He’s Lived 6 Years Without An Electric Bill


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Categories: Life Stories

Living Off grid, he has rigged up his own power supply for six years, becoming an expert at wind turbine generating power, working out the difficulties, making appropriate repairs and by now knowing exactly how everything works.

If you want to cut your electric bill, or if you would like to get off grid, here is how to do it: follow someone who’s already doing it. You can read more at Homestead where it was originally published by Chris Devaney.

I like to tinker. I like things mechanical. A little music is good too, especially if it is creative. And I love things that are free: like the wind. The sound of it, the feel of it on my face, and the intrinsic energy inherent in it.

Over six years ago, I put up a rooftop-mounted wind generator, and then another the following year, and then a third a year or so after that. It wasn’t hard to do and didn’t require any special-function tools, just the regular ones everyone has. Even so, I figured that I better leave the tools handy.

Those mechanical whirlygigs, I supposed, will need attention, and more than likely, lots of it and real soon. I get a typical wind of 10-15 mph almost every day, stronger in the winter, and much stronger in a storm. Notice the weatherbeaten and wind eroded appearance of the stain on my homestead, certainly in need of a fresh coat. I even had a hurricane back a year or so ago. No one liked that. Not the house, not me, not even the wind generators. But nothing broke, so those tools still lay dormant!


Normally, due to a genetic flaw from somewhere in the past, I seriously lack organizational skills. I just leave my tools wherever the last project was. This tool filing system came about from having to drop everything and quench the fires typical of every do-it-yourself homestead. Then, of course, there were those especially special fires, the hot ones, the ones you can’t put off, not even for a moment. We all have them.

Mine may involve immature but awful big and awful friendly livestock playing with the ladder I’m standing on, or even worse, a bunch of eternally immature Australian shepherds trying to herd a slow-moving porcupine or an even more recalcitrant skunk towards an open door.

Such episodes dull the mind, they so laden it with immediate panic that not only is the tool hopelessly mislaid, perhaps even thrown, that even after the rescue, (or climbing back up the ladder after being tossed off it) my brain is still dulled to the point where I cannot not even recall WHAT I was working on… the tools laid down or tossed in haste, become hopelessly lost almost forever… until the lawnmower finds them.

But, for the most part, sans panic, this drop-’em-where-you-are process works out ok, I only have to remember what the last thing I worked on was and… voila! there’s the tools. All in all, it works pretty good for me. Of course, now and then I need to have duplicate sets of cheap Chinese tools scattered around.

I’d be derelict if I didn’t mention to you, however, that this filing concept breaks down when it comes to rooftop projects. And since this is dealing with a rooftop project, I best mention that this filing system works dangerously poorly for this kind of project. Being clanged on the head by a big pipe wrench, even a cheap Chinese one, rolling off the roof because the roof somehow knows I am within reach is not my cup of tea anymore. I don’t think it is anyone’s cup, except perhaps Evel Knievel, but I think he is dead. Or at least severely wounded.

So, it comes down to this: when the wind generators get broken, I have to hunt for the tools because I know they are not on the roof. That could take days; it could even take weeks, but the doggonnest thing is… the dang wind generators don’t break! So much for tinkering. So much for chaos, one less need for duplicate cheap Chinese tools or choice words because the tools are not on the roof where, in a perfect world, they should have been left. Who needs tools if the dang things don’t break? Well, I suppose, there’s still the tractors… they are always broken, or rusted, or… well, never mind!


Alas, that’s not entirely true. There have been some repairs made to the wind generators and this update to the Rooftop Wind Farms article is designed to highlight the maintenance issues I’ve faced and then pave the way to subsequent articles on installing a fourth wind generator.

To recap from the Rooftop Wind Farm article, I have three roof mounted wind generators: two Southwest Windpower400 watt Air-X units and an 800 watt Mallard 800E along with some solar panels that supply my electrical power needs. I do have, and I highly recommend if you live off grid, a backup gasoline powered generator. In fact, I have two backup gas generators; one is a small 1,000 watt unit that I use most when the sun and wind abandon me for more than 4 days at a time.

It is a cute little fuel miser that will run my computers, both at once when I need to, plus fire up lights, a boom-box, low-power tools and assorted other things including the radio dish for my internet connection, wireless router and some other electronic doo-dads.

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