Heat and electricity are energy and power essentials which you cannot live without, even if you plan to live off the grid. You need to have a suitable system in place!
Keep reading to learn more about fire starters and solar generators needed to help you live off the grid with comfort and ease.
Solar Panel & Generator
There are plenty of commercial solar generators available on the market which are specially designed for use when you are living off the grid. However, many of these are rather inexpensive and can be built on your own, particularly if your living structure is simple and compact.
If you are living off the grid in a wilderness cabin, caravan, or small house, then it is easy to put together a reliable solar system that will last for years to come.
However, do note that larger homes (especially those with several household members or more than a single floor) require a professional solar designer and system installer. Should you decide to tackle your solar power generating crisis on your own, then you will need the following:
- Battery bank
- Solar panels (for your roof)
- Solar inverter
- Solar charge controllers
- Multi-mode inverter
You will need solar regulators (solar charge controllers) to control the solar energy trapped by solar panels placed on your roof. You need these for charging the battery through the conversion of solar energy into chemical energy.
Be mindful of factors such as your daily average electrical consumption, the maximum power that your household appliances require, the average continuous load, and total solar exposure before building a solar system and generator for long-term use when you are living off the grid. To put it simply, building a solar system to generate electrical energy is incredibly doable. All you need to do is put in the due effort and do extra research where required.
Geothermal Heat Pump
It may not be as popular, but a geothermal heat pump (also known as a heat exchanger) is a realistic power source for keeping yourself and your family members warm and comfortable when you are living off the grid.
A geothermal heat pump is a heating and cooling system that extracts heat energy from the ground using a vapor compression and refrigeration cycle. In the winter when it gets cold, it will draw heat from under the ground. Meanwhile, when it gets too warm, it can use the earth to sink the heat.
Making use of a geothermal heat pump can help you increase your sustainability footprint. This method is 100% ecofriendly and a sustainable source of keeping yourself and your family members comfortable (through effective heat insulation and temperature control) when you are living off the grid.
When a geothermal heat pump is paired with a solar power system, the combination becomes indestructible and incredibly resourceful for living off the grid. The solar system can provide electricity for cooking food and other purposes. Meanwhile, the geothermal heat pump can be used to heat, cool, and supply the house with water.
Unlike other renewable energy solutions, a geothermal heat pump is relatively inexpensive and requires little maintenance over the years. Plus, it is a lot quieter, so you will not have to worry about noise pollution. The biggest cost you will face with a geothermal heat pump is the initial investment for setting up and installing the unit in your off grid home.
However, once it is in place, you will find yourself enjoying your independent lifestyle for years to come.
LPG and Oil boilers – Non-Sustainable Energy and Power essentials
LPG and oil boilers are a timeless classic that have helped people live off the grid and sustain themselves and their family members for the past few decades. Most off-grid homeowners have relied on LPG (and oil) boilers either as a primary or secondary source for heating their homes and keep themselves warm.
Off-grid homeowners prefer LPG boilers as they are incredibly versatile as a fire starter and can be used for everything from cooking a hot meal to boiling water to starting an oven. Plus, the fuel type for LPG is easily available in most areas. Once you are stocked up, you will be good to go for a very long time.
Unfortunately, neither LPG nor oil boilers are an environmentally friendly energy and power essentials for starting a fire or generating heat when you are living off the grid. Since LPG is technically gas (and it is used alongside oil) so you will still be burning fossil fuels which release carbon dioxide and release harmful GHG emissions in the process.
However, LPG is still more environmentally friendlier compared to standard heating oil, so you will still be minimizing your carbon footprint to a certain extent. It is also more refined compared to oil, which means that you will have to expend lesser time trying to clean the boiler.
The bottom line is that you will have to evaluate the costs and benefits of using this fire starting method to decide if it is worth it.
Bonus Picks for Energy and Power Essentials
Note that solar production may be low during the winter months, depending on which part of the world you are situated in. Not to worry! There are alternative heating options that you can look into for living off the grid with comfort and ease.
The following are fire-starting and heating systems available for off-grid living:
- Biomass boilers. A biomass boiler burns biological matter to create heat. Chips, logs, and wooden pellets can be used to help combustion take place in the boiler chamber.
- Rocket stove. A rocket stove is a simple DIY method of starting a fire and generating heat. It can be used to cook meals and heat water using tin cans and insulating material.
- Soil fuel. Find these systems too sophisticated for you? Stick to the timeless classic by cutting up log and start a roaring fire to survive through cold winter nights off the grid.