Furnace units are essential parts of a building, especially in regions where you may need to keep warm during winter or harsh weather conditions.
As compared with the conventional furnaces used in olden times, most heaters now run on electricity.
Solar generators are also a vital part of our lives. Apart from being a requirement for camping and outdoor life, they serve us in cases of power outages or blackouts.
Hence, solar generators have established their position as a reliable alternative source of electricity for human use.
Considering the importance of furnace units and solar generators, a question arises. Can you power your furnace units at home with portable solar generators?
This question remains important because most furnace units run on electricity. In the case of power outage or blackout, can solar generators step up to power the furnace units? There is a simple answer to this question.
Yes, some furnace units and several portable heaters can be powered by solar generators. However, not all furnace units can be powered by solar generators. Electric boilers or furnace units require a powerful continuous source of energy. Generators as powerful as 10 KW are needed to power them; hence, they cannot be powered by solar generators.
In this review, we are going to examine different types of furnace units and heaters that can be powered using portable solar generators. We are also going to discuss the criteria for choosing solar generators that can power furnace units and heaters.
Powering a Furnace Unit With a Solar Generator
While a solar generator can power most furnace units, some furnace units cannot be powered by solar generators. In this section, we will discuss why some furnace units can be powered using solar generators while others cannot.
In other words, we will examine the factors that determine whether or not solar generators can power the furnace units.
As a general rule, you cannot run electric furnace units or boilers on portable solar generators. This is because they consume a lot of electricity, which cannot be supplied by portable solar generators.
An average electric furnace unit requires as much as 10,000W. It is rare and almost impossible to find a portable solar generator with that capacity.
Furthermore, it is vital to consider your furnace unit’s rating and wattage while selecting a portable solar generator for it. An average gas furnace unit or boiler utilizes about 600 watts of electricity.
Hence, the capacity of any solar generator that will be used to power the furnace unit must be well above 600 watts.
It is advised that a generator with a capacity twice the wattage of the furnace should power it. This is to prevent overloading of the generator when other household appliances are plugged in.
Why Solar Generators?
The choice of portable solar power stations as an alternative source of power for the furnace unit as opposed to conventional gasoline generators is due to the many advantages associated with portable solar power stations.
Primarily, the absence of fumes and noise during the operation of these power stations is a major advantage.
Also, the provision of clean and safe electricity by the portable solar power station is another benefit that you can enjoy with a portable solar power station.
While all of these benefits are not unique to the furnace unit, they enhance the furnace and portable heater performance. The clean power from the portable power station increases the efficiency of the furnace units.
The absence of fumes and noise allows you to protect you and your family while using the power station.
Furnace Units That Can Be Powered by Portable Solar Generators
There are many brands and examples of furnace units that can be powered by portable solar generators.
These furnace units primarily use gas as their fuel for the production of heat. Electricity is needed to ignite the burner of the heat exchanger.
Put simply, electricity is used to start the heating process. Below are a few examples of the furnace units that you can power using your portable solar generator.
However, it should be noted that these furnace units are not rated based on their quality or performance but rather on their compatibility with portable solar generators.
Mr. Heater Natural Gas Heater
With a powerful output of 80,000 BTU, this gas furnace is one of the furnace units that you can successfully run with your portable solar generator.
The gas furnace unit requires about 115 volts of electricity to run. This means that most portable solar generators will conveniently power this gas furnace.
Rinnai Vent-Free Space Heater
The Rinnai FC824P is another efficient gas furnace unit that runs on a portable solar generator. With its 80-volt electricity requirement, it can be powered by many portable solar power stations since they rate more than 80 volts.
Heat Storm Wave Infrared Space Heater
The Heat Storm Wave Space Heater is one of the most popular electric heaters in the market. There are many versions of the product, each with different wattage.
However, all of the variants of the product have their wattage between 500 to 1000 watts. This means that versions of the product can be powered successfully by portable solar generators with output capacity between 1000 watts to 2000 watts.
Lifesmart Tower Space Heater
The Lifesmart Space Heater also has many variants, each having its distinguishable features. Part of these features is the wattage.
The range of wattage for this product and its variants is 1000 watts to 1500 watts. The wattage in most of the product variants is 1500 watts, implying that as long as your portable solar generator has an output capacity of about 3000 watts, then you are good to go.
Broan-Nu Tone Wall Heater
Like the other furnace unit considered above, this product also has variants, three in total.
However, there is an additional feature of this brand of heater that is not present in the other units discussed above. This is the ability of the furnace to convert from a higher wattage to a lower wattage during operation.
The first variant, the Broan 178 Wall Heater, has a wattage of 2000 watts running at 240V. However, it can convert to 1000 watts during operation, running at 240V.
The second variant of the product, Broan 170, has a wattage of 1000 watts, running at 120 volts. It can also convert to 500 watts at 120 volts or 240 volts.
The third variant, Broan 174, is rated 1500 watts, but can easily convert to 750 watts running at 120 volts.
With this product and its variants, it is advised that the original wattage of the product is used to determine the type of portable solar generator to be used for its powering.
For instance, the variant with the 1000-watt ratings should be powered with a portable solar generator with an output of 2000 watts. This is to be on the safe side and prevent cases of overloading the generator.
These are numerous gas furnace units and portable heaters that you can successfully run with your portable solar power station.
Solar Generators That Can Power Furnace Units
In this section, we will discuss examples of portable solar generators that can be used to power gas furnace units and portable electric heaters.
These solar power stations have an output capacity that can withstand most furnace units and also power other small appliances.
Titan Portable Power Station
The Titan is one of the most powerful and popular products in the market.
With its 2000Wh lithium battery and 3000-watt inverter capacity, it can power numerous small, medium, and heavy appliances and gadgets. These appliances do not exclude furnace units and portable electric heaters.
Its output capacity implies that any furnace unit or portable heater with a wattage lower than 1500 watts can successfully be powered with this generator.
By powering a 1500-watt furnace unit with this power station, you would have around 500 watts of battery capacity to power other appliances.
YETI 3000 Lithium Portable Power Station
This portable generator is another top-quality power station available on the market. Its lithium battery supplies a total of 3075Wh of electrical power.
With this output capacity, any furnace unit and portable electric heater whose wattage does not exceed 1500 watts can be powered conveniently with the Yeti 3000 Lithium. This gives you about 1500 watts to power other appliances and gadgets.
YETI 1400 Lithium Portable Power Station
Another quality power station from Goal Zero, the 1400 Lithium has an output capacity of 1425Wh of electric power. While its output is not as high as those considered before, it can power a gas furnace that has a wattage of about 600 watts or below.
Inergy Flex 1500 Portable Power Station
The Inergy Flex 1500 Power Station is a top-quality power station manufactured by Inergy, one of the biggest names in the renewable and green energy business.
The power station has a lithium battery with a capacity of 1069Wh and an output of 1500 watts and a 3000-watt surge capacity. This output limits the furnace units or heaters that can be powered by it.
Only the heaters and furnace with a wattage of 750 watts and below can conveniently and safely be powered with this generator.
Jackery Explorer 1000 Portable Power Station
Jackery is a reputable name when it comes to portable power stations and solar energy solutions. Thus, it is no surprise that the Explorer 1000 is a top-quality product.
With its 1002Wh battery, 1000-watt power ratings, and 2000-watt surge capacity, the power station can safely power a portable heater and furnace unit whose rating is not above 500 watts.
Although these types of furnace units are not readily available in the market as the average wattage for a furnace unit is around 600 watts. However, you can still power a 600-watt furnace unit with this power station.
But by doing so, you will have to reduce the number of gadgets to be used alongside the furnace unit.
Another option is to use a portable electric heater. You can easily find a portable heater with a wattage of 500 watts.
Safety Guidelines for Using Power Stations With Furnace Units
Like all electrical appliances, the use of furnace units with power stations requires precautionary measures to ensure safety.
The following measures will ensure that the furnace unit is powered safely without any damage to your health or property.
Ensure You Follow Wattage Ratings
Abiding by the wattage requirement will ensure that your power station or generator is not overloaded. It is advised that the output capacity of the power station is more than (preferably double) the wattage of the furnace unit.
This prevents damage to your plugged appliances and to you yourself. Check for the wattage rating of your furnace units and portable heaters in the manufacturer’s instruction or user manual.
Some heaters have their wattage indicated on them, at the back of the appliance.
Use Appropriate Extension Cords
Most portable heaters and furnace units come with extension cords which are used to connect them to the generators and power stations.
The cords that come with the furnace units are usually of high quality, meaning they are safe to use. However, due to misplacement or carelessness, this extension cord may be lost, causing a need to purchase another one.
This is where you need to exercise caution. Avoid low-quality extension cords, as they can cause electric shock or fire outbreaks while in use.
In case you are not sure, you can contact the manufacturer of your power station or furnace units to make inquiries as to the appropriate extension cord to buy.
Place the Power Station Appropriately
There is a need to place your generator appropriately while powering your furnace unit with it.
While you don’t have to worry about the disturbance of noise and fumes while powering your furnace with a portable solar power station, the length of the extension cord will greatly affect how far away you can place the power station.
It is advised that you place the power station at a safe distance from the furnace. You should also consider the use of other gadgets and devices with the power station when determining the distance.
Frequently Asked Questions About Furnace Units and Portable Power Stations
Can I Power My Furnace Units With a Portable Solar Generator?
Yes, you can safely and conveniently power your furnace units with a portable solar power station.
Can Portable Solar Generators Power All Types of Furnace Units?
No, you cannot run all types of furnace units with portable power stations. Furnace units that can run on portable solar generators include gas furnace units and portable electric heaters.
Portable solar generators cannot power electric furnaces. This is because the power requirement of the electric furnaces is way more than that output capacity of most portable power stations.
Which Furnace Unit Should I Use, Electric or Gas?
Both types of furnace units have their attendant advantages and disadvantages.
While the gas furnace uses less fuel, it has higher heat efficiency, and it is difficult to install, usually requiring professional input. It also produces carbon monoxide, which increases the risk of fume poisoning, and it is relatively expensive.
On the other hand, electric furnaces are relatively cheap, work well in warm weather conditions, and are easy to install.
In addition, they don’t produce fumes and it are usually noiseless. However, they consume more fuel (i.e., electricity) and have lower heat efficiency.
As one type cannot be definitively judged to be the better one, the choice of a furnace type will be determined by the user’s requirements and preferences.
You should remember, however, that the gas furnace is the only type that can be powered using the portable solar power stations.
Powering your furnace units during winter has been made easy with the use of portable solar power stations.
You need not worry about protecting yourself and your family during a winter blackout or power outage. Portable electric heaters and gas furnace units can conveniently be powered using your solar generator.
It is safe, convenient, and efficient as long as you abide by the wattage requirement and use the appropriate extension cord for the connection.