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I live in southern Queensland in Australia, west of Brisbane. I have no grid power, and very few resources (yet). I'm building a pole framed mud brick/rammed earth home. For lights, we are using 12V flourescent car trouble lamps, which we connect to our vehicle's battery every night. I've just got an old 4HP diesel engine operational. I intend to use this to run a 240V alternator (for small power tools), as well as a 12V alternator (to recharge batteries). Now that I have 240V power, I can go ahead and construct my wind powered generator (aka Hugh Piggott), as well as some solar cells (aka Creative Research and Science). Water for drinking is collected from a couple of roofs and stored in tanks. Water for washing, bathing is taken from dams. With our low rainfall, I'm looking for information on how to condense water. Several commercial systems exist but are way beyond my financial means.

To heat my water, I use a coil from an old kerosene refrigerator, with connections to an (ex-electric) mains hot water heater. The pipes to/from the coil to the hot water system must be a minimum of 3/4 " (1" is better) for the water to thermo-syphon. The 3/4" suggested is too small, and the coil will generate steam, which can be very dangerous and cause serious injuries. The bottom of the hot water storage tank must be at least 12" above the coil. The hot water pipe from the coil to the tank must have a constant slope (not up and down) or the thermo-syphon will not correctly operate leading to steam and high pressures being developed.

Offered by Rob.