Light Me Up!

Updated: Mar 29, 2021

At Hill Top Haven, we are 'off grid'. What does that mean? We are not connected to any mains utilities. All our water, power, heating etc is 'locally sourced'..!

Before we moved to Hill Top, we had never lived off grid before, and it sounded like such an adventure - and it was in our first few months as we got to grips with the utilities in the midst of a snowy winter. We learned quickly - there's nothing like being thrown in at the deep end to aid the learning process!

However, it's one of the things that drew us to this house, as well as the location, the history and the views.

We have found that, being off grid means being more aware of where your power and water is coming from - and how much you're using. We're so much more connected to the land and nature here at Hill Top than we ever have been before.

What being off grid doesn't mean is that we are rustic and have to live with candles!

Our power and water sources enable a fully modern way of living, with underfloor heating, a dishwasher and the usual mod cons. It's just the way that we get our power is different.

We have a plant room (get us!) that houses our boiler and our posh battery pack. The batteries are powered by the wind turbine and the solar panels. We keep an eye on the juice levels in the batteries. When that level falls below a certain point, the generator automatically kicks in, to top it up. This happens more in the winter, when there is less light, and can come on once a day. It has been known to only be needed once a month in summer!

So, every time you experience a sunny or windy day, just think 'free, environmentally friendly power' instead.

But don't worry - if, for any reason, the generator fails, we have a back up generator that pumps power directly into the house. We know. We've used it, as part of our learning experience. All good now...!

Our water comes from a stream that starts near the top of Killhope Law, the hill behind us. We have two large water tanks that are filled up, and checked regularly. The water comes down to the house with good pressure, and is put through a series of filters, and is checked by Environmental Health for both your - and our - safety.

Because this water is natural, it does have some slight peaty discolouration. Don't worry - it's absolutely fine! You'll find this water in the showers, taps and loos. For drinking water, and for cooking, we have 'ultra purified' clear water, which we use ourselves. We do keep some bottled water on site for your drinking pleasure, should you find this a little bit too 'off grid'.... however, we don't offer it up straight away, unless you ask, because we try and keep our plastic usage to a minimum.

We also have a septic tank, and ask that guests don't throw anything except loo paper down the loo - that's better for both of us, believe us.

Despite our rural location, we have consistently good high speed internet of between 30 and 50Mb, and fast wifi throughout the house and terrace.

We find, being off grid, that we're so much more aware of what utilities we use. We feel so much more connected to the land. In your stay, if you're interested, we're very happy to show you around, and talk you through how being 'off grid' works.

Because we're dependent on these sources of power, it does mean we're careful with any appliances that need an initial surge of power - and use them sparingly. For example, the microwave and the coffee machine. That's why we ask you to keep your use of high-powered items to as much of a minimum as you and your morning routine can put up with :-) But don't worry - just because we're careful with the coffee machine, we don't skimp on the coffee - David has many other sources of coffee in the kitchen!

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