Saturday, February 15, 2014

How energy efficient is it really?

Well, we have been living in the 'Tin Can' for about 2 yrs now.  Summers definitely require an air conditioner so I am so glad we have put one in, 18,000 BTU Window air conditioner. Though we cut a space into the container as we know we'll always require one due to the heat.  The back part of the house tends to remain at around 72 degrees, but the front gets warmer as the sun hits it most of the morning.  Temps here can go into the 100s & it just wouldn't be bearable in the front of the house without A/C.  Winters are a bit milder, though this last one has given us some lower temps, w/wind chills into the minus areas.  The only heat we have is a wood stove & that seems to work well.  The back part stays around 64 degrees in the winter.  I do use a small electric heater in the bathroom area as it stays cooler being as it's in the back part of the house & in winter I don't really enjoy stepping out of the shower in a room that's around 64 degrees. 

In the time since I last posted, we have added more insulation to the roof, blow in type, which seems to have helped with controlling the temperatures.  We've also finished the screened room which we use a lot during the spring & fall. 

All in All we love this place, though I do find I have less space than I thought I would, but it could just be that I gather too much junk. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Outside--Screened Porch and Siding...Part One

It's been a wonderfully mild winter here in Eastern Oklahoma. And spring has arrived with some rain but mostly beautiful days in the 60s, 70s and 80s, a soft breeze blowing through which has been keeping things tolerable temperature-wise.

Tom however has been very busy with building my screened room and I am excited.  Both of us love sitting out in the evenings watching the stars, listening to the bullfrogs, crickets and other assorted creatures and talking....boring to most, I know, but it's our happy place.

Also we still needed to put up the siding on the front of the house to cover the metal of the containers.  The last two/three days Tom has been doing this while I have been painting the areas of the porch that will be exposed. I've chosen boring white again, but have done so to keep heat absorption down.

We have a bit more to go, but I wanted to get some pictures up for those following the blog.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The real live Living part of 'Living in a Tin Can'

Well, it has been awhile since I've posted, but I promised I would give reports as to how living partially underground is working. I am thoroughly enjoying my house. It is spacious (at least to me after living in a big rig for 8 yrs) and comfortable. It has been unseasonably warm here in OK the last few months. That is definitely not a complaint, I love it here.

But it was not possible to test whether or not we'd remain warm in cold temperatures until now. It is 23 degrees with a wind chill making it feel like 9 degrees, outside.  In the containers it is 73 in the front area where the pot bellied stove sits. In the back area of the place it is 66. To me that's about as perfect as one can get.

The electric bill is pretty stable. I'm not anticipating any major rise in my electric bill due to colder weather.  The nice thing about having a pot-bellied stove for heat is that if the power goes out, I still have heat. When we initially discussed it, I decided I didn't want to have to deal with propane/gas for anything.  Even with a gas heater one has to have the electricity to run it. Not to mention if we get snowed/iced in we'd never be able to replenish the propane. And I can cook on this stove, my husband bought this particular type of stove for that reason.

My husband says he's glad he decided to add 18,000 BTU A/C though, he's not sure whether the building will remain cool enough in the summer, which can at times be brutal here. Last year was exceptionally hot, temps into the 100s for months at a time. But, he is adding an enclosed porch to the entrance, which I think, along with this special paint I purchased (Kool Seal) will help keep things moderate in here.

Kudos to my husband, Tom, who did a wonderful job building this place! And thank you to Ronnie for all your help, you also did a great job.

Here is the view from my front door!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Moving in....

We've gotten most of the things we have moved into the house. There are a few more things to do, organize the closet space, put the little things away, etc. But for the most part I am extremely happy with the way things look now.

We had temps down into the twenties outside, but the temperatures have remained steady inside, not once has it been below 60. We have used the pot-bellied stove a couple of times to ward off the chill which brings the temps up to around 72, very comfortable living in my humble opinion.

Here are the pics I promised...

The kitchen is completely finished. And as I'd noted in an earlier pic of the kitchen, there isn't as much space as there looks to be while everything is empty.  However, I do like that I don't have to cram everything into the cupboards, I can access the things I need regularly without have to pull out half a cabinet of stuff first.

View of the kitchen and dining area.

Our pot-bellied stove where the living room starts.

The window side of the living room.

Moving around to the back of the living room.

The back part of the living room, to the left of the image is the doorway which leads into the computer room, bedroom and bathroom.

This is the computer desk (before shot) that was custom built for me.

The after shot with all my geeky computer equipment in place. On the left is the lovely old bookcase I purchased from my friend Kathy West.
 This is the bathroom, all finished.

The shower area, not much has changed from the earlier pictures I posted, other than some carpeting and the addition of a shelf to hold my towels.

This last one is of Tom putting in the pipe for the pot-bellied stove.  We still have to add the siding to the outside front. But Tom has been busy doing odds and ends inside. Looking for studs for me so that I can hang my pictures, etc.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Livingroom is just about finished

We are almost there....woo hoo...Tom finished up putting down the floor in the livingroom.  He's put the pot-bellied stove in place and there are just a few more things to do.  The guys will be caulking the kitchen, putting the baseboards up in the livingroom and Ronnie will be building the computer desk (the guys came up with this wonderful idea when I was having problems finding desks I liked that would fit into the space we had for them) in the room next to the livingroom. We plan on being in the containers by the end of the week.  I'm not saying I will have everything in there by the end of the week, I'm too old to be moving that fast, pardon my pun.  But it will be livable. Our wiener dog has already moved in, check out the picture of the pot-bellied stove.  You'll notice there is a sleeping bag/bed next to it. That belongs to Gator, our dashie, he moved in last week. I had a heck of a time getting him to come back up to the RV in the evenings, he evidently was quite comfortable in the containers.

 When we first decided to build with shipping containers, our reasoning was two-fold, a inexpensive customized house and one that would be energy efficient.  Which is why we've bermed the outside of the containers, Tom will continue to build up dirt on the outside of the containers.  Tom strengthened the container wall which will carry the most load, the rear wall, by welding steel beams to the container. I'd looked around the Internet for guidance on building a home with containers, needless to say, there was not much in the way of actually building  a shipping container home, as far as materials and how-tos go. This is when I decided to write this blog of our journey of creating a home out of a shipping container. As we've built our home, some of our original ideas for the place have changed. Some of this was due to need/wants and some due to the fact that we had to adjust our theories based on what was physically feasible to do with a shipping container. For instance, we did add an air conditioner, which we had not planned on doing until this summer, when temperatures here in eastern OK got up around 105 plus degrees. We were also going to put a breakfast bar into the kitchen beneath the window, but the space would not allow for it. Had we added a fourth container, we would have been able to have the bar. Tom had to talk me into 3 containers as it was, I didn't want to have to clean that big of a place, as I said in the beginning, I'm old and getting older. I wanted something manageable in my twilight years. We also originally had planned to have the roof covered with dirt, however, containers have their strength on the four corners, not all over, so this idea was scrapped and we put a regular tin roof on top, pitched so that the heavy snow and or ice wouldn't put extra weight on the container. All of that being said, I've decided to keep the blog going for a bit.  I will keep you abreast how living in a tin can compares to what we thought it would be like living in a container. I will let you know over the coming year how stable the temperatures are within the place and if we run into any problems that need attention.

This is the before the floor went in shot. I was still staining a few things. I decided on a darker stain to break up all that white.

This is where the TV will be hanging. Below are two shelves to hold the cable box and whatever else I need for the TV.

 In this shot the floor has been laid, ain't it purdy? And the door on the right leads to the computer area and bedroom.

 You'll notice Gator's sleeping bag next to the stove. He will sleep in it no matter what the temperature. He has three different kinds of sleeping bags. This is because if I have to wash one or something happens to one, we won't have to listen to him whine and cry until he can get back into it.

Here is the other side of the livingroom. The stove just needs the pipe going out. One of the great things about this particular stove is that if the electricity goes out due to an ice storm or something, I can cook on it and keep warm all at the same time.

This is going to be the computer desk. I will be able to fit the desktop PC and the laptop on it. The men thought this up for me after I was measuring the area to see what kinds of desks would fit. I will eventually have a shelf above the desk for speakers and computer stuff.

P. S. If anyone out there is deciding they might like to do this also, don't hesitate to contact us and ask questions....I'm also thinking since he has so much experience now, I might hire out the hubby for a few extra $$....:)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Bedroom and my new platform bed...

We have a sleep number bed, which by the way, I highly recommend. It doesn't require a foundation if you have a platform frame. I also wanted storage under the bed and not with drawers. So, I looked in the furniture stores and I looked online, I looked and looked but couldn't find anything that suited me.  So, my very talented hubby built one to my specs...and here it is bare bones. Notice the floor is almost completely laid also. Just a few finishing touches on the bedroom and it too will be finished. That leaves the livingroom and the closets.

We still have some finish work to do on it, but basically, the bottom half, where the bed will rest, lifts up and I can store all kinds of stuff under there.

Woo Hoo....The Kitchen is finished!!!

The men went down today and finished up the little bits in the kitchen. They put the baseboard down, the spice cabinet in and the exhaust fan along with framing the window. I did some more painting on the rest of the baseboards and the window frames.