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Tiny Home Winter Prep: Power Source Tips

If this is your first autumn living off-grid, you’re likely already getting set for your first winter as well. One of the most important aspects of winter prep is making sure your tiny home’s sources of power are ready to face the elements. Read the second part of our “Winter Ready” series below to learn how you can be prepared.

Identify your sources of ghost power beforehand

“Ghost” or “Vampire” power refers to any items that draw energy, even when turned off. These include things like computers, televisions, microwaves and more. Leaving passive drain items plugged in during peak sun periods and ideal conditions may be fine, but during the winter when the days are shorter and sunlight can be fleeting, it’s important to unplug all but the essentials when not in use. If you don’t, you risk facing cold showers or worse.

Do a general assessment of your power sources

Checking your solar panels, pumps, and batteries in the fall before inclimate weather hits are your first line of defence against damage and inconvenience. Inspecting for signs of wear and tear, weakened connection points, any other indication that may warrant repair or replacement is an integral part of winter prep. For batteries, in particular, the following care should be taken:

Top them off

Topping off your batteries with mineral water (not tap water) will keep them in top shape.

If replacing, remember that it’s best to replace all batteries at the same time

To ensure an even charge, changing your batteries at the same time is the best practice, especially if you live in a region prone to drastic seasonal changes. Heat and cold temperatures wear down batteries over time, meaning that it’s important to check your charge output between seasons.

Insulate your batteries against the cold

As we said, cold impacts battery life, potentially draining them quickly. When plugged in, there is a small amount of warmth automatically generated, but the preferred ambient temperature for batteries is approximately 22°. After about 15°, the charge will begin to be affected. To offset this during the winter, take any batteries that are normally surrounded by concrete and place them on wood base, which will better insulate and provide heat to maintain an optimal temperature.

*Note do not insulate the top of the battery. This may become a hazard!

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