The Best Off Grid Heating Methods

Introduction To Off Grid Heating

If you’re Living off the grid already or planning to in the future, you already know how important it is to have a very reliable and highly efficient heating system for your home. Off grid heating is the process of keeping your home warm without relying on the grid or any external power source. This can be challenging, especially in colder climates and during winter months, but it is also rewarding and satisfying to curl up to a warm heat source that will never go down regardless of the weather outside.

Right now here in Canada we are experiencing a historical deep freeze and brutally cold winter, especially across the Prairies. The electrical grid is being pushed to its limits in this frigid cold and that’s all the more reason to live off grid and not be dependent on it for things such as heating a home.

Off grid heating also has some perks besides the obvious. It truly does give you a sense of independence and self-reliance, as you are not dependent on anyone else for your personal comfort and well-being. Like all things off the grid, it has to be done. And done right from the start. When considering your primary off grid heating source take the time to conduct thorough planning, research, and an upfront cost investment to that system. Right here is a great place to start. Whether it’s a traditional wood stove, a propane wall heater, solar thermal panels, or even the equipment you may need for harvesting wood, planning it all out before you build will save you time and money down the road. 

In this article, we will give you an overview of different off grid heating methods and how to choose the best one for your home. We will also provide you with some recommendations and links to some of the best products and services on the market, so you can make an informed decision and enjoy a cozy and warm off grid home. We’ll also share with you what methods we personally choose to use for our off grid home here in Nova Scotia.  

NOTE: We’ve partnered with two well know and trusted businesses that specialize in off grid equipment and can offer you special rebates, savings, discounts and more! Before you buy any off grid appliances, solar system, or off grid heating equipment be sure to check out the following websites!

The Cabin Depot USA

The Cabin Depot US Website Logo

The Cabin Depot Canada

The Cabin Depot Canadian Website Logo

Solar Power Store

Solar Power Store Logo

Off Grid Heating Heat Pump vs Wood Stove

Table of Contents

Factors to Consider When Choosing an Off Grid Heating Method

Off grid Cabin In Winter forest with solar panels on roof and smoke coming out of the chimney.

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to off grid heating. In fact, we highly suggest having a primary source of heat and a secondary as a backup. Different heating methods have different advantages and disadvantages, depending on various factors. Here are some of the most important factors to consider when choosing an off grid heating method for your home:

Climate

The climate of your location plays a major role in determining your heating needs and options. For example, if you live in a mild or warm climate, you may not need a lot of heating, or you may be able to rely on passive heating methods, such as solar thermal panels or radiant heat. On the other hand, if you live in a cold or snowy climate like we do, you may need a more powerful and reliable heating system, such as a permanently mounted propane wall heater or a wood stove. You also need to consider the availability and cost of fuel sources, such as wood, propane, or the energy demand on a solar system.

Up here in Canada we’re all about the reliability of a high quality wood stove at our off grid home.

Annual Temperatures Around The Globe

Budget

Your budget is another important factor to consider when choosing an off grid heating method. You need to think about how much money you are willing to spend on your heating system, both initially and in the long run. Some heating methods, such as heat pumps or solar thermal panels, may have a high upfront cost, but they can also save you money in the long run by reducing your energy consumption and maintenance costs. Other heating methods, such as propane heaters or wood stoves, may have a lower upfront cost, but they can also incur higher ongoing costs due to fuel and maintenance expenses. While the reliability and simple operations of our wood stove have it’s perks, there’s that element of harvesting and processing fire wood. 

If splitting wood is your jam then check out the Kindling Cracker article we wrote.

Chopping Wood On A Stump With Axe

Efficiency

Efficiency is the measure of how much heat a heating system can produce per unit of energy consumed. The higher the efficiency, the less energy and money you will waste on heating your home. Efficiency is affected by various factors, such as the design, installation, and maintenance of the heating system, as well as the insulation and thermal mass of your home. You can improve the efficiency of your heating system by choosing a high-quality and well-sized product, installing it properly and safely, and maintaining it regularly. You can also improve the efficiency of your home by insulating and draft-proofing it, enhancing its thermal mass, and using smart thermostats and heating controls. 

We wrote an articles on how to select and install the perfect front door and how to properly install vinyl windows that are a must read if you really want to take your insulation game to the next level.

Snowy Cabin with Ws1 UbiBot Thermometer and Digital Thermostat

Safety

Safety is another crucial factor to consider when choosing an off grid heating method. Some heating methods, such as propane heaters or wood stoves, can pose potential risks and hazards, such as fire, carbon monoxide poisoning, or gas leaks. You need to be aware of these risks and take precautions to avoid them. For example, you need to install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, vent your heating system properly, and keep flammable materials away from it. You also need to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and safety guidelines, and consult a professional if you are unsure or have any questions.

We have a security system that not only has cameras but also monitors the internal and external temp of the cabin and can remotely alert us. We shared some of these items in our choose the right off grid gift article and also in our article about how to score the best off grid deals online!

Best Fire Detector and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

The Best Off Grid Heating Methods for Your Home

Off Grid Heating With Wood Stove in a Log Cabin

Now that you know what factors to consider when choosing an off grid heating method, let’s take a look at some of the best options available for your off grid home. We’ll describe how each method works, its pros and cons, and we will also provide you with some links to some of the best products and services on the market. We’ve partnered with only a few reputable off grid businesses such as Solar Power Store and The Cabin Depot Canada and The Cabin Depot USA

Here are the best off grid heating methods for your home:

Wood or Pellet Stove 

The lowest cost option to heat an off grid home for those who choose to process their own wood supply is a wood stove. It can provide more than enough heat and ambiance for any off grid enthusiast. However, a wood stove requires you to manually feed wood that has been processed, stored and properly seasoned. A pellet stove on the other hand burns tiny recycled wood pellets that are automatically fed into the stove that can greatly reduce the workload and requirement to tend to fire in the middle of the night. Both the wood stove and pellet stove consists of a firebox, where the fuel is burned, and a chimney, where the smoke and gasses are vented outside. 

They can be either freestanding or insert, depending on whether it is placed on the floor or inside an existing fireplace. Like the propane wall heater a wood stove or a pellet stove can also have a dedicated blower that distributes the heat more effectively throughout the home or a small stove top fan that operates from a heat differential. 

NOTE: A typical pellet stove may draw an average of 400 watts while the igniter is initially burning the pellets and then an average of 50 watts to maintain the burn. A typical 40 pound bag of pellets may cost between $4 – $9 and could roughly cost $35-$45 a month to heat a home.  

The Drolet Escape 1800 Wood Stove

Drolet Escape 1800 Wood Stove

Englander 25-CBPAH Pellet Stove