Many people these days are planning to go off the grid. Why wouldn’t they? Going off the grid saves you a lot of money on those expensive electricity bills. It also provides you with environmentally friendly alternatives and helps you survive during disasters. Generally, when we think of the word “off-grid,” what comes to our mind is electricity. It is an important aspect when going off-the-grid, but it is certainly not the only one.
An important consideration for most people when going off the grid is heating their home. Let us look at some of the most efficient and budget-friendly ways to heat your off the grid homes.
Wood is a biodegradable natural resource and is a cheap and readily available source of heat. If you are living in an area with lots of trees, you can always go out and cut some wood, lowering your heating costs to zero. Even if you live in an area where there’s a limited number of trees, you can always ensure a supply of trees. Guessing how? Well, there are still people around you who need their trees cut, trimmed, or removed. With a little wit and some search, you can always ensure a sufficient supply of firewood.
If you plan to buy firewood commercially, it is still the cheapest form of heating.
Solar energy systems are the most economical way to heat your home during the chilly winters. Solar energy offers a variety of excellent benefits, especially when you are living off the grid. The most exciting part about solar panels is that they require little to no maintenance and upkeep costs. It is considered the most budget-friendly way to heat your home and cut down your electricity bills, especially when you have high electricity usage.
One of the most efficient ways to use solar electricity for off the grid houses is with solar thermal collectors. It is a far more efficient way to heat your home than solar panels as it can convert almost 80% of radiations intro heat. Solar thermal also provides 60% of the hot water needs throughout the year. Solar thermal collectors also need far lesser installation space than solar panels and are more economical to install. They require yearly maintenance and may need a new hot water cylinder.
With a lifespan of 20-25 years and zero carbon emissions, solar power is an environment-friendly option. It is an excellent choice of heating when you are living off the grid.
Passive Solar Heat
Another to generate heat off the grid is by using solar energy. Passive solar homes are generally designed to get heated in that way. They usually work by allowing the sun into the house through the windows to convert the sunlight into heat. A dark-colored floor or a wall for the light to hit will provide more warmth.
If you add windows to the south wall of your house, it will boost the potential of the passive solar heat. However, there is one major problem, you require something to collect the heat, and it can be not easy to convert a house. The surfaces that the sunlight strikes on is known as an absorber. It absorbs the natural sunlight and then converts it into heat. This absorber is usually connected to a thermal insulator that is either stone or concrete. By this method, you can store the heat for use at night when it is needed the most.
These days oil boilers are a popular option for those who live off the grid. Oil boilers work similarly as the traditional gas boilers but need a large tank to store fuel. You can easily buy the fuel from any oil supplier. Although oil is very efficient and produces much heat by volume, it is still not an environmentally friendly alternative.
An oil boiler heating a typical home can emit almost 4 to 5 tonnes of carbon each year. Oil is known as a price-volatile fuel, and its cost fluctuates from season to season. It makes budgeting for it very hard.
Fuel is usually delivered by truck for these boilers, which gives birth to the possibility of running out of fuel if your delivery gets delayed due to bad weather conditions. It is now possible to have a fuel tank that automatically notifies your oil supplier when you are low on fuel. This way, they can schedule a top-up without you having to do anything, but there is always the possibility of unexpected issues.
While oil boilers need yearly servicing, they require relatively little upkeep. Oil boilers are relatively easy to upgrade as long as you do not want to change the boiler type. With the recent drop in oil prices, they currently only cost almost one and a half times the price of gas to run.
Propane can turn out to be an expensive way of heating your home. It is not recommended as the only source of heat that you should have. But if your budget is low and you cannot afford a wood stove, this is your ultimate choice. As they are more expensive to run, you can always go for small propane heaters readily available in the camping department of your local store. There are also larger propane heaters that come equipped with an electric fan.
Connect your propane heater to your generator, and you can also have the heat blown to every corner of your house. It is also considered as a great option if you want to go out of your home and don’t want to leave the fire burning, unlike a wood stove. It will keep your home warm and cozy until you return home.
Every homeowner’s needs may differ, but one thing is for sure that the importance of efficient heating solutions cannot be denied. Off-the-grid homes may seem like a challenge, but with a little research, you can find some economical alternatives. These alternatives are not only cheaper but also more energy-efficient.
Some of these renewable resources are environmentally friendly, with zero carbon emissions that can help make the planet earth greener. With a little effort and efficiency, you can use these methods to heat your home while lowering your electric costs to almost zero. You heard that right—no more worrying about those expensive bills.