Off Grid Food Storage – How To Prepare For Food Shortages Off Grid

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One thing that the COVID-19 global pandemic has taught us is that you can never be too safe in keeping enough food supplies available for you and your family to safely shelter in place.

Disruptions to the food supply chain accounted for many families’ feelings of panic over their own food supply. While the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent panic are both thankfully receding, many of you may be asking, how do I guard against food disruption and make sure I have an adequate supply going forward? As part of a protection plan to guard against instances such as these you want to have enough food on hand to support you and yours long enough to see you through situations exactly like this.

This means you must have enough refrigerator and especially freezer space to accommodate this supply. COVID-19 served as a reality check for most of us in planning and organizing food storage through weeks, if not months, of the unexpected. Many of us found – especially those of us who live off grid – that we do not have enough refrigerator or freezer storage to accommodate our needs for a larger supply of food.

Be it inclement weather, family emergencies, a global pandemic, or other unforeseen issues; by accounting for your family’s food needs and planning ahead you put yourself into a position of power. At the very least, by having a supply of food easily accessible, you and your family will have peace of mind, allowing you to ride out any calamity and need to shelter in place. This will buy you time to get your bearings and initiate additional courses of action as needed. While you might not need to guard against long term shortages, it makes good sense to prepare enough for your family’s needs until you can easily resupply. There were regions during the shortages that were additionally hit with failing power and floods further adding to the uncertainty.

As part of your family’s off grid food storage plan, let’s explore options on how you can set yourself up for security and success.

Off Grid Cold Food Storage

Living off grid (without power) poses many issues that need solving including cold food storage. Some people choose to use an ice house. Ice houses are well insulated single room sheds that store ice blocks harvested during the winter for a homestead and with ice lasting until June or July. Not only is that a great deal of work, most of us still need cold food after the ice melts! Also, many of us don’t want or need such a large amount of cold storage. Thankfully there are quite a few options for cold food storage other than the old ice house. Today’s off grid cold storage options are much more reliable, technologically advanced and space saving.

Propane Refrigerators

If you are living off grid or have a cabin without power, there is no better refrigeration option than a propane refrigerator. Nowadays gas fridges are made in large sizes which is great if you’re looking to store up a supply of food. Propane refrigerators are quite easy to set up and very reliable. Setting up a propane fridge consists of hooking your fridge up to a propane tank and lighting it. That’s it. Propane refrigerators are the longest lasting refrigeration option especially when compared to a traditional compressor fridge. There are no moving parts on a propane fridge making them exceptionally durable. Also, any maintenance or parts replacement is remarkably simple to complete, even for the least mechanical person. We tell everyone, if you have access to propane, buy a propane refrigerator, you won’t regret it.

Our propane refrigerator recommendation: EZ Freeze 21 Cubic Foot >>

Propane Freezers

Propane freezers are another excellent way to store a large amount of food to prepare for something like COVID-19. Like a propane refrigerator, propane freezers are also easy to set up and exceptionally reliable. These freezers keep all food at or below zero degrees Fahrenheit and have a great recovery time. They have no problem freezing items from room temperature. A 22 cubic foot propane freezer is large enough to fit a whole steer or elk! For off grid frozen food storage, your best option will always be a propane freezer.

The interior of the Blizzard Propane Gas Freezer with shelvesOur propane freezer recommendation: EZ Freeze Blizzard 22 Cubic Foot

Solar Refrigerators (DC Powered Refrigerators)

Solar refrigerators and freezers are an off grid refrigeration option with the ability to run on battery power produced by solar panels. The beauty of a DC/Solar fridge is that it does not require you to be reliant on any other power or fuel source other than the sun. The efficiency of a solar refrigerator allows you to store fresh meat and produce for later use. The draw back of a solar refrigerator or freezer is that you need sun, batteries and solar panels for these to work. Maintaining batteries can get wearisome and replacing them is expensive. However, for many living off grid, solar powered fridges and freezers are a great option.

The largest and best DC Solar Refrigerator: Sunstar 16 Cubic Foot Refrigerator/Freezer

 

Interior with lid open white chest freezerThe best DC Solar Chest Freezer: 21 Cubic foot DC Solar Chest Freezer

Fresh Off Grid Food Options

If you have the means to establish fresh resources on your property such as laying hens, livestock, honey bees, a vegetable garden, fruit trees, nut trees, and/or feed crops to support your homestead to any degree will further alleviate stress or food insecurity for your family.

Hunting and food foraging locally is another great way to source food for your family. Many states offer over-the-counter hunting tags for small game and even for larger game like deer or elk. Being cognizant of your local laws and regulations, even during times of crisis, ensures that you can safely obtain resources. Educating yourself so that you are well versed in edible plants in your region goes a long way towards rounding out your off grid food planning and identifying resources for you and your family.

Best Food For Off Grid Living Storage

While ideally maximizing your fresh food options is the most ideal; even our seasons dictate that we must account for leaner months throughout the year. Add in the unexpected events of inclement weather, failed crops or unforeseen global events and it’s always a good idea to have food preservation options so that you can be as prepared as possible. Here are a few ideas on what foods to keep on hand in your food reserves.

Off grid food preservation

There are a variety of food preservation methods that can be done at home. Here is our short list of some of the food preservation methods that you can learn so you can DIY to extend your food reserves at home.

Preserving food with:

  • Oil
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Vinegar
  • Pickled
  • Alcohol preserving

Fermenting:

  • Lactic Fermentation
  • Sauerkraut/Kimchi

Other techniques to preserve food:

  • Air Drying (herbs/spices/onions/garlic)
  • Dehydrating (jerky/fruit/veggies)
  • Smoking
  • Aging
  • Cultures
  • Water glassing

There is a wealth of knowledge to be had by joining some local food preservation organizations online or in your community!

Off grid food storage

Dry goods and commercially canned goods can be stored on shelves anywhere you have available space – in the garage, a spare room, a closet or even under the bed.

For storage of cool foods, find a cooler space in the home to store them like a cellar or a basement. Potatoes, onions, turnips, etc. store well in dark and cool spaces. Off grid refrigerators and freezers can store milk, meat, cheese and other perishable items.

A Little Bit About Off Grid Food Preparation

Aside from eating canned or dried foods, should you actually want to cook your food; your off grid options are often limited to the grill or an open campfire. However, let’s explore additional off grid range and ovens.

Off grid oven/stove

Battery spark propane cooktops and ovens are the best option for cooking off the grid. Unlike a traditional gas oven, these require no electricity to function. Traditional gas ovens purchased at a big box retailer like Home Depot still need to be plugged in to use the oven due to the glowbar. This is why they still come with a plug. However, a battery spark stove needs absolutely no power to function. The burners and oven can be lit with a match if there are no batteries available.

Range with backsplash clock oven window 4 burners stainless steelThe best off grid oven/stove: Peerless Premier 30” Battery Spark Range

Conclusion

As a consequence of not having off grid food preservation, supply or storage, the panic and fear of the coronavirus has fully illustrated to many of us that we could be ill prepared to navigate uncertainty in our food supply. Being at the mercy of poorly functioning supply lines, increasing demand, panic buyers, power outages and restricted travel is not the time to discover that you don’t have enough of the basic necessities for survival.

We hope that this guide serves you and your family well in identifying opportunities that you can maximize for ensuring that you weather the unforeseen easily and comfortably.

Please contact us should you have any questions on any of our off grid cold food storage options or our off grid ovens, stoves or cook tops. Also, check out our gas lamps, solar powered air conditioning, and solar-friendly dc powered ceiling fans to ride out any sheltering in place event in further comfort.

Full-time use of a gas refrigerator in your home

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Full-time use of a gas refrigerator in the homeWhile many propane refrigerators have been used in RVs, cabins and vacation homes, there is a growing number of households that have made a complete transition from electric to gas refrigerators. Warehouse Appliance discusses full-time use of gas refrigerators in your home.

The initial startup up rules are basically the same for the full-time gas refrigerator user as they are for those who supplement with gas:

  • Don’t fill up the fridge with any food or liquids that are not already cold or frozen.
  • Keep the door of the fridge closed as much of the time as possible.
  • Set the temperature setting to the maximum.

Make sure you adhere to the above rules when you bring groceries home from your regular shopping trips. It is always best to load the food goods in smaller amounts. Try to do this at timed intervals. Ambient temperature food should be loaded at no more than 10 pounds every 2 hours. Also, make sure to stabilize your temperature and thermostat setting. Keep your eye on the refrigerator interior temperatures. In a gas refrigerator, the thermostat setting will mostly affect the refrigerator compartment temperatures. The freezer will not have a thermostat.

Temperature setting is accomplished by the thermostat that is at the very bottom on the outside front near or behind the kick plate. The control panel is labeled with numbers that are merely a reference and do not correspond with the actual temperature.

Whether you go with a gas refrigerator part-time or full-time, Warehouse Appliance is here to help and answer any of your questions. If you’re thinking about purchasing a propane refrigerator or have questions about the one you already own, call the gas appliance experts at Warehouse Appliance today at 928-636-1955.

Why you need a propane refrigerator

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Warehouse Appliance is the leader in propane refrigerators and has the best warranty in the business.Who knows why you need a propane refrigerator better than the leader in propane refrigerators? As the industry leader, Warehouse Appliance, can help you select the right propane fridge for your cabin, vacation home, RV or hunting camp.

Reasons to own a gas fridge

  • Gas refrigerators are quiet – Since gas refrigerators don’t have a compressor they are completely quiet.
  • You live off grid – With no conventional means of energy to power an electric refrigerator, you’re limited to where you can live, but a gas refrigerator doesn’t confine your choices. Unlike electricity, no matter where you are, you can transport and easily store the fuel necessary for operating a gas fridge.
  • Your location is prone to power outages – For some of us, every year brings tornadoes, hurricanes, fires and floods. Even in the city, homeowners experience power outages – but it won’t matter if you have a propane refrigerator. Gas refrigerators keep on running, keeping your food items cold and safe. If you’ve suffered extended power outages, you know that replacing a refrigerator full of spoiled food is expensive.
  • Gas refrigerators are efficient – Not only do they run colder than a conventional fridge, but they have far fewer running parts than a compressor system. Fewer parts mean fewer failures. In fact, there are virtually no moving parts in a propane gas refrigeration system.

Considering all these reasons, anyone can see that choosing a gas fridge is a smart choice. No matter where you live, whether in the heart of the city, off the grid, or on the road, Warehouse Appliance can help you select the right size fridge to meet your family’s needs. For more information call Warehouse Appliance today at 928-636-1955.

Using propane in your home

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Propane for appliances in your homeDid you know that there is an efficient, safe, and reliable alternative to electricityfor many appliances? Warehouse Appliance would like to tell you about using propane in your home.

Because of its safety, efficiency, and dependability, many people are using propane to go off the grid. Others use propane to supplement the electricity in their home. Propane is also a very affordable solution that’s ideal for families who want to minimize their carbon footprint and go a little greener.

There are many benefits you will receive by using propane in your home. Here are several:

  • You will save money. Heating your water with propane rather than electricity will save you approximately 30 percent of your water heating costs per year. A propane clothes dryer will save you about 50 percent compared with the use of an electric dryer. You’ll save plenty by using a gas refrigerator, too.
  • Propane is safe. Propane tanks are 20 times more puncture resistant than those used for gasoline, ethanol, and methanol. Home propane tanks are often buried. If you do experience a propane leak, the added odorant (similar to the smell of rotten eggs) will help you detect it so you can get it repaired.
  • Versatility. When people think of propane, outdoor grills often come to mind. but propane fuels many household appliances: home heating or your boiler, your fireplace, clothes dryer, range, refrigerator and your oven can all run on propane. If your home is equipped to use propane, you have a wide range of choices available.
  • Propane is environmentally safe. Propane is listed as a clean fuel in the 1990 Clean Air Act and the Energy Policy Act of 1992. In fact, propane burns cleaner than any other fossil fuel.

Warehouse Appliance would be happy to answer any questions you may have about gas refrigerators and propane appliances. We are here to help you as you consider the advantages of using propane in your home. Call the gas appliance experts at Warehouse Appliance today at 928-636-1955.

Why people choose propane refrigerators

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Warehouse Appliance can help you choose the right propane refrigerator for your home or cabin.Have you heard of propane refrigerators but don’t really understand why people choose them? Warehouse Appliance, the leader in propane refrigerators, can help you understand why and how to select a propane refrigerator that is perfect for remote cabins, vacation homes, hunting camps, or your RV.

Here are some of the reasons people choose propane refrigerators.

  • You live off the grid.
  • You don’t like the noise an electric refrigerator makes.
  • You have considered the efficiency of a gas fridge.
  • Your home is subject to natural disasters and power outages.

One of the most basic necessities in life is food. The need for food storage is practical, and how food is stored affects your health. Cold food storage when done properly is important for healthy living. Consider all these reasons and you will see why a gas fridge is right for you.

All refrigerators must run from an energy source. One of the gas fridge advantages is how easy it is to store propane and unlike electricity, it can be transported. While most homeowners run the risk of losing electricity during a thunderstorm, the propane refrigerator will continue running, keeping your perishables fresh.

One power outage of more than two days can completely decimate your food supply in your electric fridge. With the cost of food within the fridge being upwards of $500, it pays to have a gas fridge as a backup unit.

The myth that a gas refrigerator does not cool as well as an electric is not true. Not only will they run colder than an electric unit, the absorption unit has far fewer parts than an electric compressor system. Fewer parts mean less chance of a failure. Other than the thermostat, there are virtually no moving parts within the propane gas refrigeration system.

Warehouse Appliance has the largest inventory of gas refrigerators in the U.S., and we can help you find the right gas fridge for you. We would be happy to answer any questions you may have about gas refrigerators and propane appliances. We are here to help you as you consider the advantages of using propane in your home. Call the gas appliance experts at Warehouse Appliance today at 928-636-1955.

Now is a good time to switch to a propane refrigerator

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switch to propane fridgeIs there a good time to switch to a propane refrigerator? Warehouse Appliance thinks so. If you’re an eager outdoor enthusiast, you probably already know how unimaginably liberating propane appliances are. Propane appliances afford their owners the freedom and pleasure to enjoy hot meals, hot water, cold food safely stored, lighting and more no matter where they are because propane appliances don’t suffer from the failures of appliances dependent on electricity.

There has been an increasing interest in switching out traditional electrical appliances for the incomparable dependability and security of propane appliances. With propane, the property owner stores propane in a tank, or tanks, which can vary in size and may require refilling every year or several times a year depending on the climate, where you live, the number of people occupying the house and how many appliances are using propane. And propane users can also shop for the best rates which traditional utility users usually cannot do.

Q: So when is the best time to switch out your old appliances for dependable, affordable propane appliances?

A: As soon as your situation allows you to swap them out because the price of freedom is more than worth it. When you consider the cost of dependence on undependable conventional sources of power and the cost to replace food after a power outage, or the inability to have hot water or lighting and the very limited availability of electricity in remote areas, you can easily see the benefits of switching.

Whenever you are ready to upgrade to a gas refrigerator, or any other propane appliance, Warehouse Appliance can answer your questions and help you select the right appliances for your needs. Call Warehouse Appliance today at 928-636-1955.

Absorption refrigeration

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absorption refrigeration diagramAt Warehouse Appliance, we have spent years educating homeowners on the benefits of gas refrigerators, but how do they work? They work on the principle of absorption refrigeration, but first, we need to define what absorption refrigeration means.

Simply put, absorption refrigeration “absorbs” the heat inside the fridge.
Removing the heat makes the air inside the fridge cold. The absorption unit or “Cooling Unit” is located in the back of the fridge in a sealed box which contains an array of steel pipes.

Both propane and natural gas are commonly used in absorption refrigerators.
The gas is used to heat the absorption unit. The heat produced by the gas, which is located at the bottom of the unit, activates a chemical mixture inside the cooling unit. When hot, this mixture changes from a liquid into a vapor and begins moving to the top of the unit in the same way coffee is made in a percolator.

Once at the top of the unit, the chemical mixture – which is now ammonia vapor – condenses into liquid ammonia. Now in the liquid state, the ammonia begins pouring down the steel pipes. The pipes, which are in a zig-zag pattern, go through the freezer compart where the liquid ammonia begins absorbing the heat.

Because it is at the top of the refrigerator, the liquid ammonia absorbs the heat in the freezer compartment first and continues flowing down to the fridge. If the ammonia has not reached its maximum absorption in the freezer it will continue to absorb heat from the refrigerator as it moves down the pipes. This process is the reason the freezer cools down before the lower part of the refrigerator.

Now you know the basics of absorption refrigeration. If you have questions about gas refrigerators or freezers for your home or cabin, call Warehouse Appliance at 928-636-1955.

Facts about propane gas

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What is propane gas, and why is it a good energy source for refrigerators? Warehouse Appliance, with the largest inventory of gas refrigerators in the U.S., shares some thoughts on propane gas.

What is propane gas?

Propane gas is sometimes known as liquefied petroleum gas, or LPG. This is a gas normally compressed and stored as a liquid. Propane is nontoxic, colorless, and almost odorless. There is a well-known identifying odor that is added to propane so it can be detected in case of a leak. Propane is commonly used for home heating, cooking, water heating, and as a fuel for heavy industrial and agricultural machinery. When used as vehicle fuel, propane is known as propane autogas. Propane is an especially effective source for refrigeration.

Is propane gas readily available?

Although primarily a byproduct of domestic natural gas processing, propane is also produced from crude oil refinement. Propane supplies in the United States are becoming more and more abundant. This is largely because of increased supplies of natural gas.

The United States produces more than enough propane to meet the demand. In fact, the U.S. is the world’s largest exporter of LP gas as well as the largest producer. As a clean-burning alternative to gasoline and diesel fuel, propane is increasing in popularity because it is so affordable! Domestic propane production is expected to continue to grow rapidly, keeping propane prices low relative to oil prices.

Warehouse Appliance hopes this discussion of the nature of propane gas has been informative. We have been educating people for years on the benefits of using a propane gas refrigerator. If you have any questions about gas refrigerators or freezers for your home or cabin, call Warehouse Appliance at 928-636-1955.

About ammonia refrigerators and the absorption system

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What does the Ammonia do in the Absorption System?

Ammonia refrigerators, also known as gas refrigerators, operate from an absorption system that use ammonia as the active key ingredient are made specific as a non electric appliance. Typically you will see these units as propane gas refrigerators in recreational vehicles. Ammonia is the key ingredient among 4 total ingredients within the cooling unit also referred to as the absorption system. Water is the other liquid ingredient. Sodium Chromate is a powder substance that acts as an anti corrosive. This combats the highly corrosive ammonia. The fourth ingredient is Hydrogen gas which pressurizes the system to over 300 PSI. This is also true for ammonia freezers

Another common question is “Will freezing temperatures affect the cooling unit since it is filled with liquid?” The liquid is pressurized by the Hydrogen gas therefore it protects the liquid from freezing. The absorption system can be in use or just static in sub freezing temperatures without adverse affects.

With all 4 ingredients mixed together, the color is a bright yellow/green which is the original color of the Sodium Chromate. This color aids in leak detection. Either in wet form or dry state, the bright yellow/green color showing anywhere on the cooling unit coils will signal a leak. The other tell tale sign of a leak is the smell of ammonia. Ammonia has a very strong odor and is sometimes used in cleaning agents. it can literally take your breath away. In high doses it can be dangerous. For the most part, a propane powered refrigerator is considered safe and have been in continuous use in some cases for over 60 years. Read more about this…

About the Absorption Refrigerator

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What is an Absorption Refrigerator?

What is an Absorption Refrigerator? It is exactly what the name implies. The unit refrigerates by absorbing the warm air from the interior and expelling it to the exterior. Within the gas refrigeration industry, this process is accomplished by using a sealed absorption system containing a solution mixture of ammonia, water, sodium chromate, and hydrogen. The mixture is boiled by a flame usually fueled by either propane gas or natural gas.

The active ingredient is the ammonia which turns from liquid to vapor and back to a pure liquid again. This pure ammonia liquid absorbs the warm air through aluminum plates on the fridge back wall, freezer back wall, and freezer floor. This system uses no motors, compressors, or any moving parts. This is all accomplished by heat boiling the solution and it rising to the top of the sealed system where gravity takes over and allows the liquid to flow through the coil system at a rate determined by slight downward angles of the tubing.

The system is very simple in operation but very complicated in design. A very slight change in angle can alter performance and lower efficiency. A couple percentage difference in the solution ingredients will also change the gas refrigerator performance . Any weakness in a weld will shorten lifespan. All these factors must be correct in order to produce an efficient unit with top performance. Strict quality control is vital toward good production results.

At Warehouse Appliance, we rely on our many years of experience in using gas freezers and fridges, servicing gas refrigerators, and repairing gas fridges, and our warranty records to make the business decision of promoting the best brand. We choose the EZ Freeze brand.

We rate the EZ Freeze quality control as the best in the industry. EZ Freeze is the only company that produces the absorption system in house at the factory. No outside contracting is used in production. Over 50% of the production process is centered around quality checks within the production line of the product. A high pressure flushing occurs immediately after the welding process is complete to remove any weld slag or foreign objects that may be inside of the coils. The absorption system is then baked in an oven to relieve stresses and reduce the risk of stress cracks during its lifespan. The oven baking process also aids in sterilization of the internals of the absorption unit prior to filling. Baking off the oils and impurities. Each unit is then pressurized and leak tested before installation in the cabinet. The EZ Freeze absorption units are all made on a jig and foamed in a mold and are interchangeable at anytime in it’s life span with a new unit. This promotes consistency and reparability. It may seem excessive, but after all, this is the heart of the absorption refrigerator. It is also the most labor intensive part of production so it must be 100% before the unit ever gets to the consumer.

Further down the production line near completion, each unit is tested in the factory “Hot Room” which simulates a harsh operating environment with temperatures of 100 degrees Fahrenheit and high humidity levels. Each unit must pass well within the limits of good food keeping temperatures after this 16 hour torture test. The results are recorded on each refrigerator prior to packaging. No over company within this industry does this.

When asked about these strict quality control issues, EZ Freeze ownership replies “We realize that most of our fridges are used in remote areas. Hard to get to and from areas. It puts a great hardship on the consumer if there is a failure and we just don’t want to see that happen.” Click here to read about the history on propane refrigeration.