After living in a yurt for a few months, I started to wonder if I could cook and charge my devices in my little home. This led me to do some research and find out which appliances are yurt-friendly. Here’s what I found.
Yurts can have electricity if you choose to install it. You can also wire electricity from under the yurt platform to the grid if it’s available. Although, off-grid yurt owners often rely on alternative energy sources like solar panels, wind turbines, or small generators for power.
So, now that we know you can install electricity and connect to the grid, let’s find out how.
4 Ways To Get Electricity in a Yurt
Although yurts are typically designed for off-grid living, it is possible to connect them to the traditional power grid.
Just call your local utility company and work with them to set up a connection. You’ll need a licensed electrician to wire your yurt, making sure everything is up to code.
It’s a reliable way to keep your gadgets charged and lights on but may not be ideal if you prioritize an off-grid lifestyle or if your yurt is located in a remote area where connecting to the grid is impractical or costly.
Harnessing solar power is a popular and environmentally friendly option. By installing solar panels on or near your yurt, you can generate electricity from the sun’s rays. To set up a solar system, you’ll need solar panels, a charge controller, deep-cycle batteries, and an inverter.
Here’s how to do it:
- Mount solar panels on a nearby rack or even on your yurt roof.
- Hook the panels up to a charge controller to keep your batteries from getting fried.
- Store the energy deep-cycle batteries.
- Use an inverter to change the battery power into something your devices can use.
The charge controller regulates the flow of electricity from the panels to the batteries, ensuring that they don’t overcharge. Deep-cycle batteries store the energy produced, while the inverter converts the stored energy into a usable form for appliances and devices.
Solar power systems can be customized based on your energy needs and budget. Additionally, some places offer incentives and rebates for installing solar panels, making this option more cost-effective.
If you are planning on having larger appliances such as a washing machine or a fridge, you will need solar panels that are higher wattage, or more solar panels in general.
Portable generators are available in various sizes and fuel types, such as gasoline, propane, or diesel. Generators can also be used as a primary power source or as a backup in case of insufficient solar or wind energy.
When using a generator, it’s essential to consider proper ventilation and noise reduction. Always place the generator outside the yurt and use an exhaust extension to direct fumes away from the living space.
Keep in mind that generators require regular maintenance and fuel storage, which can be a disadvantage compared to renewable energy sources.
Generators are like the Swiss Army knives of electricity – portable, versatile, and ready to help when you need it. Choose a generator that suits your needs, considering factors like fuel type (gasoline, propane, or diesel) and output.
By installing a small wind turbine on your property, you can generate electricity from the wind. The efficiency of this method depends on the location and wind speed in your area.
A hybrid system combining wind and solar power can provide a more consistent energy supply.
Wind turbines require more initial investment and maintenance compared to solar panels, but they can be an excellent solution in areas with high wind potential.
On average, a small-scale wind turbine designed for residential use can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000 or more, depending on the specific model and installation requirements.
My Recommended Energy Source
While all the methods mentioned above have their advantages and disadvantages, solar power stands out as the most practical and eco-friendly option for yurt living. They are relatively easy to install, require low maintenance, and provide a clean, renewable source of energy.
Solar power systems can be scaled to meet your specific energy needs, and the availability of incentives can make this option more affordable.
Can Yurts Have Electrical Outlets?
The answer is yes, yurts can have electrical outlets as long as you have a source of electricity.
Yurt walls are made of fabric or insulated panels, so running wires is a bit different than in a conventional house. But don’t worry, it’s doable!
Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you wire your yurt for electrical outlets:
- Plan your layout: Figure out where you want your outlets, switches, and lights. Keep in mind that you’ll need to run wires to these locations, so it’s best to plan it all out before you start.
- Install conduit: Since you can’t just run wires through the walls like in a regular house, you’ll need to use conduit (a protective tube) to house your wires. PVC conduit is a great choice because it’s lightweight, easy to work with, and affordable. Attach the conduit to the lattice or frame of your yurt using brackets or straps.
- Run the wires: Once your conduit is in place, it’s time to pull the wires through. Use electrical wire that’s suitable for your power source and the type of outlets you’ll be installing (typically 12 or 14-gauge wire). Be sure to follow all safety guidelines and local codes when running wires.
- Install junction boxes: Junction boxes are where the magic happens – they’re the connection points for your outlets, switches, and lights. Mount them to your yurt frame or lattice where you planned your layout. Make sure to use weatherproof junction boxes if they’re in a spot where they might be exposed to moisture.
- Connect the wires: Now that everything’s in place, it’s time to wire it all up. Connect the wires to the outlets, switches, and lights according to the manufacturer’s instructions and local codes. Don’t forget to turn off your power source while working with live wires!
- Test it out: With everything connected, turn your power source back on and test your outlets, switches, and lights to make sure everything’s working as it should. If you run into any issues, double-check your connections and consult an electrician if needed.
Always remember to follow safety guidelines and consult an electrician if you’re unsure about anything.
For a guide to installing outlets in yurt bathrooms, check out my post Can Yurts Have Bathrooms & Showers? (Plumbing).
What Can You Power in a Yurt
Washing machines typically use around 500 to 1,000 watts, depending on the model and cycle settings. Be sure to choose an energy-efficient model to keep your power consumption in check.
Keeping your food fresh is essential, and a fridge is a must-have appliance in any home. Fridges generally use between 100 to 800 watts, depending on the size and efficiency of the model.
To minimize power usage, opt for a smaller, energy-efficient fridge, and try to keep it as full as possible. This way, it won’t have to work as hard to keep things cool.
Yurts were designed for Mongolia, one of the coldest regions. When building your yurt, you can choose to have extra insulation.
You could also opt for a space heater which varies in wattage, with small models using around 750 watts and larger ones using up to 1,500 watts.
Keep in mind that space heaters can draw a lot of power, so it’s essential to choose one that’s appropriate for your energy setup. An energy-efficient propane or wood stove can also be a great alternative to an electric space heater.
You can also get a wood stove and it replaces two appliances (heat AND stove). This is a super common appliance in yurts.
Dishwashers usually consume between 1,200 and 1,500 watts. To save on energy, consider using an energy-efficient model, running it only when it’s full, and using the eco-friendly cycle if available.
Electric stoves use about 1,500 to 2,000 watts, while ovens can range from 1,000 to 5,000 watts, depending on the size and heating elements. Keep in mind that these appliances can be power-hungry, so you might want to consider alternatives like propane or solar ovens to save on energy.
Remember, you could also opt for a wood stove.
Yurts were designed to have hot air flow out the top. Although, if you live somewhere with extreme heat, it makes sense you want some extra cool air.
Air conditioning units vary in power usage, with smaller window units using around 500 to 1,500 watts and larger central air units using up to 5,000 watts.
If you’re relying on a renewable energy source, you may want to explore a more energy-efficient option like evaporative coolers.