Wednesday, May 21, 2014


I have finally completed the PV/Battery Backup system. It's been in progress for sometime, but I wanted to wait until it was finished to mention it.

The two panels on the left are Suniva 250 watt each. I used Ironridge rails for mounting.

The panels are charging two 246 amp hour GS batteries. Huge batteries!

The charge controller is the 24v Xantrex C60. No bells and whistles but cost effective and reliable, so far.

I have a 300W Samlex inverter, which is mounted above ceiling in the attic.

When I pulled all of the sheetrock down in the dining room I dedicated one duplex outlet to the solar system. So instead of it being wired back to the breaker box like the others, I took it's wiring above ceiling into the garage and wired a plug to the end. It plugs into the inverter.

If there is a power failure, I can plug into the solar outlet inside the house.

On the right is the breaker box by Midnite solar which houses the guts of the system. In a future post I will go over all of the components in the box.

As of yet I haven't really put the system through it's paces. Just some small loads like charging cell phones and laptops. There is a motion activated floodlight on the back deck that is now wired into this system as well. The flood load is also small with two led bulbs and only a 5 minute time setting when it detects motion.
DC Breaker Box
Battery box w/ GS Batteries
On sunny days, now during late spring, the charger is topping up the batteries by noon usually. At some point I am planning on wiring in the lighting in the dining room onto this system which are 8 dimmable led's that run just a few hours per day, normally dimmed at night. It will be nice to have this lighting available in case of grid power going down.

Electrical enclosure with Xantrex charge controller in the picture above. On the right the battery box with the (2) GS246 wired in parallel for 24v.


You might ask why we go to all the trouble to add so many energy efficient products to the house. Well, when you are beholden to Georgia Power for your electrical service you've got to cut costs wherever you can because they certainly won't.

With the Nuclear Construction Cost Recovery fee that the Public Service Commision allowed we are pre-paying for Southern Company's new nuclear plants at Vogtle.

So our bills are up 6.5%, there are already cost overruns with the construction and we will certainly shoulder any additional costs in the future. The fee percentage goes up each year, so our bills will be higher again next year.

I thought more supply meant lower prices...

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

French Door

The door really gives the room a more spacious feel, which I wasn't really expecting. It swings out so it suppose to resist wind and being kicked in. Actually the more exterior pressure exerted the tighter it seals. Aesthetically it's really cool. Lots of light and the open quality of the room increased exponentially. It fits.

Integrity Wood Ultrex Outswing French Door by  Marvin, outswing double patio door, $2220, delivered.

Low E 272 w/Argon
SHGC .24
U Value - .30
VT - .40

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Bye bye window!

Today our door from Marvin arrived. It will be an outswing french door that will replace the two double hung windows that are there now.

Before the deck was built this window was about six feet up. There was a small amount of demolition to do with the brick beneath the window.

An entry door will be an improvement from having to walk into the garage to access the deck. It will also be a thermal improvement over the two heinous single pane windows that leak air terribly and won't open and close anymore because someone painted them shut. Lovely!

Hole in the wall
I can always count on finding an example of shoddy workmanship every time I remove something and this time was no exception. When the hvac register was installed they cut all the way through the exterior gyp board as you can see on the left. They also hacked up the rim joist and sill.

So for the last 30 yrs hot and cold air has basically been venting to the exterior. Not that the gyp board provides much R value, but it's at least an air barrier. This probably means the registers on the other side of the room could be the same way. I demo'd this register and it's duct back to the y fitting and capped it off.

Cutting the brick turned out to be easier than I expected. I bought a 6" masonry cutting disc and installed it on my angle grinder. It made a lot of dust but wasn't real hard to grind thru the bricks at all. No water necessary. It only took about an hour to demo the entire section.