Shelly asks about our light sources and power.
We have switched electric lights, believe it or not. There are a pair above the kitchen sink and one under the loft in the living area. Compact fluorescent bulbs in both.
In the summer, when the lodge will be open, large diesel generators will provide power, so all the cabins are wired with switches, including staff facilities.
During construction, the crew uses a number of smaller gas generators. To have power after hours when the generators are off, we have a battery bank and inverter–the inverter turns battery power into AC power for normal house switches and outlets.
Outside our front door is a plywood box that contains the batteries and inverter. A small gas generator sits beside the box, sheltered from the weather.
The generator. I love these Honda generators because I can start them in under thirty minutes and without damaging my back. I’ve always had a hate-hate relationship with pull cords, but I will put up with them on these generators. We have the 1000-watt version of this generator at home. They are wonderfully efficient, quiet, and they have inverters built right into them. I can plug the computer directly into the generator during a power outage at home.
Battery charger on the left, inverter on the right.
There are some add-on features to this system. For instance, the chest freezer uses more current than the inverter can supply, so the outlet that powers the freezer only works when the generator is on.
We also have a pump that can pull water from the garbage bucket by the back door to the faucet in the sink, but we’ve opted not to hook that up for now.
We had to run the generator quite a bit when we first arrived to get the freezer and its contents frozen. Though the freezer is outside, it hasn’t been cold enough to freeze our food. Now that the contents are frozen, running the freezer for an hour or two a day, or every other day, or whatever will be sufficient.
We’re still learning how to use the power most efficiently. I’ve been under the impression that computers don’t use that much power, but my experience here suggests otherwise. Or maybe this newer laptop consumes more energy than our old laptop. I used to run the old laptop on a single car battery for many hours over several days before having to charge the battery. It seems the 6-battery setup ought to last a long time, but it doesn’t. I wonder, too, if the batteries being outside in the cold has anything to do with it.
Don’t know. We’ll continue to watch, experiment, and learn.