Off Grid heating and Cooling
It’s becoming increasingly important to get off the grid in times of uncertainty. This is a secure manner to live, if something happens you and your family are protected.This makes off grid heating and cooling a major concern.
While older homes make it easy for people to get off the grid, newer models will require some changes to their design. One area of concern in colder locations is providing heating off the grid. With many gas powered options, how do you ensure that you and your family are kept warm?
the truth is most homes, on grid and off, are not well designed to take advantage of the best uses for heating and cooling. Before spending any money on either your best bet is to make your home as energy efficient as possible.
The Dept. of Energy estimates that the typical house loses as much heating and cooling as if they had a three foot square hole in the wall. That's a lot of wasted resources. So the first thing to do is to make your house as energy efficient as possible.
Once you have improved the energy efficiency of your home you can begin thinking about the best types of off grid heating systems. There are a variety of options available, each with various pros and cons. These include wood burning stoves, active solar heating, propane gas, and other carbon based fuels such as gasoline, coal, oil and diesel.
Off Grid Heating
Perhaps the most sensible approach for heating off the grid is the use of fire. This is the most historical method that has worked for hundreds of years. It requires a wood burning stove or fireplace in the home.
This can be in a single main room or you can have several strategically placed in the home. You can allow the fire to die down before you go to bed and allow the coals to help add a little extra warmth over the evening.
Thanks to the insulation in the walls, you shouldn’t experience much heat loss as a result.
To enjoy heat off the grid, you do need to plan on having additional insulation in the home. It’s vital that you take the time to ensure that there is an adequate amount of insulation in the walls, ceiling, and floors to help trap the heat in the winter, while helping to keep things cooler in the summer.
Insulating is an easy DIY job that can be done over the weekend in steps.
Propane is another way to heat your off grid home. An advantage to using propane is that propane is very energy efficient. Another advantage is that it can used in a variety of appliances. It’s particularly useful as an off-grid fuel since it’s so versatile and can be used for a wide variety of different appliances including propane space heaters, generators, and cookers.
Active and Passive solar heat.
For active solar heat you can use your windows to target the suns rays. Or even create a simple solar heater by adding a black garbage bag to the sunniest windows. The garbage bag will collect the heat and since heat flows upward will heat the room.
An active solar heater in the window is another choice for off grid heating. This is usually a copper pipe that is painted black and placed in each window. This draws in the heat and helps to add it to the home.
You can take this a step further and paint the water pipes around the exterior of the house black also and they will draw in warm water through the pipes of the home.
This will heat and use the power of the sun. This is done by adding dark colored walls and windows to the home, so that they absorb more heat. While this is great in the winter, this approach does cause some problems in the summer months when it becomes warmer.
The downside to this system is that it requires a lot of daylight hours to be viable and it also requires some power to keep the pump running.
Passive solar heating
Involves the use of walls and/or floor to collect heat during the day and release it at night. this isn't as difficult as it sounds but does require more thought and expense than active solar heating.
For heating off the grid, you need to explore ways to generate heat. The power that you have coming in from an alternative energy source can help. But it isn’t enough to just generate the power, so an active and passive passive solar heat are another worthwhile options to look into.
Another example of an off-grid heating system is a biomass boiler. This might be a solution if you live in a rural area. However, the upfront cost can sometimes be a disadvantage. Luckily, this is a one-time cost, and you would be able to earn it back through significant utility bill savings.
You can use natural materials like logs and wood pellets to produce heat. This means that the system generates heat using natural and renewable resources. It is cheaper to run, and better for the environment.
The large upfront cost might not make it suitable for everyone. Also, the systems need more space than traditional boilers and you need to store the biomass nearby. If you don’t have an automated system, you will need to manually supply the boiler with fuel.
These are just some of the choices you will have for off grid heating. Keep in mind that as you heat off the grid, you’ll want to explore several different heating options, as the location of your home, general cooler weather patterns, and other factors may dictate what you are able to do for this form of heating.
Once you do have an effective plan in place, it is important that you keep up with it and ensure that you are able to provide enough heat so your entire family is able to live comfortably.
If you want more in-depth info you might try this free download.
There are a variety of ways available to keep clean as well as conserve water resources. As always it is up to you to consider your situation and plan for the best possible outcome.
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