Purchased 46.5 Acres Near Kingman, AZ | Page 8 | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Purchased 46.5 Acres Near Kingman, AZ

I had a talk with the contractor about the well and other things. He said to let him handle it, since that is his job. He called one of his former students (he was a history teacher at the local high school and steered a lot of his students into the trades) who works as the new service engineer at the power company. The easiest and most cost-effective way to get that well as a working well for now and when the house is built is to have two meter/power boxes, one for the well, one for the house. Says if they are on the same property they only charge for one meter, like it would be for a ranch or farm. Since the electrical pole is less than 30' from the well, I won't need to run power wires from the well to the house, which will be at least 1,000' up the hill, and it might be as far as 1,200'. The engineer who works for the power company told the contractor that burying a service wire for that long of a run up to the house will cause a significant loss in amps. He is going to work on it, but he thinks I will have to run power poles up to within a few hundred feet of the house, especially if I am going to have a shop with a lift. They can't bury their lines unless the transformer is on the pole prior to the buried lines. If they run poles close to the house, the transformer is at the end pole. The transformer for the well I might have to purchase, but should get reimbursed when power gets connected to the house. I didn't want to have the poles and lines in my main view, but it looks like that might be something I will have to get over.

Contractor also said to send him my quote from the well service guy because he uses the same guy and wants to see how much of a discount he is getting. Both the owners of the well service company are also his former students. Not sure how not having an on/off switch wiring going to the pump works if there is a holding tank up at the house, but the contractor says it's all doable and should save me several thousand in just wiring alone. The pump is a demand pump so it will shut itself off when it feels the pressure back up is what he is saying.

Contractor also talked me out of putting solar power at the house. He says I am thinking like a Californian with those massive electrical bills. He says solar is very rare if there are utilities available to the house/property because the electric rates are very low there. He has a 2300 square foot house down in the city, with a pool with an electric pump and heater. Granted, he doesn't use the pool heater very much, but does heat the spa year-round. He says his electric bill is usually around $80-100 a month, and in the summer when he runs the A/C for about two months straight in the summer his bill is $150-200 a month. No way a $40,000 solar system will pay for itself with those kinds of rates. Only other reason to have solar is if there is an issue where the power grid goes down for any length of time. Contractor says it rarely happens, the neighbors to the property said it happened once for a few hours the entire 14 years they have lived there. If there is a major meltdown in infrastructure that causes loss of power, it would be nice to sit up there with the power on and watch the world go down the toilet, but I can do that with a generator at a fraction of the cost of solar. Only solar power might be for the electric gate, since I don't think I will be burying wiring from the house down to it if I'm not already running conduit through there.

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Sounds like things are starting to come together for you out there. I agree with your contractor about the solar. If rates are that low, then just spend some money on a good house generator (Costco has some really good ones btw) and sit back with some popcorn and enjoy. You’ll have your choice of fuel options with most big generators; diesel, gas, LP.

You also won’t have to worry about potential leaks from the solar install if mounted on your roof. There’s a lot of that happening around here in TX now from solar installs on wood-frame/shingle roofs. The wood is rotting from poor install practices.

Btw, our electric rates here in San Antonio rarely get above $200/month during peak summer on a not-so-efficient 1800 sf house built in 1981. If you’re less than that, that’s great!

At the San Diego house, In the winter our power bill is up around $500-600 a month, because California. No other reason that I can figure out. If you do the math solar doesn't work out for the Kingman property. Max monthly bill of $200 = $2400 a year. Good solar system installed is about $40,000. That works out to over 16 years for it to pay for itself. Nope.

If I get a house generator and a couple of large water storage tanks, I will still be way under the cost of solar and running all that wire from the house to the well head. The dirt guy says he has a hook up for 2500 gallon water storage tanks. He has five of them at his place but he is also a little bit of a prepper. I can get another small portable generator to take down to the well if there is any long-term grid failure, or drive the RV down there and plug the well into the on-board generator for a couple of hours to fill the tanks once a week.

A lot of our neighbors have solar, but IMO unless it's providing 100% of our energy needs it's just not worth it. At the most I'm paying $100 a month more than the neighbors with solar. The past few months when we barely used heat or A/C we pay the same which is right at $100 a month.

Our electric company was sued and forced to adjust their rates. Early last year I received a check for nearly $2000 for over payment which was a really nice surprise. Ever since, the rates have been back to "normal".

$40,000 is a lot of money. I've looked into getting solar as well. SRP would benefit from it more than me. The flat rate grid maintenance fee would be 50% more than my current electric bill is each month.

Power in California is crazy.. PGE starts at $0.25/KWH, quickly jacks up to $0.32/KWH, plus an $0.08/KWH surcharge here in the SFBay area. Problem is, this house doesn't have any A/C or forced air, so any idea of solar is a non-starter (takes way to long for payback)

Are you still going with a metal building (Barndominium)? (Sorry, I'm being too lazy right now to go back and look...)
It might be worth investing in a "few" water storage tanks for rainfall collection off the roof. My parents are doing that now off the roof of my Dad's hangar in Utopia, TX. He is planning for 15,000 gals of storage and will have a system setup similar to this (see pics below, this is someone else's setup)...



That last pic shows the debris collection tank. It is supposed to be 12" PVC with a 4" cleanout at the bottom and a 4" "T" at the top going to the overflow and then the tanks. The idea is that the 12" PVC fills up first allowing the debris to fall out of the water stream. Opening the cleanout at the bottom allows for debris removal.

If you're going with stick framing on the house and regular shingles, you could still do a similar system, just might have to clean it out more often.

Going with traditional stick built now due to high steel costs.

Well produces 23 GPM, no need to collect rainwater. Besides, it doesn't rain there enough to try and collect runoff.

What's the difference in cost between steel vs termite bait?

Right now structural steel is about twice what it cost for a traditional stick-built house. Then, if you have steel framed walls, you need to frame them in for insulation, wiring, window and door headers, drywall, etc., almost the same as you would if you just framed the walls with wood. It's a difference in this building of about $300,000. I got an estimate for just the building shell out of steel with no windows or doors, and it was $340,000. Contractor says he can build the entire thing for a little more than that out of wood.

Been camping here for a week. Beautiful, a little cold at night for dry camping (low 30's), but beautiful. Getting stuff done. Think we have the power to the property issues worked out. There is a property easement on the south side where the utility poles end at the one house down there. If we come off that last pole and up the easement, the poles won't be in the middle of the main view, and the mountain behind them should make them less noticeable. Turns out the guy who sets up new lines for the power company is a former student of my contractor, so I think I will be set. Dirt work should be done soon. Then I can decide exactly where I want the house to sit. Meeting with the designer Tuesday evening. Need to sit down with him and see if he's up to being a little creative, or if I have to find someone else.

The view here is just outstanding. This time of year the sun drops behind the Cerbat range about 4:30. The shadow slowly works over the foothills and through the valley, then up the Music Mountains. Takes about 2 hours to get there. Different view every few minutes. There was no moon last night, but the nights before it would come over the Music Mountains about 8, and light up the entire valley. When the sun comes over the foothills in the morning, it hits my property first.

The pictures you've posted are astonishing. It's amazing how beautiful a desert landscape can be!

Gotta love Arizona. Today is a cloudless 60* day. Wearing shorts and a t-shirt at almost 5,000' elevation in January. Did my weekly cleaning of the RV, have all the windows open to air it out. Dog sheds like crazy and a week is all I can stand before vacuuming.
Utility engineer, contractor and the dirt guy are all meeting here tomorrow at 11.

Met with the designer today. He totally gets what I want. He showed me his garage he converted into a second living space. Even has the appliances I like. He said my kitchen was too big and he can use that space for the 1/2 bath in the mud room. Should have a preliminary design by this weekend. Says we need to hire a engineer for the shop because the walls are 16' high. He's got a guy so it shouldn't be too costly.

Also met with the contractor, dirt guy and the utility engineer. Utility guy likes using the back easement road for power lines, says I will only have to run a few hundred feet on my dime that way. Things are starting to fall into place.

Real windy and cold today. Tonight's going to be a 2 bottle night (I use a small propane heater for the RV).

The well pump and associated stuff will be installed Friday. They are going to put a plug on it so it can be hooked up to a generator. Problem with that is it's 220, and the RV generator isn't set up for that. Contractor and dirt guy both have generators with 220 outlets. I guess I will be heading to Harbor Freight for a generator so I can use the well until it's hooked into the grid.

The reason it won't be connected to the power poles that are 50' away is because if I connect power to the well before power goes to the house, I have to pay for all of it. If I connect it to where the house is first, I don't get charged for the transformers or the first 550' of lines. Since I am not sure exactly where the house is going to be, we can't run those lines yet. It's a difference of about $10,000.

The reason we need a working well is mainly for the dirt work. Dirt work guy is awesome. He is figuring out how to get the water lines up to where we need water, then he's going to bring over a bunch of portable irrigation sprinklers he uses on his cattle pastures so I don't have to rent a water truck.

Well would be a working well if the installers had a working generator. They are coming back Monday morning to set the pressures and do a 30 minute rundown to make sure everything is working properly.

Dirt guy and me walked around some more. He's bringing his D4 out on Sunday to clean off the brush where the dirt work is to be done.

Reading about your progress motivates me to want to get the dirt work done on my lot in Bisbee.

While walking the dog I saw the old guy who bought the little house at the bottom of the property was outside. He has a late 60's GMC pickup he is hot rodding. It's got a straight 6 with, he claims, 400 HP. I offered to have my dirt guy clean up his driveway while he is here. He's a disabled Vietnam veteran and seems like a nice guy.

I got a set of preliminary build plans. Wish I could post them up here buy its printed. The guy is creative. He moved some stuff around to make it more usable, added broom, linen and coat closets. Need to let it soak in for a few days to see if I like it.

Tonight is the warmest night so far, 45*. It's been in the high 20' to low 30's every other night. Going to have a fire in a few hours and look at the stars for awhile.

Go you!

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I'd like to know what engine that thing has and how he got 400 hp out of it.