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Old 10-30-2013, 03:50 PM   #29
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I think you're underestimating your power needs. Even a small ceramic heater will not run of solar panels, unless you're spending serious money on both panels and batteries - especially in winter. You're talking thousands, easily.

If you want to heat your water supply, and you must to stop it from freezing, the same apples. The furnace fan, although it uses propane to heat, will run a fully charged battery dry in a day or two at the most.

Your propane fridge needs power, your composting toilet needs power, your water pump needs power, your lights need power. You're talking about a dehumidifier and an electric fridge. You cannot power these with a 400 watt panel on a trailer roof.

Unless you're prepared to live very primitively indeed, and put up with considerable hardship, you do need a steady source of electricity.


If you're ok with carrying water into the trailer from a heated source, then you might be ok, but that's a lot of work.

My friends with the property in Northern Ontario bring water in the winter and store it inside their trailer when they visit. They take sponge baths in a bucket, and use an outhouse. All water for washing dishes etc gets heated on the stove, then discarded outside. It's ok for a long weekend, but I am not sure I'd like to live like that.
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Old 10-30-2013, 03:51 PM   #30
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They aren't any more efficient than anything else. THat's all marketing hype. They will keep your trailer around 15 degrees warmer than the outside temp, if you run them on high.



If you're thinking of an RV furnace, like the ones from Atwood and Suburban, that would be a wise move.



You would need $10,000 of panels and $10,000 of batteries to have a chance of heating an Airstream on a cold winter night with PV panels.

Propane is the most practical fuel, though wood will work as long as you're there to tend the fire



I'm skeptical of these. Be sure you talk to people who are using them daily under similar weather conditions before you purchase.



Hmm.
Thanks for the names on the RV furnaces. I will look into them.

With the wood, I will eventually move my business to work from home. So EVENTUALLY that's the plan. But until then I do need another form of heating. Propane sounds like the way to go. I'm not investing that much in solar panels because eventually we'll be moving to warmer, sunnier climates.

I have read extensive reviews and read blogs and posts from full timers regarding the Natures Head composting toilet. Everyone says its the best. It separates the liquids from the solids, with the help of peat moss or coconut coir, reduces the rv bathroom smell and starts composting the solids into soil. The only real con is the maintenance. The icky stuff just doesn't disappear down the drain. You have to dump the liquids into some sort of fashioned hole and empty the solids at least every 2 weeks, rain or snow. But again, full timing isn't glamorous.

I should clarify. It doesn't dump toxins. Rather the microwave kind of zaps nutrients from your food. Either way if you're committed enough and contrary to popular belief, a microwave is not needed to cook. And that's really the main deciding factor in ridding myself of a microwave. It frees up space and I don't NEED it.
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Old 10-30-2013, 03:52 PM   #31
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You're the one who has to live with your choices, so I guess I won't be critical.

I have at various times spent the night in unheated tents and buildings in temperatures down below zero. I have some friends who sleep outside all winter in rural Minnesota because they have a thing about radon. Blankets are good down to around 40 degrees alone, 30 with a lover, anything beyond that and you pretty much have to have either electric blankets or some really good sleeping bags.

Another fact to consider is that the pioneers of whom you speak did little during the winter aside from the basic tasks of staying alive in the cold.

It is not a lifestyle that works well if you have an 8-5 job or similar commitments requiring comparable amounts of time.

You are correct that nothing larger than the Little Cod will fit
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Old 10-30-2013, 03:55 PM   #32
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I should clarify. It doesn't dump toxins. Rather the microwave kind of zaps nutrients from your food. Either way if you're committed enough and contrary to popular belief, a microwave is not needed to cook. And that's really the main deciding factor in ridding myself of a microwave. It frees up space and I don't NEED it.
Well, you're preaching to teh choir on that. I've only had one for four years.

Space wise consider the fact that the inside of the microwave can be used for storage. In my Airstream we travel with the coffee thermos and a couple of other bulky items in there.
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Old 10-30-2013, 03:57 PM   #33
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Many markers here for you sinking cash into a situation you can't get it back of if it doesn't work out.

I would suggest renting an RV for a week or two and living in that before committing a great deal of money (purchasing land, fixing trailers, etc)

That is the best way to find out whether the lifestyle meets your goals.
My husband lived in an RV for 2 years and I grew up with 6 siblings and two parents in 2 small RV's. We'll be buying land any way you look at it. But if the renting situation works out we won't need to buy land for several years. The only difference between the way we grew up and us is we won't always be connected to electricity, hence the solar panels. We are masters of finding free/cheap materials on CL and trading our skills for things we need.

We just got some free plywood for helping a guy clean out his garage. There's always way to do things cheaply if you set your mind to it. I am willing to fork out the money on the fireplace and toilet simply because they will make life easier and less spendier down the road.
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Old 10-30-2013, 04:01 PM   #34
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You have to dump the liquids into some sort of fashioned hole and empty the solids at least every 2 weeks, rain or snow. But again, full timing isn't glamorous.
The Nature's Head is good for between 80 and 100 uses. Depending on the health o your digestive system, that should give you about a month of use between two people.

I know people who use it on boats, they swear by it.
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Old 10-30-2013, 04:02 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by andreasduess View Post
I think you're underestimating your power needs. Even a small ceramic heater will not run of solar panels, unless you're spending serious money on both panels and batteries - especially in winter. You're talking thousands, easily.

If you want to heat your water supply, and you must to stop it from freezing, the same apples. The furnace fan, although it uses propane to heat, will run a fully charged battery dry in a day or two at the most.

Your propane fridge needs power, your composting toilet needs power, your water pump needs power, your lights need power.

Unless you're prepared to live very primitively indeed, and put up with considerable hardship, you do need a steady source of electricity.
+1

Rule of thumb is that a basic solar installation for an Airstream should be around 400 watts of panels. Full timing in the winter would require several times that many.

Quote:
If you're ok with carrying water into the trailer from a heated source, then you might be ok, but that's a lot of work.

My friends with the property in Northern Ontario bring water in the winter and store it inside their trailer when they visit. They take sponge baths in a bucket, and use an outhouse. All water for washing dishes etc gets heated on the stove, then discarded outside. It's ok for a long weekend, but I am not sure I'd like to live like that.
I've lived that way and while yes you can do it there is a lot to be said for drains.

Another fact to consider is that the "cabin modality" of carrying water in buckets and heating it on the stove requires a good deal more counter and stove space than an Airstream has to offer. In my experience, having lived/cooked in that environment quite a good deal, even for two people you at least need an apartment-sized 4-burner stove and room for two 5-gallon buckets on the counter and, if you're collecting greywater, one under teh sink.

The RV stoves are barely big enough for a spaghetti pot let alone something big enough for bath water
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Old 10-30-2013, 04:05 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by andreasduess View Post
I think you're underestimating your power needs. Even a small ceramic heater will not run of solar panels, unless you're spending serious money on both panels and batteries - especially in winter. You're talking thousands, easily.

If you want to heat your water supply, and you must to stop it from freezing, the same apples. The furnace fan, although it uses propane to heat, will run a fully charged battery dry in a day or two at the most.

Your propane fridge needs power, your composting toilet needs power, your water pump needs power, your lights need power. You're talking about a dehumidifier and an electric fridge. You cannot power these with a 400 watt panel on a trailer roof.

Unless you're prepared to live very primitively indeed, and put up with considerable hardship, you do need a steady source of electricity.


If you're ok with carrying water into the trailer from a heated source, then you might be ok, but that's a lot of work.

My friends with the property in Northern Ontario bring water in the winter and store it inside their trailer when they visit. They take sponge baths in a bucket, and use an outhouse. All water for washing dishes etc gets heated on the stove, then discarded outside. It's ok for a long weekend, but I am not sure I'd like to live like that.
All the reasons why we don't have an airstream yet. There's still a lot we need to figure out. I believe we'll use propane for the furnace and heat the airstream with a fireplace at night. In regards the electricity, we will start off with 120 watt solar panel, 4 6v batteries. We will build as we go. the ceramic heater is an idea I'm playing around but I know its not a full term viable solution. We'll have a generator that hopefully we'll never have to use but it will be there just in case. Its going to take a lot of planning and preparation and will be difficult handle during winter but we are looking at the end result. You live like no one else so you can LIVE like no one else.
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Old 10-30-2013, 04:08 PM   #37
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I think you're underestimating your power needs. Even a small ceramic heater will not run of solar panels, unless you're spending serious money on both panels and batteries - especially in winter. You're talking thousands, easily.

If you want to heat your water supply, and you must to stop it from freezing, the same apples. The furnace fan, although it uses propane to heat, will run a fully charged battery dry in a day or two at the most.

Your propane fridge needs power, your composting toilet needs power, your water pump needs power, your lights need power. You're talking about a dehumidifier and an electric fridge. You cannot power these with a 400 watt panel on a trailer roof.

Unless you're prepared to live very primitively indeed, and put up with considerable hardship, you do need a steady source of electricity.


If you're ok with carrying water into the trailer from a heated source, then you might be ok, but that's a lot of work.

My friends with the property in Northern Ontario bring water in the winter and store it inside their trailer when they visit. They take sponge baths in a bucket, and use an outhouse. All water for washing dishes etc gets heated on the stove, then discarded outside. It's ok for a long weekend, but I am not sure I'd like to live like that.
The composting toilet does not need power unless you run the fan. You agitate the compost manually. The water pump will need power, yes. I considered an electric fridge but you are correct in saying I absolutely will not be able to run everything on electric power. Especially not an electric fridge.
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Old 10-30-2013, 04:17 PM   #38
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You're the one who has to live with your choices, so I guess I won't be critical.

I have at various times spent the night in unheated tents and buildings in temperatures down below zero. I have some friends who sleep outside all winter in rural Minnesota because they have a thing about radon. Blankets are good down to around 40 degrees alone, 30 with a lover, anything beyond that and you pretty much have to have either electric blankets or some really good sleeping bags.

Another fact to consider is that the pioneers of whom you speak did little during the winter aside from the basic tasks of staying alive in the cold.

It is not a lifestyle that works well if you have an 8-5 job or similar commitments requiring comparable amounts of time.

You are correct that nothing larger than the Little Cod will fit
I work for a real estate agent. I'll be home a lot more in the winter to prepare for those tasks.
I fully appreciate all the things you are bringing to light and will consider all of the problems I may face before investing in an airstream.
You did mention A LOT of things I didn't think about. But again necessity is the mother of invention.
And I have a feeling I won't be sleeping through cold nights without putting wood on the fire at least once :P

We also have some sleeping bags that are good to below 0 weather. And thankfully it doesn't get that cold here.
We aren't set to buy an airstream right away. But that's why I'm asking now so that I have time to prepare. And from what you've told me, I have A LOT to prepare for. But I'm convinced this will be the best way to live the life that we want to. And we ever want to move the bonus is we can take our home with us.
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Old 10-30-2013, 04:18 PM   #39
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Well, you're preaching to teh choir on that. I've only had one for four years.

Space wise consider the fact that the inside of the microwave can be used for storage. In my Airstream we travel with the coffee thermos and a couple of other bulky items in there.
I'll think about that if our airstream comes with a microwave. Its a good idea. Otherwise we'll fashion some storage space in the empty area for other things.
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Old 10-30-2013, 04:20 PM   #40
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The Nature's Head is good for between 80 and 100 uses. Depending on the health o your digestive system, that should give you about a month of use between two people.

I know people who use it on boats, they swear by it.
Really? And especially because we mostly use the john at our places of employment so we should have some time and by then it won't be quite as messy of a task. That makes that concern less daunting
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Old 10-30-2013, 04:28 PM   #41
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+1

Rule of thumb is that a basic solar installation for an Airstream should be around 400 watts of panels. Full timing in the winter would require several times that many.



I've lived that way and while yes you can do it there is a lot to be said for drains.

Another fact to consider is that the "cabin modality" of carrying water in buckets and heating it on the stove requires a good deal more counter and stove space than an Airstream has to offer. In my experience, having lived/cooked in that environment quite a good deal, even for two people you at least need an apartment-sized 4-burner stove and room for two 5-gallon buckets on the counter and, if you're collecting greywater, one under teh sink.

The RV stoves are barely big enough for a spaghetti pot let alone something big enough for bath water
If it comes to that we both have showers where we work. But I'm assuming we're going to have to tough it up and use the furnace during the day. We'll have to do some math when it comes to buying propane/ using electricity and see how feasible this idea is. I wouldn't have to think of ALL these factors if I lived down south Once my husband gets out of school we'll be moving to slightly warmer climate. But until then we may have to come up with some creative ideas. I may have to start my in home business early and manage things from home. I sincerely appreciate your helpful criticism and warnings
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Old 10-30-2013, 04:30 PM   #42
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Problems with heat, plumbing, condensation, ventilation and discomfort will probably scuttle the concept of an Airstream in winter with a tiny solar electrical system in short order. They are a poor winter cabin, slightly better than a tent.
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