With the cost of living constantly on the rise, the major energy companies all increasing their prices and industry experts predicting they will continue to do so for the foreseeable future, the prospect of living ‘off-grid’ has never been more enticing.
The phrase off-grid has rapidly increased in popularity and so has the lifestyle choice itself, although the concept of sustainable living is a much longer-established one.
It essentially refers to being able to live without relying on the helping hand and pricing structures of the big corporations. At the most basic level (at least using modern measures) that involves being able to provide your own food, warmth and power. There are people better qualified than us to discuss food and generating electricity, so we’ll stick to our specialist subject: warmth.
Wood-burning stoves are the go-to form of heating for many people choosing to live off-grid. There are several reasons for this. Firstly, it’s a cheap, reliable form of heating.
Not only that, it’s also reassuringly straightforward. You’re not at the mercy of temperamental technology with a wood-burning stove.
Another reason is that, if you’re planning on going off-grid, you tend to pick a rural or semi-rural location. After all, you need somewhere to grow the veg! That location usually brings with it a ready supply of trees and, as a consequence, free fuel.
Finally, many people who decide to follow the subsistence route tend to have strongly held beliefs on sustainability and green living. The clean heating provided by a wood-burning stove appeals to them on environmental grounds as well as economic ones.
What to do once you’ve decided to go off-grid
When you’ve decided to start generating your own heat, the first consideration is to work out what you need your stove to do. This will largely depend on what other forms of energy you have in your home and what purpose they serve. For instance, many of those living off-grid combine a wood-burning stove with solar or wind energy to generate electricity and, in some cases heat their water.
The most comprehensive option available is a boiler stove. This will not only provide heat for the home directly, but also heat your water and radiators. These are very welcome home comforts for anyone living off-grid!
If you opt for a normal wood-burning stove rather than a boiler stove, it’s important to buy one that will provide sufficient heat for your home. You might choose one that is ‘too big’ for the room its in. This will allow you to light small fires in normal conditions and operate the stove at its maximum when you want to heat adjacent rooms, too.
Whichever option you choose, a key factor is insulation. A well insulated house will allow you to make the most of the heat generated by your wood-burning stove.