Are You Ready Series: Off Grid Refrigeration
It is a fact that our entire way of¬† life is dependent upon gadgets of convenience and being tied to the grid. ¬†The grid supplies us with electricity, provides air conditioning to cool our home, the home’s main water supply¬†is pumped by a fuel source, and our food is kept cool and fresh by the refrigerator in your kitchen.¬† Did you know that your refrigerator consumes on average 8% of your monthly electric bill?¬† If¬† a sudden emergency were to occur, all the food in your refrigerator is spoiled.¬† Some individuals do not see this as a real threat to their well being.¬† However, the threat is real and entirely possible.
In an article at SHTF Plan, a physicist states that a solar flare is a real possibility and could¬†pose a serious threat to our way of life.¬† This type of threat is such a concern that¬†in the physicist’s own words believes, “We’d be thrown back 100 years.”
If we do find ourselves in a sudden long term emergency where the use of electricity is non-existent, what are our options as far as¬†keeping food¬†rerefrigerated?¬† Are you equipped and prepared to live in an environment where there is no electricity?¬†¬†Many off-grid homesteaders have found a few¬†solutions that could help us out of with this predicament and save us on our monthly electric bill.
Off-Grid Solutions for Refrigerating Food
Battery Powered Refrigerators -¬†Many of the refrigerators that¬†operate on 12v or 24v¬†DC battery were designed for those that live on boats or in smaller living quarters such as an RV.¬† The DC motor compressor operates on 12 or 24 VDC.¬†¬†In comparison, the average off-the-shelf refrigerator operates at 250v-300v.¬†¬† However, a drawback to this type of refrigerator is the insulation walls¬†can be¬†quite thin making it¬†inefficient in terms of preserving it’s fuel¬†source.¬† Another drawback is these types of refrigerators are expensive and¬†could be maintenance intensive.
Gas/Propane Refrigerators – A gas or propane refrigerator¬†has no moving parts and use gas or propane as their main energy source.¬† Many boats, RV and off-grid homes use this type of refrigeration method.¬†¬† The average cost for a propane fridge is $800.¬† Many would argue that these types of refrigerators eat through gas, so plan on lots of trips to fill up on fuel.¬†Of course,¬†if you can afford a little extra, there are models that are “multi-fuel” — propane/AC, propane/DC, and propane/AC/DC (which might be the best way to go for “insurance” against possible shortage of one fuel/power supply).¬† Ideally it would be advisable for the homestead using this type of refrigerator¬†to have a natural gas well in order to have a continual free source of fuel.
Solar Powered Refrigerator -¬†These innovative types of refrigerators use evaporation to cool the box off.¬† Another type of solar powered refrigerator works with the help of a solar panel.¬† By creating¬†electricity with the help of the solar panels, it then uses the electricity like a normal plug in refrigerator.¬† Battery free refrigerators such as the SunDanzer DDR165 Battery-Free DC can be hooked right into the solar panel.¬† Many believe that solar refridgerators¬†are expensive, however, old refrigerators can be converted into solar powered refrigerators.¬† An article on Mother Earth News explains it all.¬† Layout Plans for a Solar¬†Powered Ice Maker
¬†Prototypes – The prototype zero-emission fridge doesn’t need gas, propane or kerosene and is powered by regular fire.¬† According to an article on ecogeek, “At that point it begins to grow cold, and it is inserted into an insulated container of some sort of a jug, or even a hole in the ground. It gets colder and colder, bringing the temperature of the container to just above freezing, and keeping it that way for about 24 hours.”¬† It is also fairly affordable to.¬† At $40 per unit you¬†can’t get any better than that!
Ice Houses – This is another alternative refrigeration source.¬† For more information on this refrigeration source, click here.
What ¬†Do I Do With¬†My Current Refrigerator?
If a long term emergency¬†occurs and you no more have use for your electrically operated refrigerator, convert it into a solar dehydrator or a solar cooker.¬† It could also be used as a bulk storage container for preparations.¬† This would be a great way to keep bulk preparedness items like wheat out of contact with insects and temperature fluctuations.¬† Additionally, some feel that¬†due to the¬†zero oxygen¬†inside the¬†refrigerators can be used as an anaerobic digester¬†to create bio-fuel.
Whether a person is planning for a hurricane, EMP or TEOTWAWKI,¬†electricity or lack there of, will pose a problem to those that are not prepared.¬† There is a lot of great information out there regarding this topic.¬† Finding which alternative refrigerator source works best for your family, requires some researching on your part.¬† Here are some additional articles that may be helpful:
This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition
Author: Tess Pennington
Author's Web Site:
Made Available By: Ready Nutrition
Date: September 16th, 2010
Related Categories: Alternative Power, Are You Ready, Cooking