Residential Wind Turbines- FAQs

There are three popular energy systems that homeowners use to get off the grid or reduce their energy costs considerably: solar energy power, diesel or gas generators or residential wind turbines. Out of all three, residential wind power is becoming the most widely used.

Where Do I Put a Wind Turbine?

You can either put one on your rooftop or in your yard. It depends on which product you choose and what the manufacturer recommends. It may be a wise choice to put one in your yard where it's not too obvious to neighbors, who may not be as sold on the idea of having a turbine as you are.

Is It Noisy?

Residential wind turbines make as much noise as a washing machine or refrigerator. You'll need to take this into consideration, because you don't want to get into a fight with your neighbors over it, which could involve going to court. If you live in the suburbs or a rural area, you probably won't run into any objections from neighbors because homes are typically far enough apart. They'd have to be outdoors listening for it. You'll have to use your judgment though if you live in the city, taking into account how close you are to neighbors.

How Much Wind Do I Need?

When wind speed reaches 10 mph, the turbines will begin to operate. Some turbines will work at less speed, but very little electricity is generated. The maximum wind speed at which most turbines will work is 33 mph. After that, the turbine will shut down, as in the case of hurricanes and gale force winds.

What If There's No Wind?

A residential wind turbine system will include a battery that gets charged and stores electricity for later use. When there's no wind, your home will pull from the electricity that was previously stored in the battery pack. This is where it's good to have alternative sources of energy for when that storage gets depleted. For example, you can still generate electricity from a solar power or diesel generator.

What about Maintenance?

Wind turbines aren't "high maintenance" like diesel generators and some other forms of alternative energy. You can set up most and leave them alone without having to worry about any upkeep, sometimes for up to five years. Buying spare parts and learning how to replace them would be a good thing to do along the way, as you can afford to do so.

How Much Does This Cost?

This depends on your goals for saving on electricity. If you want a home wind turbine to power your entire home, then you're looking at costs in the neighborhood of $35,000 to $40,000, including installation fees. If you just want to reduce your electricity bill or want to use it as a backup in power outages, there are small voltage generators starting at $460, such as the Sunforce 44444 12-Volt 400-Watt Wind Generator.

Using a residential wind turbine may seem weird if you're used to paying the electric company for electricity. However, taxation and utility costs are only going to get higher. The sooner you experiment with this and other forms of renewable energy, the better off you'll be.

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2 Responses to “Residential Wind Turbines- FAQs”

  1. Shy Says:

    I like the post, but there is one point you have not touched.

    How do you assess the wind profile (regime) in you area or back yard?

    Regional wind resource maps are an option but the wind in a specific site may differ substantially as a result of nearby hills, buildings and trees. Monitoring the wind at hub height or lower for a year or more is a valid solution, but is costly, takes too much time and requires expert help.
    You can, of course, consult a turbine’s vendor, but they want to make a sale.
    All other known methods provide mere indications.

  2. Brent Says:

    @Shy – That’s an excellent question to which I don’t have an excellent answer. Thanks for asking it. It gives me another topic to have my writers research. As soon as we can come up with a good solution, I’ll let you know.

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