Monday, May 30, 2005

Alternative Energy, Build a Dehydrator

One of our goals for the new homestead is to be energy independent in the next 5 years or so. To comply with the laws we had to have "store bought" power hooked up. This will work out alright becouse putting together alternitive energy systems that work require a bit of cash, cash we don't have much of these days. We have a little experience with rigging up stuff from our Alaska days and the cabin we had back home growing up. Anyone who is interested in doing this sort of thing on a budget might like this article Paring down for off-grid living. It covers how to reduce demand for power, so that our "poor man's" alternative energy systems will work. Being on top of this windy hill has us looking into Wind Power. Windmills have come a long way in the last few years.

Heres some plans for a large-capacity food dehydrator you can build at home.
We like to dry bell peppers to use in cooking. If you dry them and keep them in jars instead of freezing them, everything in the freezer won't tast like peppers. You can do them in the stove, but this thing here could be good for bigger jobs.


At 6/01/2005 3:06 PM, Blogger Jeff said...

Ironically, that particular food dehydrator requires electricity, which is antithetical to the previous article. Backwoods Home had a better article (I could not find it online) on building a non electric model. The dehydrator box was elevated off of the ground. What looks like a ramp goes from the ground up to the bottom of the dehydrator. This ramp is an enclosed solar collector consisting of 4 sides with a translucent or clear top. A thermosiphon effect is created with the cool air entering in at the bottom of the solar "ramp" , which is then heated, causing it to flow into the dehydrator and then out the the top of the dehydrator.

Jeff Schmidt

At 6/01/2005 4:20 PM, Blogger reformed farmer said...

Hey Jeff,

Shame on me, letting an electric dehydrater in my "use less power post". The one you describe sounds good. We had smoke houses for our salmon in Alaska that looked a lot like a dehydrator. Of course they had heat from the fire in the bottom.


At 6/02/2005 3:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have two 10-tray electric dehydrators that I've used a lot. My concern with a solar dehydrator is that it might get too hot or not hot enough, depending on the weather. Electric heat allows for more control. Another idea that I have wondered about is using heat (not fumes, though) from a kerosene lamp to filter up through a drying chamber. Seems like that would offer some control and dependability. Has anyone seen plans for such a thing?

Herrick Kimball
Moravia, NY


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