Sunday, May 27, 2018

Float Cabin Living: How do you get power? Propane

When we purchased our float cabin, it came with propane lines installed.

In the city, we were used to natural gas for heating and appliances, but propane in large tanks was new and a little scary.

Now that we are more comfortable with propane, we use it for the stove, a refrigerator, lights and other applications.

Wayne at the outdoor propane shed.

Getting propane up the lake is a lengthy process.

Our Hewescraft lake transport.
Empty tanks go for a boat ride down the lake. Because they are light, we can hand carry them up the dock to the truck. At City Motors or Vanderkemps they become heavy with compressed gas. Back in the truck, the process reverses. A dolly moves the heavy tanks back to the boat for their ride home.

We use 20 pound tanks for our BBQ. There's nothing like a grilled dinner on a cold winter night. The front porch gives Wayne a protected spot to work his dinner magic.  A 20 pounder costs $22 and lasts about three months. That's pretty economical.


We use 40 pound tanks for lights, refrigeration and cooking.  A 40 pounder costs $44 and lasts about a month. Again, that's an economical source of energy. We found an auto-switch Y-valve for continuous propane distribution.


It's tough in winter to generate enough solar power to run electric lights for more than a short time each night. Even on a sunny winter day we only get about two hours of direct light. Our winter alternative is propane light.


In our kitchen we have a Premier propane range. It has four burners and an oven with two racks and lots of room that makes baking easier than in my old oven. The pilot lights use minimal propane and make cooking easy.


We upgraded our old 8 cubic foot fridge to 13 cubic foot Unique propane refrigeratorNow we have all the refrigerator and freezer space we need.

How does a gas flame create cooling. The Gas-Fridge.com website says: "The basic principle is through evaporation. An ammonia mixture sealed inside the cooling unit is heated by a gas burner, which causes it to circulate before it evaporates and creates a cooling effect."

We also use Big Buddy portable propane heaters. One use is in our Hewescraft during winter to make our 30 minute boat rides more comfortable. It mounts safely in the front of the boat's cabin. It has auto-shutoff safety features and runs on either canisters or a 20-pound tank.

A second Big Buddy warms our winter outdoor porch shelter. With a little heat we can still eat outdoors on many nights.


Click below for more information about our various off-the-grid propane uses:
 
Using Propane for Power
Search for a Propane Refrigerator
Freestanding Propane Range 
Kitchen Kapers
Off the Grid Refrigerator Repairs
Propane Lights
Mr. Buddy Propane Heater

Propane makes off the grid living much easier. It's also an alternative in town for natural gas. Do you use propane? What do you think? -- Margy

34 comments:

  1. I am guilty of seldom commenting in my float through blog land, but I really do enjoy your blog. How much of your time is actually spent here? Are you full time dwellers?

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    1. Thanks for the comment Wendy. We live in our cabin about 75% of the year in all seasons. We also love to travel, so that's where we are the rest of the time. - Margy

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  2. Wow, your propane costs are quite reasonable. I would really like to get a propane stove, but the process of installing a tank (I'm not aware of one that has a portable tank, is that what your is?) is quite lengthy. We do have a propane grill, and I love grilling...makes food taste that much better!

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    1. Because we have to transport our propane up the lake by boat the tanks have to be portable. We like the 40 pound tanks. They last us about a month for fridge, stove and lights, yet Wayne can handle them using a dolly when full. The larger tanks are too hard for us to use. - Margy

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  3. Very interesting post and great info about your use of propane. My daughter heats her house with propane but with an auxiliary electric. MB

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    1. I love having a propane stove. Wish I could have one in town rather than the glass top electric model. It's so much easier to cook with gas. - Margy

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  4. I really am enjoying catching up on your blogs - I've been a little slow in getting back here, but enjoying every minute of it.

    I love seeing the interior of your floating house - makes the book come alive.

    We've had propane before - but only in a regular house where it was used for heating - my husband's family had a cabin in Northern Wisconsin long ago and they installed propane lights and refrigerator and loved the convenience.

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    1. One of the reason I started the blog was to augment Wayne's print books. It's so much easier to do colour pictures here. - Margy

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  5. Our property up north has propane and wind power for being off grid! The wind is really effective there because it's really windy, we'd never be able to do solely solar either!

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    1. We have a wind generator as well, but because it isn't windy at our cabin except during storms, it has limited value. If a storm is too strong, the generator even shuts down to protect the components. - Margy

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  6. I have heard that propane is a lot more economical if you don't have all solar. Have you heard of a corn converter? my husband was telling me about a devise that you basically dump corn in, but that may have just been for heat.
    Hope to see you again on teh Homestead Blog hop today. Pinned :-)

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    1. We have solar, wind, propane and a generator for backup. We use our electrical system mostly for lights, to charge devices and a TV monitor. Propane runs things that require more energy than or battery bank can support. Since we don't have any corn, a woodstove provides our heat. Thanks for stopping by. - Margy

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  7. Hi, Margy and Wayne. I'm just going to say "hi" because an hour of switching my phone to Dick's phone number because his phone is broken and he's about to leave on a business trip...well, if whatever doesn't kill you makes you strong, I should be an athlete instead of an exhausted old grandma-type-person after that whole ordeal. Dick is bringing home burgers so neither of us has to cook. As far as cell phones go, if I didn't use mine to store numbers for all my family and friends, I'd throw it in the river (after he gets his phone back and his number extracted from mine).
    Sorry 'bout the rant. You're my first Our World comment of the day. Lucky you.
    Kay
    An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

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    1. You sure have had your technology challenges this week. Glad you got back to being able to write you blog posts and make comments. - Margy

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  8. It sounds like quite an adjustment from 'normal' power sources but I guess you get used to it. Thanks for all the info about your house.

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    1. You learn to manage what you have and get by with less. Just wish it translated to when we go to town to cut down there. - Margy

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  9. About $50 for energy, wow. I can't remember when we paid that for gas & electricity. Early 1990s maybe. I remember my dad used propane to burn skin off goats he butchered.
    The View from the Top of the Ladder

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    1. We do get "free" solar energy, but the panels and battery banks cost quite a bit. Once you factor that into the equation it is probably close to what we pay in town for similar service. It just sounds cheaper. - Margy

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  10. What a beautiful piece of heaven! We're head to YVR to visit a new grandbaby soon!

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    1. That should be fun. Vancouver is a fun place, but so busy compared to Powell River. - Margy

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  11. P.S. We have propane here, but big tanks, and they refill them for us!

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    1. There is a propane delivery service for people who live in remote cabins on the ocean. Unfortunately, there's nothing like that here on the lake. - Margy

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  12. Anonymous7:58 PM

    Yes, what would people like us, who are not connected to natural gas, do without propane tanks!! Never tried solar, since wood is so available and accessible here.
    Can imagine it's harder to get the perspective right in a journal. When I learned about vantage points, I used a big paper size -it's easier to get it the way you want. The smaller the size of paper, the harder. Hope you can try it out (I realize you probably don't have much storage space in your living quarters).

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    1. Thanks for the tip on getting perspective right. I remember working on it in my 7th grade art class, but that was many, many years ago. - Margy

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  13. I guess it takes a lot of skill, knowledge and determination to lead your good life. It must be wonderful in the summer months but I don't think I could live with just 2 hours of winter daylight.

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    1. We have had a lot to learn moving from a city life to a rural life that's for sure. We only get two hours of direct sun, but it is light from about 8:00 am to 4:00 pm with light filtering over the trees and hills. - Margy

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  14. Wonderful pics and info.
    True that it's challenging to get solar power during winter.
    Did not know about Propane Power. Nice that you are using it effectively.

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    1. I have heard about propane generators, but it is easier to haul the small amount of gas that it takes to run our backup generator. That's the beauty of off-the-grid. You can pick and choose the best energy sources for a specific purpose. - Margy

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  15. Lovely photos ~ nice place ~ Yes, I use propane for whole house ~

    Happy Weekend to you,
    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

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    1. Wish we could get propane deliveries up the lake. If so, we could use it for more applications. - Margy

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  16. My only experience with propane is with my BBQ, although there are people in the remote parts of CO who power their houses and fridges with it.

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    1. Like you, before the cabin my only experience was the BBQ. Using it indoors was very scary at first, but now it has become a way of life. We use a detector to make sure there are no carbon monoxide leaks. - Margy

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  17. A totally different way of life... it must be challenging but also wonderful at the same time...

    Have a splendid, ♥-warming ABC-Wednes-day / -week
    ♫ M e l ☺ d y ♪ (ABC-W-team)
    http://melodymusic.nl/22-p

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    1. That about sums it up. But it isn't as difficult as it may sound. - Margy

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We welcome your comments and questions. - Wayne and Margy