Monday, February 25, 2013

Chapter 109...A Real Electric Refrigerator:)

Off Grid...Chapter 109

Hello everyone. This month will be our 3 year anniversary of buying our land. It's been a great 3 years with a lot of ups and downs and a lot of learning. So far this year has been a good one We are making changes and improving things. So now to let you know what we have been up to

Back to the beginning of May. Since Mike and I want to improve on what we have done, we have been talking about getting an electric refrigerator instead of our propane refrigerator. We looked into solar electric refrigerators and they cost over $2000.00 for a regular sized refrigerator. We have been doing some research and we have decided to buy a regular $360.00 electric refrigerator and increase our solar system if needed. Which means we have some shopping to do

Our electric line that runs underground from our solar system to our house isn't sized big enough for more electric usage. We knew at some point we would have to increase the wire size and now is the time. Wouldn't it have been great if we just "knew" everything from the start, lol? I just hope some of you can learn from all of our experience Life is all about learning and since we don't know anyone else who has ever tried to do what we are doing I guess we are the guinea pigs, lol.

So on May 1st it's back to Lowe's for more wire

I know Mike wants to get this job done but I made plans to take my stepdaughter out to go plant shopping and out to lunch. I will help Mike in the morning and then I have to leave him to work on his own.

Before I leave on Monday the 2nd I help Mike get ready to shut our system down and start over

His plan is to turn off our system, change out the underground wire, and rewire the whole system including our indoor electrical panel. It's going to be a long and stressful day for Mike until he gets our electric back up and running.

First Mike disconnects the wiring from the box in the building and also the breaker panel in the house. Next it's time to get the old smaller wire out of the ground and get the larger wire underground.

Time for business. Mike tapes the end of the old smaller wire to the new larger wire.

We have to get about 65 feet of the new wire underground.

We are taped up and ready to go.

Mike stays at one end and pushes the wire down into the pipe underground while I pull from the other end. We cross our fingers and I pull gently while Mike pushes...and it's through to the other end

Mike has a full day of work ahead of him. My stepdaughter shows up to go to town with me. She is doing her first garden this year and I am doing my third garden. We are going to the school and the nursery to buy plants Hours later after buying multiple plants and having lunch we get back home. We had a great time while poor Mike had to work. He got all of the wiring hooked back up in the building and also redid the breaker box inside the house.

The old breaker box.

And the new one. Mike also painted a board and put it behind the box.

He worked really hard and did an awesome job. We are back online and ready for a new refrigerator with a self defrost

We have been hearing a lot of chainsaws lately and that's never a good thing to hear. Today we finally saw where they are cutting and it's right across the way No matter how much land you buy, you just can't protect it all.

As you know, this is what it looked like before it was logged.

At some time it will grow back. The trees won't grow back in our time but hopefully it will eventually turn green.

Tuesday May 3
Mike and I stayed home and redid some house and food organization. My plants are all inside as it is way to cold to plant anything yet.

I called Lowe's and they have my new refrigerator. Woo hoo. Time to go to town and pick it up. Mike and I get it loaded onto the trailer and back home. to get it down to the house. It's tall so we have to be careful getting it down.

It's not too heavy just awkward. I help Mike get it onto the tractor bucket and we strap it in.

Mike backs it down the drive while I make sure it doesn't tip over

We get it down to the house and off the tractor. Next we bring it inside. For now we are going to hook it up in a different location. We have to test our system before we can make the switch over from the propane refrigerator to the new refrigerator.

Mike is reversing the door handle for me. This is a huge peeve of mine. I can't stand when a refrigerator door opens the wrong way.

Since it is late we won't plug the new refrigerator in until the morning. We have to monitor our system and make sure our system can run it without any problems.

The next day we plug it in and I write down every time the refrigerator goes on and for how long. So far so good. If all goes well we can switch the food

We also went out to cut up some wood but our chainsaw is broken and Mike can't get it fixed which is very unusual. We rarely have to drop things off for any type of servicing which i am very thankful for

Friday May 6
It's raining today so we are stuck inside again. First we dropped off the chainsaw.

Back home...the refrigerator is doing great and our system is handling it I moved the food over. Now it's time to advertise our propane refrigerator. We will leave it hooked up for a couple of weeks. Hopefully we can sell it before we have to unhook it and store it.

Another cold day. Mike and I are painting the bathroom. I do the cut in while Mike rolls. This time we use a small roller since it is a tight room. It's amazing how much less paint you waste using the small rollers

Mike painting the bathroom.

It only took us about an hour and now it looks so fresh and clean.


On May 9th I painted the electrical box. Much nicer

And the next day Mike starts to clean out the green building again!!!

I don't know if Mike and I will ever be done organizing, lol. We always seem to change things.

That's all for now. I hope you enjoyed the story and I will write again soon.



  1. What a difference between the logged and unlogged pictures. Fortunately it is a renewal resource but sometimes I wonder if we are using it up too quickly.

    I am very concerned about the cutting of the rain forests around the world. I'm afraid that the damage will be irreparable. :(

    1. We are destroying the Earth and it breaks my heart.

  2. I can see from the before picture why that great stand of timber was so attractive to whatever industry gobbled it up... It's too bad they had to take it ALL, marring, scarring the land as they go...

    1. Man certainly knows how to destroy nature.

  3. Hi
    Great blog info. Y'all got real good things happening. We (my wife Megan, Noah (10), Rory (8), and I) live off grid and need to reinvest in another propane refrig. Our 18 crystal cold kicked it after 7 years. What brand did you use and did it work well for you.........before you went to the AC Unit?
    From Worcester, VT,
    McLane family

    1. Congrats to being off grid. The refrigerator is our last issue that we just can't seem to get quite right.

      Our original propane refrigerator was a Diamond. It was big but used way too much propane. Then we went to the Frigidaire which is great but only in the bright summer days. Then we bought a Norcold RV refrigerator. That works well because you have your choice of propane or electric with just one button. Unfortunately it is not perfect. The RV refrigerator is small and when it is on electric it consumes twice the amount as our I have two kinds of refrigerators in my kitchen.

      Good luck to you. Let me know if you come up with a better solution:)