Home Heating

Heating an off grid home can be tricky. Unless you have an unlimited amount of money, you will likely have to heat with with either natural gas, propane, wood, pellet stoves or solar hot water. Even a pellet stove may consume too much energy for your off grid power system. If you have an unlimited amount of money it is possible to use solar, wind or water power to operate heat pumps. For the rest of us, here are some ideas…

Making a Dump Load with a Hot Water Tank Heater

September 18, 2015
Thumbnail image for Making a Dump Load with a Hot Water Tank Heater

Can a standard off-the-shelf tank style electric hot water heater can make a dump load? Electric tank water heaters are an excellent choice to make a dump load for your solar, wind or micro hydro power system as they are easy to get, cheap, already insulated and have holes to mount low voltage water heating […]

10 comments Read the full article →

Making a Solar Electric Water Heater | Can it Be Done?

April 1, 2015
Thumbnail image for Making a Solar Electric Water Heater | Can it Be Done?

As the price of photovoltaic modules (solar modules, solar panels) continues to drop there are many discussions about using solar electric modules to heat water. No more leaks, messy and complicated plumbing, heat exchangers, controllers to fail, pumps to maintain and fluids to freeze. Solar hot water has been plagued with leaks, freezing (or poisonous […]

23 comments Read the full article →

The Best Choices for Heating Your Solar Home | And The Worst!

March 17, 2015
Thumbnail image for The Best Choices for Heating Your Solar Home | And The Worst!

The largest energy consumer of any home-built in the northern hemisphere is the heating system. Designing the correct heating system is critical in the success of the off grid home. Build it wrong and nothing else will matter. Almost all heating systems require some form of electricity to operate whether it for the fans (oil, […]

28 comments Read the full article →

The Best Off Grid Heating System

March 14, 2015
Thumbnail image for The Best Off Grid Heating System

The greatest advance in home heating in the past few decades has to be the Open Direct System invented by Radiantec. The Open Direct System uses a highly efficient condensing tank-style water heater that provides both radiant space heating and domestic hot water all in one unit cutting electricity requirements for those of us living […]

16 comments Read the full article →

Dump Loads for Solar, Wind and Microhydro

May 2, 2013
Thumbnail image for Dump Loads for Solar, Wind and Microhydro

Dump loads a.k.a. diversion loads are are an important part of the off grid electric system. Almost all wind and water turbine installations will require them and most solar installations can benefit from a dump load. As we discussed in the dump load intro, a dump load is simply an electrical device (load) to send […]

16 comments Read the full article →

Dump Load / Diversion Load Intro

April 16, 2013
Thumbnail image for Dump Load / Diversion Load Intro

Since there is a lot of confusion about diversion loads, we will discuss what they are and why they are used. A dump load is nothing more than a resistor (heating element) that is used for dumping electricity when it is not needed or to prevent your battery bank from being overcharged. It could be […]

8 comments Read the full article →

Using an Electric Heater as a Dump Load

April 12, 2013
Thumbnail image for Using an Electric Heater as a Dump Load

A common question I get asked is “Can I use a standard 120/240 AC heating element or hot water heater element as a DC dump load for my wind turbine/water turbine/solar system?” (Wondering what a dump load is? Click here) (More advanced diversion load info for solar, wind and water power) The answer is yes […]

32 comments Read the full article →

Circulating Pumps for the Off Grid Home

March 16, 2013
Thumbnail image for Circulating Pumps for the Off Grid Home

It is almost inevitable you will need at least one circulating pump for your off the grid homestead. Whether it is for radiant home heating, keeping fish alive in a aquaponic or aquaculture system or making a home-made air conditioning system, circulating pumps are very important. If you go to your local hardware store and […]

11 comments Read the full article →

Hot Water Heating Systems

March 11, 2013

Domestic hot water will account for about 30% of your home’s energy footprint. Only a few decades ago there were very limited options for the off grid home’s water heating system. Back then the only options were a gas hot water heater, some form of wood boiler or the often high maintenance solar hot water […]

4 comments Read the full article →

Ivan Labs El SID DC Circulating Pumps

March 4, 2013
Thumbnail image for Ivan Labs El SID DC Circulating Pumps

The Ivan Labs El SID circulating pumps have been the best choice for solar hot water and radiant heat for the past few decades. For solar hot water they are used to pump water from the solar collector(s) to the heat exchanger and from the heat exchanger to the hot water tank/heater. In a radiant […]

33 comments Read the full article →

Using Your Wood Stove to Heat Water

March 1, 2013

One of the most overlooked functions of a wood stove is heating water. A few decades ago many wood stoves (especially cook stoves) used what was a called a hot water front in conjunction with a tank (range boiler) beside/behind the wood stove to produce endless hot water. The hot water front (which is nothing […]

20 comments Read the full article →