So we’re definitely going to be moving, we just aren’t sure exactly when. As much as I’m freaking out over the idea of moving to the middle of buttfuck nowhere, with no friends or even acquaintances, severely reduced income…part of me wishes that we could move tomorrow. Let’s just say that I’m ready to get away from a town that depends on tourism, because tourists and weekenders can be obnoxiously loud.
We’ve been slowly stocking up on stuffs, which is OK even if it is a little bit of a combination of “doomsday preppers” and “hoarders”. However, we’re starting to think beyond just stocking up on toilet paper and fish oil supplements for the dog. Those stockpiles are really just to help us transition to a more off-grid life with less income, right? What about the other stuff, like solar power and water and shit?
Well, there will be well water for us to hook up to, and some sort of septic system (aerobic, leech-field, something), and there will be electricity supplied by the local utility that we hope not to use much before transitioning to solar for most of our electricity needs. So Sunshine, who doesn’t suck at the maths, has been researching solar. He’s been doing the maths and shit, and it’s looking like we’re gonna need a lot of solar panels and batteries based on our current electric bills. Ouch.
So my first thought was “how can we reduce the amount of electricity we need?”
There are the obvious, little things we can do. Don’t turn on lights if it isn’t DARK. Turn lights off when we leave a room (Sunshine is awful about this one). Switch the light bulbs to LED (yes, that is possible even in an RV that uses automotive bulbs for lighting). Don’t run the dishwasher unless it is completely full (yes, we have a dishwasher in the RV–long story). Don’t use the convection function on the oven when it is eleventybillion degrees outside so that it doesn’t heat the house up thus requiring the air conditioner to work overtime.
Then there’s the stuff that’s only slightly less obvious. When we move, we are discontinuing satellite teevee. That will save a lot of electricity because there won’t be a satellite receiver drawing power and there won’t be a teevee drawing much power. We do have the capability to use an HDMI cable and connect my laptop to the teevee and use the teevee and sound bar to watch videos online or even just use the teevee as a computer monitor for Sunshine to read things easier; but the teevee won’t be getting used anywhere NEAR as much as it is now so that’s a reduction in need.
There is the chest freezer that is frighteningly inefficient; while it sucks to spend money to replace something that functions, I can also say that it sucks ass to have to figure out what to do with the stuff IN the chest freezer while defrosting the polar ice caps that build up in that non-self-defrosting bitch, so I’m working on convincing him to replace the chest freezer.
The hot water heater is electric, which is a horrible waste. We could make the switch to an on-demand water heater and quit paying for electricity to keep a tank of water hot 24/7/365. We could also take slightly less hot showers, and use the little toggle switch to pause the water flow while soaping up/shampooing/etc.
We can’t go without air conditioning for many reasons: this is Texas, where 105+ degrees Fahrenheit is nothing out of the ordinary in the summer months; this is an RV, which is really just a giant car with the resulting greenhouse effect in direct (or even indirect) sunlight; my COPD and allergies basically REQUIRE conditioned air. But there are things we could do to better insulate the RV that would significantly reduce the need for the air-conditioners to run as much. Most houses have double-pane windows but RVs do not. While it isn’t attractive, there are products that we could cover the windows with to stop air movement and reduce the amount of blazing-hot sunlight gets through in the summer. We might even be able to remove the window unit from the living room window, which would be HUGE for electiricty reduction.
All of this would be so much easier if it were an actual tiny house. Spray foam, double-pane windows, etc etc. I’m not going to let the fact that it’s an RV stop me from figuring out, though. Especially since I have Sunshine on my team. Sunshine is good at the maths and the physics (which is really just applied maths), which is kinda funny since he’s also an artist but I digress. Sunshine’s skills with the maths and the physics make it possible for us to make our creative solutions work.