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David C. Murray

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Everything posted by David C. Murray

  1. We're with you, chunchie2. We, too, have a grid-tied system. Aside from the environmental benefits, its real attraction is to reduce our billed usage to or below that 200kwh threshold per month and it has. Without making any lifestyle changes, last month's bill was under c17,000 but understand that, like you, we have neither A/C nor heat. An engineer I know who builds some homes here has a customer who has done some in-depth research. He's concluded that it's better to put your money on photovoltaic production versus water heating and to use you grid-tied PV system to power on-demand electric water heaters. Wish I'da thoughta that! It would have eliminated a bunch of plumbing and gotten rid of the storage tank in our bodega. Our solar water heating system cost about $2,300 to install and we've had a couple of repairs. At today's prices, $2,300 would buy about four 250 watt PV panels to add to an existing array. Another 1,000 watts of energy would supply all the hot water you need and, if you don't need it, your electricity bill would be lower still. Wish I'da thoughta that!
  2. A bank of storage batteries would be a similarly unattractive target. Devilishly heavy, who'd want them anyway? And how would thieves transport them? Going up on a roof to unbolt and disconnect a heavy, cumbersome and relatively low value panel so that you could then somehow get it off the roof in one piece, would be a daunting task. Thieves may not be the superstars of the intelligensia, but they're not utterly stupid. They're much more likely to go after your TV, computer, and other stuff that's high value, light, compact, not bolted down, and for which there is a likely demand. Of course, if you're just looking for something to obsess about, this or Fukishima(sp?) or Putin unleashing his nuclear arsenal will do equally well.
  3. Solar panels would hardly be a lucrative target for thieves. First, they're usually pretty inaccessible up on the roof, and they're bolted down. Second, they'd be unwieldy to handle and transport. And third, the "resale" market for them would be very limited. The stolen panels would have to be installed by someone who had a clue about what he was doing, and if grid-tied, ICE or another utility would have to be involved. Sure, it could happen, but I think there are lots of much more attractive targets for thieves.
  4. Savannahjo, my point was that if you have unlimited space, money, and solar exposure, you'll be able to do it all. Question is, are you prepared to make the investment up front? The guy who has installed and upgraded our system (twelve PV panels grid-tied) has done installations of at least thirty-two panels. That'll make a lot of electricity and probably enough, in most areas, to support air conditioning . . . if you've got the bucks up front. I'm not sure there's a practical limit to the number of panels you could install (except for that pesky cost issue).
  5. It is almost a certainty that you can produce enough electricity through photovoltaic panels to provide a home's electrical needs. The only question is whether there is enough exposed roof or surrounding real estate for the panel installation. The issue is whether you're prepared to make the necessary investment in PV panels and an array of batteries to store electricity for nighttime use. The cost of solar panels has come down considerably, but still an installation large enough to meet a home's entire consumption needs, including air conditioning in a coastal area, won't be cheap. Just what that cost might be will depend upon too many factors for anyone here to conjecture upon. You'll have to figure out what your demand will be, add in a "fudge" factor, and then go shopping. We have a "grid-tied" system which works very well for us to reduce our cash cost for electricity. If you're interested in some of those details, please let me know.
  6. Munoz y Nana, the huge ferreteria in San Pedro, has had wasp bombs in the past. In recent years, we've brought it, double bagged and taped closed, in our checked luggage, and Mike Rappaport has brought it in in a consolidated container shipment. The can we're using right now, Black Flag, doesn't have the range or the narrow stream of Spectracide. The latter is preferable, at least for attacking wasp nests.
  7. Wow! WOW! I had no idea about this part of the 9/11 aftermath. Thank you for pointing it out, Tingos.
  8. "Better head for those caves newman." Right enough, Jesse, American Samoa is a chip shot for whomever it is newman thinks has us all in their sights.
  9. I think you're thinking of Great Lakes smelt which are considered a delacy in Michigan.
  10. Nope. The NFL season kicked off last night with the Broncos prevailing over the Super Bowl Ravens on the strength of Peyton Manning's seven (yup, 7) touchdown passes. As for the 49ers, well, it's way too early to tell.
  11. Okay, newman, we've scrutinized these places. Do you mean just the city of Tunis but the entirety of Lybia, or what? And, by the way, I care deeply about the Davis Strait. What's step two. Are any of them on the way to American Samoa, or is that a separate dither?
  12. So, newman, just how long can your wife survive holding her breath?
  13. Uh huh, so your plan is for your wife to revert to a Neanderthal lifestyle except that everything she comes into contact with, including the dust in the air that she breathes, the water that she drinks, anything she eats, and anything she touches will be radioactively contaminated for thousands of years. Can she hold her breath that long? That is your plan??
  14. You realize, do you not, that the United States has the world's largest and most lethal arsenal of nuclear weapons and it is we, not anyone else, who have ever actually unleashed one (well, two actually). Putin may rattle his sword, but he's hardly about to initiate a nuclear conflagration that would annihilate him along with the rest of the world's living creatures over a matter as insignificant as Syria. The midwest can be pleasant this time of year, but if you think it's a survivable location in the event of a nuclear exchange among the superpowers, you are clearly deluding yourself. The most a midwesterner could hope for is a few days before the radiation and fallout turn him or her extra crispy. If ever there were a situation in which the saying, "You can run but you cannot hide." is applicable, this is it. So sit back and watch your worst fears not come to pass. And find something else to obsess about. Space invaders comes to mind.
  15. So, newman, what are YOU going to do about it, dither? And, by the way, On the Beach was a work of fiction about the aftermath of a global nuclear conflagration, not the leakage of coolant from a nuclear generating plant. There are differences between the two.
  16. So you'll be in attendance in Washington, eh, newman? Will that be on your way to American Samoa? Maybe you could work a layover there on 9/22/13 into your relocation. That'd be cheap. By the way, there is no such thing as a ". . . so called American EXPAT . . ." in Costa Rica or anywhere else. If you are an American citizen living outside the United States, you are, by definition, an expat (short for "expatriot"). It matters not what your political orientation, your religious beliefs, your background or anything else may be. Being a U.S. citizen living outside the U.S. makes you an expat. And you, sir, are no more an expat than any of the rest of us. If you want to cast aspersions on someone, you need to find an appropriate label. In the meantime, wrapping yourself in the American flag is bound to impress no one other than yourself.
  17. Okay, now I get it . . . In the "forum of world arbitration", the "doctrine of proper law choice" has some legal standing, but it is meaningless in the context of the Costa Rican Napoleonic legal system. Is that what you're saying?
  18. Dana, you wrote, "Which means that either way, you pay. " But that's not right. If you purchase health care insurance, you pay for the coverage (and the deductibles, copays, etc) and the policy pays for the rest. If you don't buy a policy, then you have no coverage and when you're ill or injured, the public pays through some combination of higher health care costs and taxes. So either you pay for your care or we all pay for your care. Of those two options, which seems more reasonable to you?
  19. Okay, Dana, so your friends and family in California are not happy that their health insurance premiums are going down? Just what would make them happy then? If they don't wish to be covered, they can opt out which would probably be cheaper than enrolling -- 'til they get sick, that is. As for the federal government not providing health care directly except to active duty military members, veterans via the Veterans' Administration health care system, on Native American reservations and in penal institutions, what that means is that the federal government does not provide health care directly except in those named circumstances. I think the wording and the concept are pretty clear, but if you like I'll write it again. Newman, please expound on the "doctrine of proper law choice" as it operates in the Costa Rican Napoleonic legal system. Tell us, please, how an understanding that you had eleven years ago (an understanding which maybe no one shares) takes precedence over a law passed by the Costa Rican National Assembly. Where in the Costa Rican Napoleonic Code does the "doctrine of proper law choice" exist?????????? Or is this something you merely assume to exist?????????? Or made up?????????
  20. Notice, please, that no one has tried to respond to the basic question posed by the originator of this thread -- "What will a system cost?" That's because no one can give a meaningful number without knowing much more about what will be required and what the local conditions are and that was my original point. I mean no criticism toward anyone. It's just that different locations and conditions call for different solutions at varying costs. To pose such a vague question reminds me of a similar question posed a couple of years ago ("What will a retaining wall cost?"). Without much more detail, any answer would be meaningless.
  21. Criollo, have you allowed for a gravel bed for the drain field and perforated pipe? And won't how much of both depend upon soil conditions?
  22. I think the cost will depend upon what, exactly, is planned. In years gone by, Costa Rican "Tico-style" homes have had "black water" systems that served only the toilets and grey water systems that served everything else -- sinks, showers, laundry, etc. It's actually a pretty good set-up. In the past (and maybe still today), the design of the black water system was simply to dig a pit, run the toilet drain pipe into it, and cover it with a concrete cap. The liquids dissipated downward and sideways through the soil. When the pit was full of solids, a new pit was dug and the drain rerouted. This "system" has not been legal for many years. An "upgrade" to the simple pit design has been to use two sections of precast concrete drain pipe (maybe three or more feet in diameter) stacked on top of each other to form a tank with the drain running into it. This approach, too, may or may not be legal. The question, of course, is "Who's checking?" A modern black water system includes a solid tank of block, fiberglass or plastic, or maybe the drain pipes referred to above with a gravel-filled drain field with perforated pipe to carry away and dissipate the liquids. You can see, therefore, that you have to define your terms. Just what sort of black water system will you be building? And what sort of grey water system? In the U.S., modern building codes require that there be an alternative drain field site on the property where a new system could be installed if the original one fails. It's good to keep that in mind. And then there's the matter of the grey water. Many Costa Rican homes simply drain their grey water into the ditch in front of their property or elsewhere. The environmental considerations associated with this practice are an open question. While it may seem distasteful, one must ask, "Where are all the dead bodies?" An alternative to using the ditch in front of the house is to build an underground grey water system. Depending on the space available, such a system could include a holding tank and drain field similar to a black water system or it might simply involve a gravel-filled drain field. The only meaningful answer to your question will have to come from whomever designs and builds your system(s). There are too many variables (location, design, size, soil type, material costs, etc) for anyone here to be of much help. You need to determine what is to be built and get bids.
  23. You're right, as usual, Mark, but just to be sure we should all continue to sleep high in the trees with the sloths and howler monkeys to avoid the heavier-than-air nerve agents that we could possibly (but not likely) be exposed to. It's probably more comfortable than Sr. newman sleeping on top of his car in his gas mask.
  24. So, newman, can one fashion one's own pam chloride injectors from locally available Pam non-stick cooking spray? If yes, what's involved? I'm with Dana on this one . . . When the inevitable (according to some) happens, my options will be to find a low spot and practice my deep breathing exercises or, if there's time, to turn and face the flash.
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