Most household appliances and lights use only a little electricity, easily supplied by the sun, wind and, micro-hydro. Solar electric homes convert most of their power to 120 volt AC to use as needed for household appliances and lights. Most common are lights, water pump, TV-VCR-Satellite, computer, stereo, vacuum cleaner, kitchen appliances sewing machine, power tools and office equipment. Even high wattage appliances like microwave oven, hair drier, toaster and clothes washer consume little power because their actual running time is short. Various water pumps, including deep well pumps up to 1/2 horsepower, are used. Special design electric refrigerators and freezers save energy in a solar home; gas and small DC powered refrigerators are also used.
No Major Electric Heat Producing Appliances: Electric heat, electric hot water, electric cook stove, electric heated clothes drier, and air conditioner account for 80 percent of typical monthly electric bills. It is absolutely not practical to operate major heating appliances with electricity. These uses from twenty to one hundred times the power your TV uses. Other fuels produce heat at a much lower cost. Use wood or propane fueled furnaces; propane cook stoves and water heaters; use gas fired clothes dryers (or just a rope in the sun). Building homes with passive solar heat design saves heating fuel for the rest of our life. Read our energy efficient appliance section for more information on ways to use less power.
Avoid Most Large Refrigerators and Freezers: Standard, non-Energy Star rated refrigerators have poor insulation and run long hours every day. Most still use well over 1.5 kilowatt hours per day, over 450 kilowatt hours per year. Careful shopping can turn up a few models using less power. Special electric refrigerators and freezers designed for solar powered homes use much less power, and are shown in our Refrigeration section. These highly insulated units can save 50% of the energy consumed by most ordinary refrigerators. Your savings in total cost of your power generating equipment are greater than the added cost of efficient appliances. Propane refrigerators are another good option.
Air Conditioning: is too energy intensive to be practical, other than a window unit in a very large solar power system. Evaporative cooling- swamp coolers work well in non-humid areas.
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