 a month now. I really need to replace my toilets now and see what happens.

It is that time of year again. Not the holiday shopping season but the planning season. I usually look back at the past yea and thing about what I should have done. Then I try to plan for next year. I do have some ideas brewing.

First, I want a much bigger garden. Last year was a huge bust with the 9 inches of rain in June and then 4 months with only 1 inch total. Hopefully my well will have water in the spring. Then I can water every day if I like. I just received my first seed catalog today so I am starting to think about what I want to grow.

Second, I still want my solar pond! I know that I am going to modify my solar lights to include the pump some how. This will ensure I am not wasting winter production on nothing. I would like to devise a diversion load heater for winter pond heating with excess winter production.

Lastly, I want to think about solar hot water. I have a good idea about how much electricity I use to heat water. At a minimum I use 100 kW hours a month. I estimate ,that on average, closer to 120 kW hours a month. More in the winter of coarse. This is very low for electric water heating because of the hot water heat pump.

My wife does not like the downstairs toilet anymore. I think it would be a great time to upgrade the most use potty in the house. I want the best flushing with the least amount of water. I have heard about pressure assisted flushing toilets, so I started looking into it. Sloan Flushmate is the leader in pressure assisted flushing. (For all I know they have patent protection.) They have great videos on their site so you can see how is works.

The most inexpensive model I found that uses only 1GPF is the Glacier Bay1.0 GPF Pressure Assisted All-In-One Toilet. It is $200 at but I will have to wait for free shipping. I can wait, it not like the current one is broken. One thing I did find while searching was that it could shred toilet paper. I don’t think I will have this problem because we don’t use single ply paper. (You have to use single ply if you have a septic system.)

I only have to wait for free shipping and I will purchase it. Until then I will just have to waste 0.6 Gallons every time we flush. ;-(

I have gone thru my first box. It only took a YEAR! We have done some traveling and my wife will not use the country save detergent. I does get the clothes just as clean 95% of the time. That is fine with me. We still have Tide handy for the tough stains and dirt.

You can’t beat the price. This stuff is cheap compared to everything else. Each load uses about $0.10 of detergent. Tide is at least double that. I also like using powdered detergent. I feel that I am not buying any fillers. (water) Since I have three more boxes left, I am glad I like it.

In my last blog I said that I broke down and purchased a small generator. After some digging on the internet, I found that the power output from these generators is very “dirty”. Sensitive electronics would not like it at all. So I have a solution. Sometime ago I purchased a used APC Smart-up 1500 on the internet. It has the ability to condition the incoming voltage. Basically, it does a great job at making the output stay at 120VAC. The idea is to run the generator and have it feed the battery back -up. The battery back-up runs my emergency loads. With a load of 300Watts the battery back-up will last close to an hour. That would be enough time for the generator to cool off and I could refuel it. Since my emergency load should be very small. (100W) I could get over three hours with the battery back-up.

Why, you ask? First I think solar is great! But you can’t generate solar power very well in the middle of winter very well. Even on the sunniest winter day. (This is fully true, some arrays have the best output in the very cold sun) I purchased it because I am concerned about a big snow storm knocking out power for a few days. In my current house of nine years we have never gone more than eight hours without power. I think we are due for a longer outage. If that were to happen the food in the refrigerator would go bad. I know I have blogged in the past about a solar generators. But this application is for more than 12 hours.

I purchased it online for $100 with shipping. You can get them a little cheaper but I like the analog voltmeter and the 12 VDC charger. Started on the second pull. I first pull was not a very good one. I ran it for three hours to break it in. I needed a small load during break in and I was making dinner in the slow cooker. There you have it. The perfect 300 Watt load. It is a 2 stroke, but it does not smoke like most two strokes. It is a fifty state legal model. The peak power is 1000 Watts, 8.3 amps. This should run everything I need but not all at once. Just remember, almost all off-grid homes have a backup generator.