Journal: Slipping and sliding, trying to keep going!

Well for the most part, now that it is nearing a month, I’ve been keeping up with my goals. I am really struggling with candles only and it is very hard to do it in a house where most of it is lit and where I am it is not. This is because I still live at home at the moment and it is hard to have consistency and my mind automatically turns on and off lights because the remainder of the house is. Most of the time I live in candle light in my own room, but I do forget a lot of times and simply turn on lights because it is so dark here. However, I find I have no problem when it is just me at home and I can have consistency throughout the house, then I am not bothered by the lack of electricity.

Having no TV, no problem. I have forgotten about my PS3. I thought I’d care, but I haven’t turned it on at all this month. No games. This however will change when Bioshock Infinite comes out in a few days, but I will finish that game within a week and then it will be back to no TV, no PS3. Which is fair I think.

Boycotting tuna and other things and spreading the word is no prob and I enjoy it.

Lunch bag and using no plastics such as cling wrap or zip-lock bags, also no prob.

Not buying clothes? No prob.

Buying no fast food, no prob as well.

Gardening? Well we randomly just go snow yesterday so the ground re-froze and seeding will have to wait.

Finding a new source of energy…:candle

So it seems I’m slipping on using lights. My goal is to think of a way to replace the use of the grid to power my parents house that is cost effective and easy to do so that it inspires them to make the change. I think that I am going to see if I can build my own wind mill (a series of small ones?) or find affordable, small solar panels to power heating our water to be low impact in other ways.

A homemade Solar Water Heater:

On Mother Earth News I read an article about a man name Bill who created a solar panel unit to heat his water for $160, which is AMAZING since the commercial units can cost over $2000! I am inspired to possible do this or maybe create a series of small windmills as alternatives to using grid power. In the article, Bill explains his adventure and the way in which he constructed his solar unit for his outdoor shower to keep the family clean as they built their house.

“It took a lot of time and sifting, but I finally devised a simple and inexpensive homemade solar water heater that I knew “us regular folks” would be able to build. In fact, my design involves only three steps:

First, build a glass-covered wood “hot box” to catch the sun’s heat.

Second, install a manifold of copper water pipes inside this collector box so the gathered warmth will heat water.

Third, hook the outlets from the manifold to a storage tank (this container should be set above the heat collector) so the thermosiphon principle will move water from the collector to the tank. (That fancy-sounding phrase, “thermosiphon principle,” simply means that, since hot water rises and cold water sinks, liquid heated in the closed loop system will move up toward our elevated storage container, while cooler water will circulate downhill toward the collector to soak up more sun.)

Read more:

Below is his bill of materials, which you can see how inexpensive it was to create this beast! Imagine how much one would save if they spent $160 to heat their water. 1 payment of $160 and your water heating is paid for life!

“Bill of Materials


(2) 2" x 6" x 12'              $6.30
(2) 2" x 2" x 8'                1.50
(1) 2" x 4" x 10'               2.31
(1) 1/8" x 4' x 8' pegboard     6.98
(2) 1" x 4' x 8' styrofoam      8.50


(1 ) 36" x 90" 12-gauge sheet  45.00
(3) 3/4" x 20' pipe~ type M    52.20
(11) 3/4" T's                   6.50
(5) 3/4" L's                    1.50
(3) 3/4" male adapters          1.32
(2) rolls 50-50 solder         13.02
(1) can solder flux             1.15


(6) l5" x 34" awning windows    9.00
(1) relief valve                4.50
(2) metal insert adapters       1.50
Total Cost                   $161.31

EDITOR’S NOTE: While we congratulate Bill for his clever design, and acknowledge that Mr. Weber’s homemade water heater is perfectly suited to his family’s needs, we should also add that his device won’t be appropriate for everyone because there’s no feature in Bill’s collector to keep the water in his pipes from freezing! Since such a mishap would obviously damage the unit, any folks who want to copy William’s ideas, yet live in colder climates than the Floridian enjoys, should include some method of preserving their pipes

Read more:

So I encourage you to take a moment to read the article and be inspired to scrounge up materials to perhaps try and construct this beauty!


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4 thoughts on “Journal: Slipping and sliding, trying to keep going!

  1. I thought about your efforts to reduce your environmental while doing the laundry this weekend! I know that sounds weird but it is because my wife and I have not purchased laundry detergent in years – and yes, we do wash our clothes! We just make our own detergent. You may already do this… but if not, let me know and I will send you instructions and an ingredients list.
    Also, here is a link to a website where you can find great suggestions on how to make your own … lots of stuff!

    Best of luck!

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