With rising awareness of environmental damages and individual carbon-footprints, many people are considering taking their home, or even life, ‘off grid’. This means that receiving power from the ‘grid’ or power companies is replaced with power producing techniques on a person’s own land. This can be done through a few different sources and usually has the dual benefit of saving a person money in the long-term and reducing their overall carbon footprint.
Things to Consider Before Going Off-Grid
Since most homes are not outfitted to accommodate homesteaders, there are a few considerations you will have to make when it comes to your off-grid home comfort options. Here are some factors that you should consider before going off-grid:
Off-Grid Sources of Power Production
The most common source of power production is solar power, and it is gaining more momentum among people who are environmentally conscious and even those who are just trying to save some money. The benefit of solar power is that it can be used in conjunction with ‘on-grid’ power or in replacement of. The average solar power panel produces 200 watts of power per hour on a sunny day.
Power Consumption in the Home
Most people run appliances that greatly contribute to the comfort of the home. The two largest power consuming appliances are the air conditioner and the refrigerator. An air conditioner can use anywhere from 1000 watts and up per hour. This means that in order to run an air conditioner, only during daylight hours, you would need at least 5 solar panels in working condition. When considering other appliances such as the oven which can use 3000 watts per hour in some cases, the use of power in an off grid home can greatly affect your comfort.
What Off-Grid Options are Available
When using solar power to power your home, many people choose to collect large amounts of power with many solar panels and to store it for use when they choose to run the oven or air conditioner. Greatly reducing your dependence on household appliances such as the fridge or air conditioner will make living off grid much easier. A good rule is that the older and the larger the appliance, the more power it uses.
How Living Off-Grid Will Affect You
When spending a lot of time comparing your power collection to your power consumption and not using some appliances depending on the time of day and weather, it can feel a little like you are not in control of your own comfort as and your comfort can sometimes be dictated by whether it is cloudy or nighttime. Unless you have the land space and initial capital to invest in an off-grid system that completely powers your current comfort level then you may find your quality of life, where use of everyday household appliances is concerned, dropping significantly.
This is not to say that going off grid is a bad thing at all, however it can be much more difficult than many people think. The best thing to do is to slowly work towards your goal by reducing your reliance on the grid by installing power saving measures and power collecting tools to reduce the amount you are consuming from external sources. Gauge what level of power consumption you are comfortable with by calculating your current use and seeing what you would still be comfortable not using.
If you have any other questions or would like to know more about how your air conditioner and regular comfort level can be affected by going ‘off-grid’ then contact us today.