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Thnking About A Yurt

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Old 09-06-2016, 09:49 PM   #1
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Default Thnking about a yurt

My husband and I threw around the idea of buying some land and living in a yurt full time with our two kids.

Trying to think of costs, I have looked around at a few different yurt companies and have a few questions.

A) if you upgrade to a glass window that opens, does the lattice run infront of the glass window?

B) when you buy the yurt, I am assuming it needs to have everything put into it, ie kitchen cabinets lofts, partitioning walls etc. Does anybody have a breakdown of round about costs for this?

C) Considering ditching electricity/water, so what stove is used for

heating

that can also be used for cooking? Are there more efficient

heating

methods? propane scares me due to co poisoning. I have read about the compost toilets and am open to an outhouse but what is a good option for showering/washing cloths?

D) solar power, any good info on solar power? How to figure out how much you need etc? In reality with 2 kids we would need some sort of electric power to run a tv for a short amount of time or charging computers (I own a photography business) and of course lighting.

E) refrigeration. I am at a loss here. I would want to build a root cellar, but would need/want something for meat/dairy.

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Old 09-07-2016, 07:49 AM   #2
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Default Re: Thnking about a yurt

A: No

B: You do need to modify it whatever way you see fit. This will cost about the same as it would when you modify any structure and greatly depends on your area.

C: Unless you live in the arctic, cooking with a wood stove will not be very pleasant in the Spring/Summer. A propane stove is pretty safe, especially in a yurt as it is nowhere near airtight like many stick built houses are these days.

D: Solar is a big question and greatly depends on location and power consumption. From what you have said, in MY area (upstate NY), I would expect you would probably have to spend around $10,000 to get started on an off-grid solution, and likely more. You will probably also want some sort of propane backup.

E: You can run either on propane or electric. A root cellar will never take the place of refrigeration. There are some good high efficiency refrigerators out there, but they are pricey. Think $2,500 and up for one that will fit your situation.
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Old 09-07-2016, 12:54 PM   #3
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Default Re: Thnking about a yurt

B) How big or how fancy do you want your setup to be? You can make rough 'kitchen counters' out of 2x4s & plywood for pretty cheap. 2x4/plywood homemade loft. A curtain for a wall. If things are kept small/tiny & well-designed for efficiency, the cost for a fancy setup can be much less than the cost for a cheap setup in a regular home.

C) Hot water is difficult when on a solar electric system and not using propane. It takes ~40 minutes to heat up water on a stove for a ~7 gal shower and uses 1+ kwh of electricity. Also, you will need to run a pump or have a good 20+ ft elevation drop to get water pressure. Laundry soap/detergent doesn't work at cold water temps (ask me how I know). With an outhouse, imagine needing to pee in the middle of the night during winter--ease of access is important.

D) A basic estimation would be to look at your monthly electric bill to find the kwh used, then do a search for a "photovoltaic system cost estimator"--put in your area and kilowatt*hours needed. The estimated cost is likely to be on the higher side, but still rough ballpark. Also consider a solar water heating setup.

E) I disagree somewhat with Jafo on a root cellar. Don't expect as good/long keeping as a standard fridge unless you really work out the fine details (which fruit/vegetable needs humid vs semi-humid vs dry; 35 F vs 40 F vs 45 F; light or complete darkness?). A chest freezer adapted to fridge temp by changing out the thermostat can be pretty efficient, especially if you kept it in a cool spot--would still require an invertor if on solar power though.

F) Don't forget either a septic system or a greywater system!

All in all, anything is possible. It all depends on how much work or how much money you want to put in--and what your living standards are. You're asking the right questions during your idea phase to figure out the rough costs.
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Old 09-08-2016, 04:37 PM   #4
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Default Re: Thnking about a yurt

We are doing something similar-- going off-grid. We're digging a well to meet water needs and plan to have an outdoor shower and a bicycle-powered washing machine. For washing hands and dishes, we will build a pila-style sink (that is a Central American way of having a sink, with two large reservoirs of clean water and a pail to scoop the water out with. It works well and does not involve any plumbing).

My husband is building us a very minimal off-grid solar system for about $3,000-- that is only running lights, a fan, a small chest freezer, and charging of laptops and phones. For refrigeration, we plan to get an old dead chest freezer to use as a refrigerator. We will keep it cold with frozen 1-gallon jugs that are frozen in the small chest freezer. You have to swap out the jugs once a day or so, but it works.

Oh, and on needing to pee in the middle of the night? That's what mason jars are for
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