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Dehydrator Question

Discussion in 'Preparedness & Survival' started by Charger, Apr 8, 2014.

  1. Charger

    Charger Oregun City Area Member

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    Here is my question let me know if it is crazy or not.
    I like drying fruit in a standard dehydrator.
    I don't like paying to for all that electricity and hearing up the house in the summer.
    Has any one tried putting the dehydrator In your attic .
    My attic runs close to 140 dg in the summer so would not have to pay to heat the dehydrator .
    when ever the sun is out should have to just run fan and lots on natural heat for drying
    The attic has a power fan so it is vented so no build up on moisture.
    what do you think.
     
  2. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    I usually make my own jerky, but I'm a few steps behind you in that I use the oven, and just drape meat over the oven racks. I know my mom has used one of those "sun oven's" as a dehydrator before, but it seems a bit small. My uncle uses an electric smoker for making jerky, I think if I was going to spend some coin on it, I would go the smoker route, it sits outside, and he uses it constantly.
     
  3. deadeye

    deadeye Albany,OR. Moderator Staff Member

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    Attic is not good. Fiber glass insulation dust possibly blowing around from fan, mice, bugs, and possibly mold spores.
     
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  4. justsaymo

    justsaymo NW WA Member

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    There are quite a few Solar Dehydrator designs on Youtube.
     
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  5. Charger

    Charger Oregun City Area Member

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    You guys brought up some good points.
    Guess I will have to build a solar dehydrator.
    Thanks
     
  6. Hook686

    Hook686 Northern California Active Member

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    My dehydrator had a 60 watt light bulb in it. 1,000 watt-hours here costs $0.12. So 17 hours runs about 2 bucks. You will save more I think by not running the attic fan during the day.
     
  7. DaveJ

    DaveJ New Member

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    @Hook686, better stock up on the bulbs, in case TEOTWAWKI doesn't happen. The LEDs or CFLs will just make your stuff look pretty. ;)
     
  8. Hook686

    Hook686 Northern California Active Member

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    You know something I don't know about generating 60 watts of heat ?
     
  9. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    Paul Wheaton tours a ton of these and other great ideas
     
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  10. DaveJ

    DaveJ New Member

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  11. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf SE Portland Well-Known Member

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    I'd sure use my attic.. dry and as hot as hades with two screened windows for ventilation.. no mold, insects or rodents and I've breathed in probably forty pounds of insulation glass over the years by manhandling it (and look at me now!) and wouldn't think a couple particles that might fall on it would harm it would I ingest it.
     
  12. Hook686

    Hook686 Northern California Active Member

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    There are many ways to get a mere 60 watts of heat for a dehydrator than wasteful incandescent light bulbs. Heat is needed, not light. An above post points out the use of solar energy. A dehydrator works by raising the temperature of the product being dehydrated, then removing the moisture laden air. A light bulb is not required. Perhaps a hotplate would be a better choice than an attic.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2014
  13. DaveJ

    DaveJ New Member

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    Sorry, I understood you had a 60 watt bulb providing the heat. My mistake.
     
  14. Hook686

    Hook686 Northern California Active Member

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    You are correct in the fact that the old unit I have does have a 60 watt light bulb as the heat generator. Where you are incorrect is in assuming that I must remain with that configuration. The light bulb socket has a 120 volt connection. I am not limited to using a light bulb as the heat source. An equally old laboratory hot plate will provide the heat needed. 60 watts costs the same whether it comes from a light bulb, or a hotplate, or .... A full attic fan consumes more than 60 watts for sure.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2014
  15. thorborg

    thorborg portland oregon Well-Known Member 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    Attics needn’t be mouse, mold infected unusable spaces. A little decking and some other sensible modifications can clean up the attic. We’ve dried a ton of food over the years in attics (and barn lofts) like filberts, walnuts, herbs, bread, beans, cascara, corn and horse radish on old window screens. Keep the apples 1/8 inch thick or less but use non metallic screening ( for wet or other fruit too) and you’ll be fine but if the weather turns cool or the food is wet like peaches (use freestones not clings) you will need air flow to hurry them along so they don’t spoil. Tough skin things like plums and cherries need halved and turned inside out. Visit often (daily) to rotate if needed and unless it is long term stowage or for cooking don’t let fruit get too dried out if you want to eat it for finger food snacks or you’ll have to soak it to reconstitute it then use them for cooking. You don't want to cook it, but dry it, or you’ll lose food nutrients. Tomatoes suck unless you peel them as the skin are unpleasant reconstructed, (better off canning) and then they will make a mess so use wax paper to put them on and a lot of air. No to fish and meats (I feel) those need brine and smoke to help preserve them but that’s just an opine. Make canning or harvesting / food prep a family afair.
    Bleach is your friend. Keep things clean including your hands. One last thing, dont leave food there over the winter or you may get uninvited guest. Mice usually won't come in untill the weather turns unless you already have a problem. You should be done by then except for the nuts so keep an eye out for them and remove when dried. (the nuts, not the mice)
     
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  16. erudne

    erudne The Pie Matrix PPL Say Sleeping W/Your Rifle Is A bad Thing? Bronze Supporter

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  17. erudne

    erudne The Pie Matrix PPL Say Sleeping W/Your Rifle Is A bad Thing? Bronze Supporter

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    I used to buy tuna jerky in long 1" strips at the local hardware store on Molokai back in the late 1970's and a friend would make it by placing a screened wooden drying rack on his sheet metal roof, the temps would usually exceed 120 degrees.
     
  18. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    With the EOL'ing of incandescent bulbs, in order to continue generating light I have actually gone a step further into the past and replaced everything with arclight, it maintains that nice white full spectrum light I've always enjoyed from having a glowing wire providing my light. However, the downside is it pours off tons of heat, and needs about 10amps to really generate a useful quantity of light.

    I'm not really sure why we took something that contained zero hazardous materials (not broken glass mind you) that took very little energy to be made, every part was infinitely recycleable (glass, and metal) and replaced it with something that's 20x the cost, is made with rare earth elements, toxic compounds, generates harmful voltages, requires significantly more labor and materials to manufacture, and recycle and somehow thought it was a win?

    It's kinda like solar panels... first we need to make silicon, which requires expensively disassociating oxygen from silicon dioxide, or more commonly by first making silicon flouride. Then we dope it with a bunch of exotic and toxic compounds, and depending on what and how it was made it's useless in 5-10 years.

    All this "green energy" business is, is front loading the use of fossil fuels, for a potential payout later, which may or may not come.

    Literally, the vision that runs through my head after reading your post is a child looking into a shoebox full of hay with a chicken egg sitting next to a CFL. I don't know whether to laugh or cry. I guess I'll go stick my hand into the leads on the flyback transformer and huff some more mercury vapor and plastic fumes as I celebrate how green I am.
     
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  19. thorborg

    thorborg portland oregon Well-Known Member 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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  20. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf SE Portland Well-Known Member

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    That dried cuttlefish found in most all large grocery stores, let alone Asian grocery stores, is pretty good to gnaw on.