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Hi everyone, brand new to the forum.
Wanted to see if anyone could help with questions concerning powering things if the grid goes down.
Just recently retired and purchased a new home east TN. Trying to think ahead, I had a wood stove installed in case something happens and power is lost so I'd be able to heat and cook. I'd like to keep the fridge running and was wondering what are the best options. I have a gas generator, but I was thinking more along the lines of a sustained loss of the grid making longer term use of gas generators unrealistic.
I've tried researching solar, and was wondering is if feasible to use a solar kit (inverter with a set of panels) to power say the fridge, some lights, etc. Or if it were summer power a room a/c unit, etc.
Would love to hear recommendations on a: is it even feasible, b: is so, what type of system would I need to buy, and c: are there other / better alternatives.
Thank you.
 

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I guess a lot depends on your definition of sustained grid down. So much depends on the size and power draw of the refrigerator. Obviously, a grid tie system is useless unless you spend the extra money and go with a hybred system (batteries carging from your panels). And what do you do if something goes belly up. Lithium batteries will last maybe 11 years, if you believe the advertising. What happens after that.
I heard of people buying a chest freezer and using a special thermostat to allow it to be used as a fridge (cold air stays inside). Advice is cheap. You really need to do your own research and live with your decisions. Any advice, you get, do the research. My fridge is so power hungry, it would be silly to go with it. I have a great little 12 volt AC/DC fridge/freezer. Wish I could be more helpful.
 

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A: Feasible?
Yup. How big is your bank account?

B: What system?
Lots of answers to this question, but you need some hard numbers first. You need to know how many watts are required to start up your devices and to sustain their running. Refrigerators and AC units require compressors, which are HUGE power sucks when they kick on. These will be your big boys in the equation.

C: Alternatives?
For long term, off grid use, you're looking at solar, wind, or fossil fuel. Pick one or more and be ready to pay.

You need to figure out how many watts will be required to power the devices you want to keep running. This includes surge wattage, which can spike tremendously compared to running wattage.
You will then need to calculate the number of days you expect your battery bank to keep these things running if there is no sun. Build a bank that can hold that much power.
You will then need a solar array that can charge that battery bank in a reasonable amount of time.
Get ready to do a lot of fairly simple math.
 

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There are solar calculators on the internet. Find one and answer the questions to find out approximately how much power you will need. This calculator is good for both solar and noisy generators. What you intend to run will depend on how big of a system you will need. For me it started with the fridge, then the coffee maker then the extra freezer, etc.

I've been looking into solar generators and I can promise you they aren't cheap. And the more solar panels you add, the quicker they charge.
 

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This instead.
large LP tank in the yard and you’re set for SHTF long term grid down
BoF
 

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I've used a gas fridge and they work pretty well unless the temperature is over 90 F. Adding an exhaust fan to the flue, helps a lot. They sell solar exhaust fans.
Stolen from homesteady dot com: A typical 12 cubic foot propane refrigerator consumes an average 1.5 lbs. of propane per day, which works out to about 1,400 British thermal units of energy per hour or 32,225 BTU per day. Propane refrigerators are available as small as 4 cubic feet and as large as 18 cubic feet. So a 500 pound propane/LPG tank would last you a little less than a year. Better have a spare regulator & a thermocouple on hand, just in case.
 

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@58HUSTLER

I had a company come out and bid for what turned out to be a grid-tied solar system. After I caught my breath, I just laughed. Looked into a small portable solar "generator" for the fridge and my thoughts went like this:

The contents of the freezer would be used in a few weeks, maybe. If the grid is down that long, and the food runs out, there would be no way to replace it as grocery stores would be closed anyway. Spend a few thousand dollars to run the fridge for a few weeks to save maybe five hundred dollars worth of food? And once that food runs out, what? All that money spent on a now almost useless system, maybe for lights or a small AC? Not worth it to me.

My solution was to spend that money now on foods that require no refrigeration and no cooking, mostly canned.

If I had a family to feed, a large freezer full of meat, and a well that required power to pump water, I may rethink it. But for just me? Doesn't make sense.
 

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Hi everyone, brand new to the forum.
Wanted to see if anyone could help with questions concerning powering things if the grid goes down.
Just recently retired and purchased a new home east TN. Trying to think ahead, I had a wood stove installed in case something happens and power is lost so I'd be able to heat and cook. I'd like to keep the fridge running and was wondering what are the best options. I have a gas generator, but I was thinking more along the lines of a sustained loss of the grid making longer term use of gas generators unrealistic.
I've tried researching solar, and was wondering is if feasible to use a solar kit (inverter with a set of panels) to power say the fridge, some lights, etc. Or if it were summer power a room a/c unit, etc.
Would love to hear recommendations on a: is it even feasible, b: is so, what type of system would I need to buy, and c: are there other / better alternatives.
Thank you.
Sure, properly sizing a solar system with a battery bank is quite doable. And since it's powering a fridge it doesn't have to be very large.
There are a host of solar powered mini-split air conditioners on the market. Some are hybrid, meaning they run off solar during they day and transition to grid ac as the sun goes down. Others can be sized to run the mini-split with panels and batteries alone.
Take a look at Engineer775's YouTube site and search for solar mini-splits. He's done a few and they're worth looking into.
 
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