Appropriate Technology

Appropriate technology
is designed with special consideration to the environmental, ethical, cultural, social and economical aspects of the community it is intended for. With these goals in mind, AT typically requires fewer resources, is easier to maintain, has a lower overall cost and less of an impact on the environment.

Our drinking and irrigation water is fed from a small dam in the creek, water is fed into an iron pipe that drops four feet.

The pipe feeds a homemade hydraulic ram pump.  This simple device uses the energy of the falling water and a brass swing check valve to create a sudden water hammer that forces a little bit of water through a one way valve and then uphill to our tank.  The pressure is then relieved, the swing valve falls open and the cycle begins again.  Clack, clack, clack, clack...

This is our 1940 Majestic wood fired cook stove.  It provides heat and hot food.  I also plumbed a water pipe into the fire box to provide hot water for the house.   This relic is painfully inefficient and eats a lot of fuel.   Cook stove development essentially stopped at the turn of the century.   I have a strong suspicion that if anyone cared to design one, a modern version could burn half the wood much cleaner.   I'll be doing more research.


More plumbing details on the water heating wood stove feature.   Using about 350 dollars of pipes and fittings, and a used electric water heater, we are now a propane free off-grid house.   The water is heated in the stove and rises up to the tank on the second floor, which pulls cold water from the bottom of the tank down to the stove.  The whole thing flows in a circle without any electric pumps.  I ran the piping next to the chimney to reduce cooling losses.   Building a system like this is nothing to fool around with, if for some reason the water flow is stopped you create a metal clad pressure bomb that could kill anyone nearby when it explodes.   My resource was an out of print book called Handmade Hot Water.   This summer I will add a solar water heater to the loop to heat the water on sunny days.   Believe it or not, this combination of woodstove and solar water heater was a common household system in 1900!