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Old 01-04-15, 01:39 PM   #51
oil pan 4
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I was checking how much power the geo thermal heat pump uses for when the power goes out.
So unless you are off grid, or have a really serious UPS that can supply several amps of 240 volt power you will need a generator with home tie in that can put out 240 volt power to run the heat pump when the power goes out.
I just would not want one as my only heat source.

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Old 01-04-15, 01:49 PM   #52
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Oh, I see, and I agree that is certainly a concern. I don't have any way of running the heat pump if we lose mains power. I would like to get a generator but as you say, it would need to be a big one.
My back up plan for such an eventuality is that I have retained the oil burner that we used before getting the heat pump. It is still connected, we have some fuel for it and we could use it if needed. It does require some electrical power, but very little, and I can supply that from a 12V battery and an inverter. I run it now and then to be sure it is still in working order.
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Old 01-04-15, 03:36 PM   #53
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My parents in the state of Maine have an oil burner. It does not see much action any more. When the power would go out there in the winter they would unplug the oil burner and plug it into a generator. Yes this fixed 150kg+ fixed machine had a cord that plugged into its own wall receptacle.
It only needs main to neutral power (120 volts) and only requires 1500-2000 watts for a split second on start up, then around 500 watts or so to run.
The cheapest smallest generator you could find would run it.
Now it only gets ran when no one is home and the pellet burner is off.
So now they top off the fuel oil tanks at the end of each winter as opposed to having them filled 3 to 6 times each year.
When the power goes out now, they just run the pellet burner off the generator, only 200 to 300 watts depending on the fan speed. An inverter hooked up to an idling car could power it.
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Old 01-04-15, 04:56 PM   #54
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SDMCF your missing out on the whole messy experience that others are living with.

Pellets everywhere or oil seeping into your land lol
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Old 01-04-15, 06:46 PM   #55
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It beats having the power go out, have all the pipes freeze and bust, then when the power comes back on the well pump kicks on and floods out the house when no one is home.
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Old 12-04-15, 01:51 AM   #56
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I recently had to use my back-up plan for real when we had a power outage for 40 hours. My plan failed completely as the oil burner failed to start. The only heat source we had was the wood burner in the kitchen, which does a poor job of heating the whole house. Also, with no power to run the well pump, we had no running water. I need to make better arrangements to cope with outages in the future. Solar power is not a reliable solution for me though. At this time of year there are few sunny days and PV would produce basically nothing. I don't see any real alternative to a generator.
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Old 12-05-15, 12:10 AM   #57
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Finland is one of the few places I have not been but from what I hear it can be like the American north east or "New England".
I have lived in our "New England" and the longest stretch we had with clouds blocking most of the sun light was 17 days.

Solar panels will produce some power with over cast if you have the more expensive MPPT charge controller.
I say doing off grid solar with out an MPPT charge controller could be a waste of time in a lot of circumstances.
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Old 12-05-15, 07:57 AM   #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oil pan 4 View Post
Finland is one of the few places I have not been but from what I hear it can be like the American north east or "New England".
I have lived in our "New England" and the longest stretch we had with clouds blocking most of the sun light was 17 days.

Solar panels will produce some power with over cast if you have the more expensive MPPT charge controller.
I say doing off grid solar with out an MPPT charge controller could be a waste of time in a lot of circumstances.
OK, I'm actually living with this stuff in the North East (42nd parallel) in a rain shed area that's next to the North West in sunshine or the lack of it. Right now it's overcast here on Dec. 5 which means the sun is approaching its lowest point in the sky with the shortest day of the year a couple of weeks from now. Yes, I did all my own work installing my two systems but one was a free grant. And yes I did use the best stuff, or what was the best stuff(Outback has been sold).
If the power went out this minute (we're on a rural electric co-op so it happens several times a year) I'd still be writing this, my oil burner, well, fridges and freezers would still be running fine even with my aging 10 year old L/A batts. Just for fun I flipped my batts on for critical loads. Even though it's overcast I'm still producing more energy than I need. I'd say the total cost of my systems is about 15k (just about 10 years old) give or take but right now I could install an off grid system with full battery backup for maybe around 7k complete with batteries. That's getting pretty close to a good generator without the noise and fuel expense. And my last electric bill was for -$600+.

I have MPPT but at the cost of PV today you could just pack on more modules. Ten years ago when modules cost $900.00 for 175 watt panels an MPPT made a difference. Last summer I bought 240 watt modules for well under a dollar a watt. Manufacturers won't tell you this but MPPTs and tracking arrays aren't worth the extra expense. Put it into modules and put up as many as you can pack into your property. That's the cheapest, most robust solution.

Rob
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Old 12-05-15, 08:04 AM   #59
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One more thing. If you put in a intertie with off grid option you're better off than a solo off grid only set up. Here's why:

You run your house on the grid selling back your surplus to the grid. Your batteries stay charged and fresh. When the grid goes down, those batteries save you. You're not charging and depleting them on a daily basis. Batteries are rated for charge cycles. Every time you charge and discharge batteries they lose some of their life so you want to keep your charge cycles to a minimum.

Let the grid keep your batteries charged and sell your extra power back to it.

Rob
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Old 12-06-15, 08:55 PM   #60
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Thanks all.

I'm only reading up on this stuff, trying to learn--- it's great to hear real world experiences (in some supposedly non-optimal solar areas). Even SDMCF's "failure" (I don't see it as a failure) is a great real world test to verify/adjust your setup to make sure its what you need for your situation...

thanks!

Jimmy

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