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Getting on the Grid

September 6, 2012 |

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We are DIYing our moms a Duplex in Alaska! Check out our progress so far as we owner build a home, step by step. Read the Momplex blog here.

posted by Ana White

Boy oh boy did you ever make my day!!!!

Thank you so much for all the support and lovely comments on my book! I so hope you love it as much as I do! I know you will!

A special thanks to those of you who have preordered. Not only do you get a great discounted price, but the more preorders we get, the lower the preorder price is for everyone! AND Amazon guarantees the lowest price on preorders, so if the price drops between your preorder date and shipment - you get the lowest price! Preordering is also great for authors too, because you are telling the reseller, Hey, this is a great book! Make sure you put it on your shelves too!!!! And that's ultimately where I want to be with a book - in the hands of someone just like me and you, who doesn't have access to the blog. So a huge huge huge thank you to you!

---

Back home in Alaska, we've been getting our hands dirty at the Momplex. Today, we are going to get the Momplex on the grid!

TRUE STORY - My mom has lived 30 years without electricity! And I'm not about to let her spend the next 30 years struggling with a generator and no lights when it's forty-some below in January in Alaska, with three hours of daylight. I'm not about to let her spend just ONE more year off the grid!

Getting on the Grid

And although we have much to do inside the Momplex to get Mom moved in, we've got a very short MUST DO list for the Momplex before snow falls on the exterior.

- Garage doors installed (on order already!)
- Upstairs ceiling electrical boxes installed and wire run
- Upstairs ceiling drywalled
- Upstairs ceiling insulated
- Utilities brought into Momplex

Now this is a list I love looking at! It's not like last winter where we are struggling against impossible odds to get a roof on.

But with the weather still nice, we want to put the utilities in. It will be so nice to have electricity to work with (we've been using a generator) and the well hooked up to the Momplex, and the fuel tank in place for when the boiler goes in.

Up here in Alaska, we don't have city sewer or water. We have to get the electricity from the pole to inside and everyone has their own heating fuel tanks.

Getting on the Grid

We've decided to bury as much as possible. You see, even up here in Alaska, the cold weather only goes about 4 feet deep. If you bury something below 4 feet deep, the ground will stay above freezing.

Getting on the Grid

For my family, it's like a giant sandbox. Only Dad is all grown up and operating the real deal, and the piles of sand are much bigger. We dig a really big hole in the ground.

Getting on the Grid

Right next to the well.

Having a backhoe on rental does not alleviate the need for a shovel.

Getting on the Grid

Despite being at least four feet down, we don't want to be digging the well line up ever again. So we buy insulated pipe - it's just a 4" black pipe with spray foam around it - and we tie it into the Momplex.

Getting on the Grid

Then it's run over to the well.

Getting on the Grid

It will connect to the well a good 9 feet or so below the top of the well.

Getting on the Grid

Inside, when we poured the downstairs slab, we put wood spacers in the slab where the well would tie in. It's quite the chore getting the spacers out of the concrete.

Getting on the Grid

And that's where the well will tie into the Momplex inside.

Getting on the Grid

The well line is wrapped in heat trace - just a wire that you can plug in and it will heat up, removing any frozen areas should the line ever freeze up.

Getting on the Grid

The well line is threaded through the insulated pipe.

Getting on the Grid

And brought out the other side.

Getting on the Grid

Then it's hooked up to the well itself.

Getting on the Grid

And more heat trace is added at the joint. We also insulate over this joint as well.

The well line is carefully buried.

With the well hooked up, it's time to move over to the other side and put the electrical in.

Getting on the Grid

Today, we are just running a pipe from the electrical pole over to the Momplex. We'll later go back and run the electrical wires through the pipe - just like what we did with the well.

And the we are ready to bury the electrical line!

And then we buried the fuel tank.

Then everything is backfilled.

Despite a really long busy couple of days, the Momplex looks pretty much the same.

But our list is getting really short, and I'm getting really excited about finishing out the inside of the Momplex!!!! Are you ready?

How are utilities done where you live? Do you have your own well? Does your electrical company bring power right to your house? It's always interesting to see how things are done in different locations!

We should be doing this soon!

We do have our own well - it is already trenched over to the house but we haven't turned on the water yet. Since it is an old well, we need to see if it is adequate for our needs or if we need to dig a new one. As for the electricity, it will come by power lines 3/4 of the way down the driveway and then we will trench the remaining way to the house so we don't have overhead lines over the driveway. We will hire the trenching company to save ourselves some money. As for heating, we are contemplating geothermal at this point but will need to make the decision soon.

posted by ChantelleJ (not verified) | on Thu, 2012-09-06 13:47

So exciting!!!

Woot woot! I'm sure you are so excited to be drawing all of the exterior projects to a close. I'd say we live in the country, but it's no comparison to you because we have neighbors, ha! Electricity is brought to us, however we do have well water. I can't believe your Mom is still living without electricity. She's a pioneer woman, God bless her and raising such a large family, too. She is going to be so thankful (I'm sure she already is) and this Momplex will be her castle. It warms my heart that you are doing this for your Moms. Such love.


posted by spiceylg | on Thu, 2012-09-06 14:18
clips

Hooray!!

So exciting your power is going in! I talk about you and the Momplex and this site all the time, and just today we were talking about the electricity for the Momplex -- and it's going in! heehee! So happy for you! Our electricity comes right to us from the power company. We have city water but we have a septic system & drain fields. Well water tastes so much better though! Does your electricity go out during the snow a lot? It's not real stormy where we live, but the power seems to go out every time there is one. It's so great what you are doing for your Moms. What a wonderful family you are! PS - I have pre-ordered my copy of your book. Can't wait till it comes in - I'm sure it'll be with me out in the garage, covered in sawdust, the first day! Hugs to you and your family!

posted by JoanneS | on Thu, 2012-09-06 19:13

That's awesome!

How exciting!! I sure do love reading all these updates! :-)

My husband is a hydro power plant operator at a remote dam in Montana, so we live on site across the river from the power house. We actually have to walk across a 60ish ft. bridge from the road/our garage to cross the river and get to our house. We do have a well in our yard but not a septic tank. Our waste is piped down across the bridge and into something call a bio-pier where it's processed in a separate part of our garage building and sent to a drain field near the plant. It's special. All of our heating is electric and the houses used to be supplied by the power generated by the plant, but not anymore. It's always funny when a thunderstorm rolls through and knocks the power out to our house when I could literally throw a stone across the river at a perfectly functioning hydroelectric power plant. :-)

The houses for the operators have been around for 100+ years (though thankfully updated and added onto regularly) so it's like living in a piece of history....and how many people's kids can say they live AT a power plant, on a river, in a canyon in Montana?!? Mine can!

Thanks for keeping us posted!

Hugs,

Danielle
organizationalhysteria.com

posted by Danielle Z. (not verified) | on Thu, 2012-09-06 21:10

that makes my city living look easy

I'm on city sewer and water, Natural Gas for heat and the electric company works on the line up to my house (which we relocated this spring for our kitchen remodel project). Reading your post makes me feel lazy!

posted by Carrie Witty (not verified) | on Thu, 2012-09-06 21:36

makes living here seem down right easy!

I'm a Delaware girl myself and live in a development outside of the city limits. We had to dig our own well and put in a septic system but the developer had run electricity to all the lots already so all we had to do was hook up.

Glad things are coming along. Can't wait to see the finished product!

posted by loudsilence99 | on Fri, 2012-09-07 10:12

I am down here in south

I am down here in south Louisiana. We are living in and building our own home. Have been here 7 years now. Wasn't supposed to be this long, but you know how things go. About half way done. Anyway, we are all electric here. We are about 10 miles either way between 2 little towns, and have the electricity down our road, run to the house by poles, then underground to the house. We had well water up to about 5 months ago, when they ran "city" water down our road. The water quality down here is really not all that good, very irony and HARD and there are pockets of cancer's, which some attribute it to nasties in our ground water. So it is the state's goal to have EVERYONE on some kind of treated water, eventually. All the little towns here have a water treatment center that you can go to and buy water by the gallon for drinking. But it is a hassle. So, when city water came down the road, we took it. Rented a ditcher and ran the water lines from the street to the house ourselves. We also really don't have a frost line here, so the line is really only about 2 feet down, and we really didn't have to bury it that deep, but we did. I am originally from Ohio, and water lines have to be 4 feet deep there, below the frost line. We also have a conventional hot water tank, for now. When this one goes, I really want to try one of the tankless heaters too, esp now that we have city water. LOVE keeping up with your progress Ana. It all looks so great!!

posted by BonnieB (not verified) | on Fri, 2012-09-07 10:57

I agree with you

Hey are using Wordpress for your site platform? I'm new to the blog world but I'm trying to get started and set up my own. Do you require any html coding expertise to make your own blog? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

posted by Bernard Vonholt (not verified) | on Fri, 2012-11-09 03:36

Bedroom furniture

Find quality Pennsylvania House bedroom furniture at www.UniversalFurniture.com then {finding|selecting} a few mismatched pieces can be an {economical|inexpensive} way of {purchasing|buying} quality bedroom furniture.

posted by Gerald Schlesinger (not verified) | on Fri, 2012-11-09 15:17
clips
Ana White's picture

Well, I must admit, our on

Well, I must admit, our on site utilties are quite boring to you alls! Danielle, that sounds so interesting, to live on site with a hydro power plant!

Joanne, our electricity is pretty stable - although this week we've had a nasty storm that took out our DSL and much of the neighborhoods electrical. Seems once we are on the grid, things are pretty normal!

I grew up off the grid without electricity, and it is a tough, tough life, especially with our long, cold, dark winters, so I'm really looking forward to my mom being able to do things like turn lights on, watch a movie, make coffee or use a microwave without having to struggle with a generator.

Thanks for sharing - so interesting to see how people live around the world! Loved reading your comments!

posted by Ana White | on Fri, 2012-09-07 11:14

On the Grid

You guys are amazing! I am astonished every time I read a new post. I can't even imagine living without electricity. Your mom must be a saint.

I can't wait for the next post.

posted by Colleen M (not verified) | on Fri, 2012-09-07 23:03

Grids

We are currently living in a city of 100k+ so all the utilities run in the street and into the house. As a civil engineer, I've reviewed plans for all sorts of development arrangements. We also volunteer at a ranch in Ensenada Mexico that is off grid, so power coes via generators, tho they are adding solar to help, though that doesn't work as well without the sun. We're hoping to move and build our own place sometime in the future, so doing lots of looking at alt building methods and such.

A littleoff topic and late, but did you consider "eyebrows" at the side door similar to the doors in front by the garage? They add such nice articulation to the front of the house, and would seem to help break up the box as well as provide a bit of protection for the side doors. Maybe too late at this point, and definitely not a priority before winter.

posted by Dagger108 (not verified) | on Sat, 2012-09-08 11:43
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Ana White's picture

Hi! I agree with you, the

Hi! I agree with you, the side doors having roofs would be great - but when we added those side windows (the 2x4s in the living room) we ran tight on room and because these are low use doors we decided not too. Instead, we are going to plant some birch trees on the sides to break things up and soften it, putting the focus on the garage door side.

BUT - I agree - we could always go back later and add them it if we find the Mom's use the side doors more than we anticipate. Good call!

posted by Ana White | on Sat, 2012-09-08 12:27

Getting grid

This is a very useful post!I've just started my house construction and I need some advice as I don't have experience in this field.I've already bought all the necessary tools and a Champion generator as my house is in a remote area were I don't have electric power.

posted by crazydonkey | on Wed, 2012-12-26 02:34

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