This article may contain affiliate links where we earn a commission from qualifying purchases.
For anyone interested in learning how to heat their home without electricity, there are many alternatives that may work for you.
Learning about alternative heat sources can be advantageous in many ways to you and your family, but can also be a daunting task. There are so many new and innovative products that lay claim to work when you have a power outage or want to have other options for heat even when everything’s running fine. But how to best decide what will provide you with what you’re looking for may take some research.
Here are 6 alternative ways to heat your home without electricity:
- Use wood stoves or fireplaces
- Invest in kerosene heaters
- Try using biofuel cans
- Invest in propane heaters
- Install a wind system
- Install solar panels
Exploring alternative heat sources can be exciting, especially when it may result in making your home more prepared for an emergency, more energy efficient and save you some money in your wallet. But, many of the above options may lead you to having more questions about cost, installation and long term effectiveness. I’ve done the legwork for you, and will answer those questions and more, thus helping you to make the best choice in heat sources for you and your home when a backup heat source is necessary.
I love anything that has to do with home repair and have a passion for helping people figure out ways they can save money and live with less reliance on others. Alternative electricity is a fast-growing, exciting field, and the options for ways to be able to heat your home when you need another option other than electricity are endless. Let’s dive deeper into some of those that may prove to be perfect for you and your home.
6 Alternative Ways to Heat Your Home Without Electricity
From the first days of its discovery, electricity has been lighting up our worlds in a myriad of ways. Whether it’s to communicate, power up our appliances, or cool and heat our offices and homes, electricity is as much a part of our modern lives as running water and internet access.
But finding means to heat our homes with sources other than electricity has become increasingly popular in recent years. Whether you are concerned about rising electricity costs, want to live off the grid, wish to lower your carbon footprint, or just want to be prepared for a power outage, there are various options for heating a home that doesn’t involve electricity.
Some alternate forms are safer than others. Others are subsidized by local and state governments. Still, others may or may not work for you, depending on where you live and what type of lifestyle you have. Let’s learn more about six of the most popular alternative ways to heat your home right now.
1. Use Wood Stoves or Fireplaces
One of the best and most enjoyable ways to heat your home without electricity is through a wood-burning fireplace or woodstove.
At one time, a home would not have been built without a wood burning stove or fireplace. Used for centuries to not only keep families warm, wood stoves and fireplaces were also a source for cooking, boiling sterile water, and even were seen as the center of entertainment for the home – the hearth.
If you are fortunate enough to have a working fireplace or wood stove in your house, this will serve as an excellent alternative to electric heat in a time when a power outage has happened or you just want to save on some electric bills.
Wood stoves and fireplaces also give off a warm ambiance as well as actual heat, so they are ideal in rooms where crowds gather, like a living room or kitchen.
Heating your home with a wood stove or fireplace will take some preplanning. Having cut wood already prepared is necessary, and it should be kept dry before burning.
You’ll also need paper on hand and something to light it with.
Burning your own wood as a heat source is an economical and relatively easy way to keep your home warm when electricity isn’t ideal. Wood is a safe heat source and – as long as your wood stove or fireplace is well-ventilated – should not pose any health risks when in use.
It is highly suggested to have your chimney inspected and cleaned at least once every two years, or more often if the unit is in high use throughout the year.
2. Invest in Kerosene Heaters
A staple of homes that worry about power outages or live in remote areas where services can be less than ideal, is kerosene heaters.
Kerosene is a low-viscosity liquid, meaning it’s relatively clear and easy to burn. Like other chemical agents similar to it, kerosene can be very effective at radiating heat from a reliable source, but great care must be taken when using it, as it emits vapors that can be extremely toxic to humans and animals.
Though kerosene lamps and heaters have been used for years, the technology and material have improved significantly, making a kerosene heater significantly safer to use indoors now, versus in years past.
There are a wide variety of kerosene heaters to choose from. No matter what your budget, square footage, or plan for the heater, there is something for every need.
Some people may be looking for a kerosene heater to just help warm a specific space, while others may be looking for a unit to help them during a power outage.
If you are looking for a kerosene heater that can be used when the electricity is non-existent, you will want to purchase a battery-operated unit. These are becoming more widely available, and their sizes and heat production will vary.
One crucial point…kerosene can be toxic if not used correctly.
Always make sure to use your kerosene heater in a well-ventilated room and place it by a window that you can leave slightly cracked.
There are also now tons of options for kerosene heaters that are ventless models, which means they produce substantially less chemical fumes than the older, vented models.
Be vigilant in your care of a kerosene heater and it will be a good alternative for heating your home without electricity.
3. Try Using Biofuel Cans
Biofuel is another alternate way to heat when your electricity is out, or you just want to cut down on your costs.
Biofuel cans can be purchased online, or from most large hardware or camping stores. One can will usually give off anywhere from seven to nine hours of heat.
Biofuel burns relatively clean and is much less expensive than some alternatives, such as fossil fuels. Biofuel is 100% petroleum free and gives off minimal carbon emissions.
These biofuel cans give off a smell similar to a mildly scented candle, but produce significantly more heat, as the flame can be adjusted.
Though they are a decent source of alternative heat in a pinch, biofuel cans are really best for cooking when your electricity is out, instead of actually heating a home.
But, they will give off some warmth and are great to have around when you are low on other options.
They also have an unlimited shelf life and are easy to use as well as transport, so investing in a package of four or more will most likely not be wasted.
4. Invest in Propane Heaters
Though both kerosene and propane heaters burn off of fuels, propane is more widely available than kerosene, and therefore easier to get your hands on if you find yourself suddenly needing it, due to a power outage or some other reason why you want to use a propane heater instead of electricity to heat your home.
Propane heaters work similar to kerosene heaters, heating the gas internally as radiant heat, then emitting it into a space for warmth.
Propane heaters come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, prices, and efficiency. Whether you need one to just heat a small room or provide warmth for a large area, you can find one that will fit your needs.
Like kerosene heaters, propane heaters are available as a plug-in or can be battery-operated, though larger models may be hard to find in battery-only styles.
Because propane is heavier than air, it will descend to the lowest part of the room and can be dangerous if there is not adequate oxygen and ventilation. For this reason, it is extremely important that you use caution when operating a propane heater and look for models that have automatic shut-off valves if the oxygen detection of a room becomes too low.
Many newer units also come with a built-in tip-over device that will also shut down the unit if it is at a dangerous angle or falls over completely.
5. Install a Wind System
Not too long ago, this would have sounded like an impossible idea. Now, it’s happening more and more frequently, in homes all over the world that want to have a way to ensure that they have heat when they don’t have electricity.
We all know that wind is an excellent generator of electricity, especially in areas that don’t have reliable electricity or that sun-powered (solar) heat may not be very efficient, especially in areas that tend to have a significant amount of cloud coverage.
Windmill farms have popped up all over the United States and beyond to help produce electricity for communities, but how about installing a small wind electric system of your own, for your home use?
Installing one of these eco-friendly alternatives to electric heat is a forward thinking idea, and can be a fantastic solution for you if energy conservation is important to you, your home is situated in a place that receives a fair amount of wind, and if you have the space to have the windmill(s) installed.
Most experts suggest a home has wind gusts of at least 14 mph on a regular basis in order to generate enough electricity to heat your home through the winter, depending on how low the temperatures go, or how long a power outage may be for.
6. Install solar panels
Finally, another fantastic option for alternative heat would be to install solar panels on your home’s roof.
Like wind systems, solar panels can act as a great way to produce electricity and heat, if the environmental factors are ideal.
Solar panels need a significant amount of sunshine per day to work effectively. Depending on where you live, how much direct sun you receive, and which way your home’s roof is pitched will all be factors in the effectiveness of your solar heating abilities.
It is important to have a certified solar panel expert discuss the options with you for equipping your home with solar energy and then doing the installation of your system.
Many local and state governments now give large credits and incentives to homeowners who are interested in installing a solar system in their homes, making this an ideal heat alternative for times beyond just when a power outage might occur.