Living Off Grid 101: Heating

Doug and Stacy left the city life to live off grid like the pioneers. Today they’re sharing their experience with us of how they heat their home.

After living off grid for eight years, it’s funny now to reflect back on how we thought we could heat our home with a small pot belly stove we found in an ad in the newspaper. We had sold our home and moved into a small one bedroom apartment getting ready for our new off-grid life together. Lots of ideas and ways of going off grid were discussed during our transition time. In the end, both of us decided to live without public utilities such as electricity, water, sewer services and even a few modern conveniences like a refrigerator and air conditioning. Besides, a good challenge would do us good!

Coming straight from the city to an off-grid simpler life had a few learning curves. The cabin build had started in July which put us on a time restraint to finish and find a heat source before fall and winter. We had found an old pot belly stove from an ad in the paper and drove three hours to pick it up and we thought we had found a real treasure. This was supposed to be the center piece of our new home, but we were in for a rude awakening.

Doug & Stacy's Cabin
Here’s our off-grid home.

To our surprise was a large Amish community within 10 miles of our home. During our build time, we became friends with many in the area. They asked how we were heating and cooking in our home. Needless to say, the pot belly stove gave everyone a big laugh and they said, “You will be feeding wood every 20 minutes in that thing because it’s not air tight and you will freeze in winter.”

After speaking with our Amish friends, who are experts in the field of wood cook stoves, the quest began for the perfect size stove for our 600 sq. foot cabin. We traveled from house to house to understand the differences of some of the most used stoves in the community. After seeing the different sizes in each home, we picked up our Lehman’s catalog off the coffee table and ordered the Baker’s Choice Wood Cook Stove because it was a good entry level price and would heat our house efficiently. I could cook and bake, it had a warming rack, and it even had a hot water reservoir that gave us hot water on demand. Who would have thought you could order a wood cook stove and have it shipped right to your front door? The Lehman’s employees even walked us through the delivery, set up process and were there to answer any questions about how it worked.

Wood Cook Stove
Here’s our cook stove.

Our wood cook stove is the center of the house. It is the first thing everyone that comes to visit comments on and asks questions about. The most asked question is…”Is it hard to cook in that thing?” I say, “It’s just like a regular stove, but I can use the whole top to cook off and the oven is just like a regular oven.” I use the warming rack to keep food warm, dehydrate foods, and it’s a great dish dryer! It only took a bit to get used to regulating the temperature in the oven and stove with wood heat.

From pot belly stove, to Baker’s Choice Cook Stove, to the Pioneer Princess Cook Stove, we have enjoyed heating and cooking with wood. Our home would not be the home it is without it. It gives us beauty, heat, food, hot water, and wonderful memories. It is the favorite part of our house.

Originally published April 2019.

Off Grid with Doug and StacyWant to learn more about off-grid living? Check out the other articles in Doug and Stacy’s Living Off Grid 101 series:
Food 101
Lighting 101
Water 101

You can find Doug and Stacy on YouTube or Facebook.  

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John Marek
1 year ago

Good information. I’ve been struggling with the issue of how to heat my “thin-grid” cabin and this was very helpful.

10 months ago

Hello, Harry &I live in a Berm home on Phantom Canyon Road in Penrose, Colorado!
We do have solar and are all electric and I keep asking him to get a wood stove for when we do go without power! We also have our water delivered; he says we can go downtown to eat. I say what if they are with out power too! It does happen in Canon City too! Anyway, I am looking for two things a woodstove for heating and cooking & a wringer washer I grew up with one! Our home is 1620 sq ft, three bedrooms, two baths, big kitchen on eastside of back of home!
If you put in 61 Quinn Trail North you can find it, on 2 1/2 acres!
Where are you located? Joan March 9 2022

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