Can You Heat Your Home Without Electricity?

If you live in a part of the country with higher-than-average electricity costs, you may be searching for anything you can do to reduce your monthly electricity consumption. Unfortunately, heating your home -- even using oil, propane, or natural gas as fuel -- can raise your electric bill, as the process of igniting this fuel and blowing the resulting warm air through your ducts requires some sort of power source. If you're determined to reduce your energy bills, you may benefit from a more efficient type of heating system that can draw its electrical needs from solar power, rather than from your home's wiring. Read on to learn more about how you can completely eliminate the use of electricity when heating your home.

Exterior wood-burning stove 

Unlike interior wood-burning stoves, which don't generally have a blower fan and operate on the principle of radiant heat (while venting smoke through a chimney), exterior wood burning stoves are installed a safe distance outside your home. These stoves vent smoke through a stovepipe and funnel the heat produced by the wood combustion through buried pipes and into a pump inside your home, which diffuses the heat through your ductwork. In this way, an exterior wood-burning stove is similar to a propane or natural gas furnace, simply with a different (and more energy-efficient) heating source. 

Because these stoves use a blower motor rather than radiant heat, they do require a small amount of electricity to keep this motor running and air circulating throughout your home. Fortunately, this energy threshold is low enough it can generally be obtained entirely through solar power -- even if you live in cloudier climates. 

By installing a small solar panel and battery near your blower motor, you'll be able to collect and store solar energy that can be used to power this motor and heat your home. Even if you experience a few cloudy days and can't collect much power during this time, you'll be able to take advantage of the stored solar energy in your battery to serve as a backup. This will allow you to heat your home at all times -- even during lengthy power outages -- and can help avoid expensive problems like frozen pipes.

Geothermal heat pump 

Another type of heating and cooling system that operates on very little electricity and can easily be sustained with a solar panel and battery is the geothermal heat pump. These pumps derive hot and cold air from water flowed through pipes buried beneath the ground. As this water flows through the buried pipes, it reaches the same constant cool temperature found in caves or other openings beneath the earth's surface. In winter, a small compressor is used to extract heat from this temperate air (much easier than extracting heat from subzero temperatures outside). In summer, air is flowed over these cool pipes and then circulated throughout your home. 

Because these heating systems don't depend on any external fuel source, they're low maintenance and ultra energy-efficient. You should be able to power a geothermal heat system using only solar electricity, and the purchase and installation of a solar-powered geothermal system could save you money at tax time by qualifying you for a number of federal energy-efficiency and home improvement credits. 

The best electricity-free heating option for your home will depend largely on your budget, your access to free (or cheap) firewood, and your willingness or ability to keep a wood-burning stove stoked regularly. While a geothermal system is generally a bit pricier than a wood-burning stove, it's also low-maintenance, which can be an advantage during times you'll be away from home or simply don't want to step outside. Visit sites like for additional info.