Living off-grid means living without public utilities, such as power, natural gas, phone lines, and water, in exchange for creating your own energy. Off-grid living continues to increase in popularity as more people choose to rely on solar power and fossil fuels to reduce their carbon footprint.
Off-grid living doesn’t mean living without modern conveniences—it means shifting how you use them. If you choose to live off-grid, you can still use appliances that are energy-efficient. While there are high upfront costs associated with replacing your current suite of appliances, the cost savings of living off-grid may pay off in the long run through reduced energy and utility bills.
Off-grid appliances are efficient systems that are powered by renewable energy, propane, or battery power. They make the transition to off-grid living easier, thanks to the modern conveniences and comfort they offer. While these energy-efficient appliances may cost more than lower efficiency models, the lower utility bills can eventually make up for the appliance costs.
Off-grid is in reference to the power grid, which delivers electricity. To go off-grid, you need to first cut off the electricity that’s generated by the power company and replace it with solar or wind power. Some choose to live entirely off-grid by digging wells and using a septic system for sewage. It’s also possible to go partly off-grid by supplying your own electricity while still using city water. Many people who choose the off-grid lifestyle use propane as their gas source, which is piped into the house like a natural gas line and refilled by a propane service. To heat water, you can switch to a tankless water heater, which heats water on demand, or as needed. A solar water heater is another water heating alternative that heats water by the sun.
The most common off-grid appliances are similar to mainstream appliances, only they save significantly more energy. Below are the most commonly used off-grid appliances and our pick for each.
There are many off-grid refrigerator and freezer options, as these appliances are the most common type of off-grid appliances. Options include propane refrigerators and freezers, solar appliances, as well as models that run solely on battery power. The SMETA 110V/Gas Propane Refrigerator Fridge Up Freezer has an attractive design and is completely silent (it doesn’t have a compressor or fans). This high-capacity system is easy to clean and comes with conveniences such as an egg tray, ice cube tray, clear balcony, and tall container storage.
Gas ovens and stoves use a considerable amount of energy, so an off-grid gas range is a major energy saver. Off-grid stoves typically have a wood stovetop and battery ignition that doesn’t require an electrical outlet.
The GE Freestanding Gas Range has a cordless battery ignition that safely and conveniently lights burners without an electrical outlet, provides enough room to cook an entire meal at once, and has sealed cooktop burners to contain spills to make cleaning quick and easy. It also comes with a kit to convert it from natural gas to propane.
Using an off-grid freezer can result in substantial energy savings. The Sundanzer Solar-Powered Refrigerator provides exceptionally low energy consumption and requires less expensive power systems, resulting in lower operating costs. This freezer can run on both a solar panel and a battery.
Off-grid dishwashers use limited water and electricity, are often portable, and do a thorough job cleaning dishes. They are designed to sit on a counter, similar to a toaster oven or microwave, but they can still be positioned out of sight. The Ivation Portable Dishwasher is compact, yet powerful enough to clean your everyday dishes—this particular model can wash up to six place settings at a time. It sits on the counter and hooks into most standard faucets.
Off-grid washing machines let you wash your clothes without using electricity. With an off-grid washing machine, you can still wash and maintain clean clothes even if you’re in a remote location away from an electricity source. The Giantex Full-Automatic Washing Machine is compact and lightweight and can hold up to 10 pounds of laundry at a time, saving you on water and electricity. You can add additional water to the machine, if necessary, and it comes with two drain pipes to efficiently drain the water.
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Deanna Kane is an interiors, home decor, and real estate writer. She enjoys taking on her own home renovations and design projects, and staying current on the local real estate market.