by: John Chatham
Sunday, 22 July 2012
One of the hardest things to go without when going off grid is refrigeration. Most other operations can be replaced by manual means but keeping food cold or frozen in hot weather is a unique need in modern times. In times past the need for refrigeration was limited because most food was prepared fresh every day and very little was kept for several days due in part to the lack of mechanical cooling. The fast paced lifestyle many now live have led people to depend on frozen or refrigerated food due to the modern day work habits leaving little time for home preparation of food. In times past most women worked in the home all day, so daily preparation of food was a natural occurance. With most women working outside of the home nowadays, the fast preparation of food dominates most kitchens. Even for those that do a lot of cooking from scratch everyday, the use of frozen foods is very convenient.
The ability to raise your own meat, butcher it, and save it for later use on a moments notice has been nothing less than revolutionary in the kitchen. While freezing is not the only way to save foods, it is much easier than other methods for many foods. The biggest problem with frozen foods is the need to keep it frozen at all times. When the power goes out many people lose the contents of their freezers because of lack of electricity. Even after this happens several times most people continue to use the same means to keep their food refrigerated and never give thought to using a different method that would save them that loss and provide them with frozen food and ice no matter how long the power was off.
The use of propane refrigeration is a step above compressor driven units for several reasons. Many absorption refrigeration units can run on 12v, 120v and propane power. A refrigerator that can run on all three, such as the units found in RVs or camper trailers, can give you an edge when the power goes out. You could run it on 120v for normal operations and if the power fails you can switch over to 12v battery power or to a propane tank outside your home. Absorption units are powered by heat so as long as you have a heat source they will continue to cool. Another great thing about these units is the fact that unlike compressor units that have many moving parts that can break or wear out, an absorption unit has no moving parts in the cooling unit.