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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My fireplace has a "heat-o-lator" -- a small fan on either side of the fireplace, concealed inside the hearth, that when turned on, draws in cold air, circulates it around the firebox, warms the air and blows it out vents just above the fireplace. I have used this in winter and it does a really great job of heating the living areas of this house, much better than just the fireplace alone, where most heat goes up the chimney. To turn it on, you flip a switch on the wall nearby, just like a light switch.

There are two things I would like (but not need) to power should the grid go down, and the first one (in winter) would be this heat-o-lator. I am trying to figure out how I could power this with a solar generator. Both fans are hardwired to the fan motor which is hardwired to the wall switch. No way, currently (sorry, no pun intended), to plug those fans into a generator/battery outlet. Can I either direct power to the wall switch box, or to the fan motor directly, in a way that I can plug the fans into the gen outlet?

As for the second item, that is the fridge. That can be plugged in directly to the generator, no problem there.

I understand amps, watts, volts, amp hours and all of that. I have installed ceiling fans, light fixtures, simple stuff like that. But it's how to get the power to those two fans.

Help, anybody? Hiring an electrician is not out of the question but it would be nice to do this myself, or at least understand how to do it.

Thanks!
 

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Get a kill-a-watt meter (amazon) and use it to determine just how much power your devices consume. The big drawback with solar generators is battery capacity. The kill-a-watt can tell you how much power you use over say a 24 hour period. Then you can check that against what the battery capacity is in your choice of solar generator. Most times you will find those units can’t run a fridge, freezer, or fan motors for very long.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
I haven't taken things apart enough to see what the power draw is on those fans, but like others have said, I am sure the draw is very low.

Agreed. Very low power consumption. They also make thermal fans that run strictly on heat, no electrical power. These can be found as wood stove fans.

Really?? Hmmmm.... I will definitely check into that because if that is doable, I may go that route! Thank you for that info!

As for the fridge, yeah, that may be a problem. The label inside the fridge says "7.9Amps". Not sure I trust that. The possible lack of refrigeration is my "weak point". If it is winter, I can just put things outside on the back porch. So, winter -- run the fireplace fans. Summer, the fridge.

Maybe I will get a small freezer with low draw. Or I could just live without one; wouldn't be the first time I have done that, lol, and 99% of my food stash doesn't require refrigerating and 90% doesn't require cooking.

The biggest thing for me is heat in the winter. My house system is electric, that isn't gonna work. Backup #1 is the kitchen range, which is nat gas and I can use that if power goes out and IF gas delivery continues. Backup #2 is a small propane camping heater and 100# of propane, which would probably last a few weeks to a month. Backup #3 is the fireplace. I have three weeks' worth of wood right now but will increase that substantially before fall. I also have access to a wood source, IF my vehicle runs, IF the roads are accessible (not blocked by ???). I know everything will eventually run out. After that, it'll be time to put on my big girl panties, if I can remember where I put them.

EDITED TO ADD: I checked out the wood stove fans. Very unfortunately, I don't think that would work in this application. The fans activate at 185 degr (give or take) and the space where the room air is drawn in is a "cold" space. Pooh.
 

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Okay, my two cents..

I rode out this past winter in a 14 YO 26FT camper. Two inch thick walls with Styrofoam wall and floor inserts. Had five days with neighbors begging for the heater in my camper due to no electrical power. I used a reconditioned Mr. Buddy Portable Buddy heater running off a 20# bottle. No, I didn't buy a bunch of green bottles, cheaper to spend 10 bucks on a inline filter and 26 bucks on a 12 FT hose with correct connection on both ends. All items can be found at your local Tractor Supply. I even order the Mr. Buddy online from Tractor Supply for another 50 bucks, a new one is somewhere around $100.00 at the time. There are larger ones for larger areas needing heated and cost is a little more. I ran it on low during the day and on high during night time. Refilled a bottle about every three to four days, kept two on hand so I could replace at night if I ran out. I didn't use the onboard heater due to all the rust and holes in it from years of not being used and properly being cared for.

Some say it isn't safe to use that type of heater in a small space, that's a bunch of BS. I know families that have lived for generations using nothing but propane or natural gas space heaters for winter heat. I had a carbon monoxide detector on day and night. Also, used a smoke detector and oxygen sensor and never had one go off even when I stayed in the camper for two days straight without opening a door or window. I dressed the way I have always dressed during winter while in doors. I even sat around in my boxers for a full day watching the idiot box to keep from being overly bored the day most of the snow hit the ground. I even baked an apple pie one morning and baked a loaf of bread that evening before bed. The only problem I had was I almost slipped down the metal steps going out to scrap the snow off my solar panels. No electric, who cares? Maybe my neighbors is the only ones I can think of around my place.

A few thing to remember, don't hook up the propane bottle without an inline filter. I have heard of these little green bottle heaters plugging due to contaminants in the bottle, hose or propane. Can't verify that but I'm not willing to take the chance when 10 bucks can save me buying a new heater or waiting for mine to be cleaned out or repaired. Off seasons I keep my hose closed inside a one gallon zip lock bag to keep dirt out of hose and fittings and an empty green bottle screwed into the heater to keep dirt out of it. You can also use the hose and filter on your green bottle Coleman stove when you go camping or if you are off grid. It works pretty good when electric power is off during the summer or you want to cook outside. Some people even used their Coleman stove for heat when the power was out but it cost them more due to the stove using more propane per day to heat the room.

Be prepared and stay safe!
 

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Trace the circuit back to the Breaker Panel, Put a transfer switch in that circuit as well as any other circuit that has appliances you want power by the generator. Then when power goes out, plug the generator into the transfer switch and activate it. Just make sure you turn off all unnecessary devices on those circuits. You could even replace the outlets on those circuits with a receptacle or plate with a different color so you know which ones are the "emergency" circuit.
 
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