How to Minimize Electrical at Your Cabin

When staying in a cabin, you’ll find that electricity is a luxury which is often very limited. This is may be because you’re utilizing solar power or a generator to produce electricity. You may be wondering “How can I minimize electrical use in my cabin?”.

Producing more electricity is going to increase costs as you’ll probably have to purchase a larger generator or purchase more solar panels to produce more energy. Neither are cheap – therefore It’s important that you minimize the amount of electricity you use.

In this article I’ll be explaining how you can minimize your electrical use and reduce your power consumption. These tips will also be useful for those who have access to unlimited electricity and just was to reduce their costs. There are plenty of ways in which you can achieve lower electricity consumption without having to compromise other luxuries.

Use High-efficiency appliances when you can

Kitchen appliances use large amounts of electricity, they are the biggest culprits to power usage. Cabins tend to have smaller kitchen appliances than a normal home due to the issue of limited electricity.

Because of this issue, it’s a good idea to use appliances which don’t use electricity. Doing so, you’ll save a good amount of electricity. If this isn’t possible then at least ensure that you’re using high-efficiency appliances that make the most use out of the power, it’s provided – this will result in less electricity usage.


When it comes to saving electricity, you can either use a small stove which will require less power than a larger stove or you could use an alternative power such as Propane. Propane is a very popular alternative to electricity.

Propane can be used to cut electricity usage. It’s a very good alternative to electricity for numerous reasons. There are many theories about how healthy a Propane stove is; I’ve produced a detailed article in which I explain how to use Propane safely. This should put your mind at ease, knowing that Propane can be completely safe if you use it properly.

I highly recommend that you switch to cooking with propane if you want to minimize your electrical usage. You’ll need to purchase a cheap adapter which will allow your stove or oven to use propane and a propane tank to store your propane. I always purchase a large tank which I fill up annually. Using a large propane tank will save you many trips – you also won’t have to worry about running out and having to re-fill it every month.


Refrigerators don’t nearly as much electricity as a stove or oven whilst being used however they use a huge amount of power when they’re first turned on. Because of this, you should leave your refrigerator turned on unless you really must restart.

This busts the myth that turning off your refrigerator when you’re not using it will result in less electricity consumption. Turning your refrigerator regularly will do the complete opposite and end up using more electricity due to the high amount of power required to start-up. When a refrigerator is turned on, compressors inside which cool the refrigerator require a lot of energy.

It’s a good idea to purchase a small, energy efficient refrigerator. An apartment sized refrigerator like this one is perfect for a cabin. With a smaller refrigerator you’ll save a lot of electricity – they tend to use below 70 watts whilst running whereas a larger refrigerator can use over 160 watts of power.

You can also acquire propane refrigerators which don’t require electricity. This is a great way to reduce your electricity usage.

Cleaning out your refrigerator and ensuring that it is well ventilated can reduce energy consumption. It won’t make a huge difference but it’s almost effortless – just clean it and dust it every few months to prevent dust from blocking its airways.

You should also keep your refrigerator out of any sunlight. Anything which can heat your refrigerator is bad as the warmer the appliance is, the more power it will require to cool down.


Microwaves use a stupid amount of electricity. The average microwave will use around 1200 watts. There are many calculators which you can use to calculate how much energy your microwave uses such as this one.

For such a small appliance, a microwave uses a lot of energy. You wouldn’t think that small appliances such as microwaves and toasters use so much energy due to their small frame however they can use as much as energy when used as it takes for a refrigerator to start-up.

It’s important that you manage your electricity usage when using a microwave on a generator. If you were to turn on your microwave along with your toaster you could the engine in your generator to fail.

Because of this it’s a good idea to either purchase a smaller, energy efficient microwave or just forget about using a microwave all-together. A Microwave isn’t a necessity, you can live without one and many times have I just left my microwave at home instead of bringing it down to my cabin. Food is prepared much better on a stove or in an oven than it ever will be in a Microwave. There are so many better alternatives to a microwave. Heck, you could cook your food over a fire for the authentic off-grid feel.


Lighting could use an excessive amount of electricity, so it’s a good idea to keep your lighting to a minimum. There’s plenty of ways to brighten up your cabin without the use of electrical lights. Use the natural light from the sun for light – use as many windows and see-through materials in your cabin as possible to allow the light in. There are plenty of ways to get natural light into your cabin.

As well as leveraging natural light, you should use energy efficient bulbs. These energy efficient bulbs will make the most out of the energy they’re given and can use up to 70% less energy. They’re less powerful than a regular bulb however they’ll still provide you with enough light and help you minimize your electricity costs.

Regular light bulbs loose 90% of their energy through heat – this is energy which you’re paying for. I’m sure your intentions for your light bulbs are for lighting, not heating.


Cabins lack the isolation that homes provide, due to their basic wooden structure. This means that when it’s cold outside, the inside of your cabin will be extremely cold. The lack of plumbing in a cabin, gas heating systems are not an option. I have a whole article in which I talked about heating in a cabin. You can find that here.

My personal recommendation is to not use electricity for your heating. Building your own fire is easy and can be done by anyone. There’s nothing better than sitting at your fireplace with a warm cup of coffee. The sound of the fireplace crackling is so satisfying, you won’t regret it.

You can either use a wood burning stove or a fireplace to warm your cabin. The main draw-back of using one of these heat sources is that it’s not as easy as flicking a switch or pressing a button. If you want this sort of luxury without using electricity, you could purchase a gas fireplace which you power using Propane. This way you can have the best of both worlds, you save electricity but can still heat up your cabin using a switch.


When you find out how much electricity goes into cooling your cabin, it may be tempting to trash the whole cooling system to save electricity however due to the wooden structure of cabins, when the weathers warm – your cabin will be baking. Therefore, it’s important that you have some sort of cooling system in your cabin. Though cooling can take up a lot of power consumption. This is a problem when you want to minimize your electric consumption.

If you haven’t yet moved into a cabin; you should try and get one in a shady area. Using trees, you can locate yourself in a shaded area. This will help cool your cabin as you won’t be in direct sunlight. This will make a significant difference to how cool your cabin is.

There are a few ways you can minimize your electrical use when it comes to cooling. First, if your cabin gets extremely hot during the summer then It may be necessary to have an AC. If you must use an AC, try to get a small unit which doesn’t consume a lot of power.

Apart from getting a smaller AC then a normal home, you could also install ceiling fans. These promote good airflow, which therefore cools down your cabin. Ceiling fans don’t use an overwhelming amount of power, so they’re recommended.


There are many of cost efficient ways to minimize electrical use at your cabin. These are all points which you should consider when you want to cut down on your electricity bills. I feel as though I’ve provided an in-depth guide however if you feel as though I’ve missed anything, or you have any questions for me, leave a comment below.

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My name is Eugene Thornhill. I'm an outdoor enthusiast who loves nothing more than being one with nature. I've lived in numerous outdoor homes and even constructed my own. Living off-grid is something I'm very familiar with, more so than living in the city. For many years I've dealt with the many problems of living off-grid. It's time to pass on my knowledge through Cabinguides.

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