Basics To Consider Before Making The Decision To Go Off The Grid



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“Off-the-grid” refers to living in homes that are autonomous, meaning they do not rely on municipal water supply, sewer, natural gas, the electrical power grid, or similar utility services. A true off-grid house is able to operate completely independently of all traditional public utility services. It takes a lot of planning, prepping, and work to make the move off grid. And once you’re off grid, the maintenance and upkeep of your homestead can take a lot of work. I will highlight some of the basic things to consider when deciding if off the grid living is right for you and some tips to help you get there.

Getting off the grid is going to in most cases be very expensive. Acquiring land, solar panels, materials to build with, is going to be a burden on most people's finances. Here are some suggestions to help you get more money for your off the grid starter fund.
  • REDUCE YOUR EXPENSES: Cut out the bills you don’t need. You can cut your cable off temporarily to help you save money. If an antenna is an option where you live, you could purchase one and set it up. Not only would you save money each month but you would have TV available when you are off grid. Wouldn’t you rather put that $50-$150 or more per month toward your off grid fund? Any unnecessary bills can be cut is money for your fund.
  • SAVE MONEY: You can save money by not eating out often, and that includes frivolous purchases of small items which add up over the course of a month. Coffee at your local coffee shop, candy bars, snacks, fast food, drinks, and sodas. Not only are they bad for you, they cost you money. You could save $100 or more per month.
  • SELL YOUR OLD STUFF: You can sell your old stuff sitting in the garage, attic, and basement. You know that shed out back that’s full of junk you never use, or that back room that you just throw stuff when you’re not using it? It’s likely that if you haven’t used in a year or more, you probably don’t need it. Wouldn’t you rather put that money to good use.? That’s money sitting there collecting dust. Even if it’s only $5. Don't let your old stuff sit there and take up space. Use it for getting yourself off the grid. Sell it, and put that money in the bank!
  • RECLAIM AND RECYCLE BUILDING MATERIALS: You can start reclaiming scrap materials like pallets, lumber, sheet metal, pipe, fencing, and other necessities that you will use on your off-grid homestead.
Basic Requirements
You are going to need a few basic things before you can live off grid. Land is something you are going to absolutely need. You can't just go off and live in the woods behind people's house or on government land. You will need your own space to setup you living arrangments.​
  • BUY A SMALL PIECE OF LAND: This seems obvious but and technically speaking you don’t actually need a vacant piece of land, but to go off grid you do need a parcel of land that lends itself to your new lifestyle choice and that means a parcel of land that is usually in a remote area in the middle of nowhere far enough from building codes and permitting regulations. Land in these areas are less expensive, property taxes are less, and you can get more acreage for your money. Also, consider a water source when looking for an off the grid dwelling. Water is one thing that can make or break a good piece of land for off the grid living.​
  • BE WILLING TO RELOCATE: If you want to live off the grid, you will probably have to relocate to cut your expenses. The land you buy will most likely be further away from the city and not exactly convenient to getting into town at a moments notice, but you will have more freedom of movement, and more room to move and expand your homestead. You need room to grow your own food and raise livestock and build a nice home for you and your family.
  • BUILD OR BUY A LOG CABIN OR TINY HOUSE: You can either buy or build your own dwelling in the woods for your living. Consider the costs to build or the cost to buy and have it built for you. Building a full-size house and going off the grid can be quite expensive. If you are planning on doing this with just one or two people look into tiny houses. You could always just get a small log cabin.
Other Things To Consider

  • LEARN HOW TO GROW YOUR OWN FOOD: Read up on how to start growing your own food in your own backyard now. There are lots of methods and it’s a good idea to learn as many as possible BEFORE you make the move to go off grid. One of your most important sources of food will be food you grow and harvest yourself. If you don't have a yard start with a few plants in your kitchen.
  • HAVE A POWER GENERATING SYSTEM: This is where the actual off grid part comes in. Unless you don't need or want electricity you are going to need a source for power. Since you will not be connected to the power grid, you will need to be able to generate electricity yourself. This means having a power generating system with backups that can provide you with all the electricity you will need to run all of your appliances, stove, refrigerator, washing machine, tv, computer, and charge your cell phone and other mobile devices. A few 250 Watt solar panels and a good 250-500 Watt wind turbine will probably suffice for most homes depending on how much power you use at once. Keep in mind the wind turbine is a good backup for the solar panels. When the sun is not shining there’s usually some kind of wind, but when the wind is not blowing you’ll need the solar panels. Using both power generation technologies will supplement your electricity production and they compliment one another. There are many other sources for electricity but consider which one will suit you and the costs before you decide to go off-grid.
  • Waste Disposal & Septic System: No one likes talking about it, but it’s a fact of life. You’re going to have to deal with waste disposal. You’ll have to have some sort of composting waste disposal system, or you’ll dig a traditional septic system. Either way, you will have to follow local and federal guidelines on waste disposal. Besides the law, it’s just not sanitary to dump your waste into a hole and hope for the best. This is not to say that this is wrong, just don’t do it near your water source or your animal’s water source if you raise livestock. Build a proper septic system. If you’re into using your own waste as fertilizer, then more power to you. Just know that the city, county, federal guidelines probably won’t allow it or there may be restrictions.
  • PV SYSTEMS: Off-grid solar PV systems are expensive, so find any means you can to reduce the energy requirements. Most off-grid houses use a wide range of energy resources, in sharp contrast to the typical all-electric suburban home. Solar hot water heaters are always good candidates because they’re cheaper per kilowatt-hour than an off-grid photovoltaic system, and solar lighting systems are also a good choice This variety can be an advantage in that you aren’t completely disabled by power blackouts. In fact, you’ll be completely impervious to power outages, and even if one of your resources goes down, the majority of your lifestyle will still be intact. Off-grid solar electrical systems all use the same basic components, with other elements added according to need.
Don’t be afraid to take the leap. You will always wonder what it could have been like if you don’t at least try. Set a goal for living off grid, for at least one year and do a total assessment after this time. You may be pleasantly surprised at how easy a simple, yet fruitful and fulfilling life can actually be.

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    1. Kay Michaels Jul 5, 2017
      Good knowledge shared for people who are looking for their cost effective needs as well as have some sense in getting the requirements fulfilled.
    2. PriscillaKing May 23, 2017
      I don't get a commission for selling them, but I will say that, if you park a Sun-Mar toilet in front of a south-facing window, sunshine and bacteria will allow it to run at about half its normal efficiency on solar power. There's a trade-off--slower composting means fewer people can use it, no fan means more noticeable odor, no motor means less noticeable noise.

      So...when I'm alone I unplug the thing, but so far, when multiple humans are using it, it's still keeping me on the grid...along with the computers. (And I still have the Royal Standard typewriters from when I ran a typing service--but my novel manuscript is on the computer. Bad move in some ways.)
    3. Rumplestiltskin Jan 28, 2017
      Iám just about to do Just this thing, Currently I've BOUGHT 109 Acres Had a HOUSE PLOT CLEARED & a DAM Put in, I've organized a REMOVAL HOME (Old Hardwood framed House RELOCATED) or in the process of RELOCATION, Iám PACKING a SHIPPING CONTAINER & Doing some CAR MAINTENANCE for the JOURNEY, & it will need SERVICES CONNECTED FOR OFF-GRID like WATER TANK (&PUMP), SEPTIC TANK, SOLAR PANELS & STAIRS as it is to be ELEVATED for Possible Flooding & Undercover Areas that can be WET AREAS like LAUNDRY-2ND TOILET & BATHROOM but also BBQ AREAS & GARAGE.
      Iám going to be in South Western Queensland Australia which tends to be a DROUGHT PRONE HOT CLIMATE With limited RAINFALL so WATER STORAGE 22500 litre WATER TANK is necessary & being HALF AN HOUR from any Town FOOD STORAGE could be a Problem Early on until SOLAR IS INSTALLED. So this is going to take some time to set up properly. Even harder at the moment being 1000KM away beside the beach.
      So I've looked into a FEW Different IDEAS for HEATING WATER from COMBUSTION FIRES WRAPPED WITH COPPER PIPE & INDUCTION HEATING From this COPPER PIPE WRAPPED FLEW idea & add an OUTER PIPE on the HOT WATER PIPE TO PREWARM IT (I think this is also INDUCTION HEATING) & Store it in an OLD ELECRIC HOT WATER SERVICE which I thought i could also have a BACK UP GENERATOR for rare occassions. I've looked at FEMA GASIFICATION & METHANE GAS PRODUCTION FROM WASTE as well combined with a 24V SOLAR SYSTEM but this is the pointy End where MONEY WILL BE TIGHT even though I've got a Supplier at COST for the SOLAR WITH BACK-UP BATTERIES so it's gonna take some time to be HOUSE READY then there is 12V FRIDGES, & a HIDDEN CELLAR, then also GARDENS to grow PRODUCE, some ANIMALS like DUCKS & CHICKENS maybe a PIG or 2 maybe a SHEEP or 2 & of cause a DOG.
      But it's easy to PLAN if you have YEARS & Have Great HEALTH but Iám getting OLD with a BAD BACK & CHRONIC PAIN ISSUES, while some days with MEDICATION Iám OK but tend to have 1 GOOD DAY then 2-3 BAD DAYS so I will be SLOW, Now it all depends HOW LONG BEFORE THE SHTF HAPPENS ??.
      At Best Iám Probably already out of TIME with what I NEED TO DO & At Worse DEAD ANYWAY, then there is the PREPPING FOOD SUPPLIES & if i can get it a GUN since in AUSTRALIA THEY TOOK OUR GUNS. I've got a few IDEAS on DEFENSE with a COMPOUND BOW & I Make ALCOHOL (MOONSHINE) so thats FLAMING ARROWS add some VIETCON TRAPS & a MACHETE & I have a CONTAINER For a BUNKER but like I said if I HAVE THE TIME TO PLAY WITH & I PROBABLY DON'T but what Am I Meant to DO GIVE UP ? NO FUCKEN WAY if i had a GROUP Maybe but Iám ALONE SO FAR. Maybe that will Change! I've Told some FRIENDS but I Can't count on them YET Anyway.
      I Done the RESEARCH, MADE PLANS & Iám about to TRY To Put it INTO PRACTICE.
    4. Prairie Dog Dec 18, 2016
      Excellent blog with very good points to consider. One addition I would suggest as I live in the prairie of western Canada. There are now solar systems for the heating of water that would be viable for heating a home. Reducing the effort needed for basic heat with a one time capitol cost and one time labor investment is worthy of consideration.
      Prairie Dog
      Rumplestiltskin likes this.
    5. Mekada Oct 27, 2016
      Well written with some valid points and concerns...
      Rumplestiltskin likes this.
    6. Keith H. Oct 27, 2016
      Love your bit on costs. Cable! Eating out! "frivolous purchases of small items which add up over the course of a month. Coffee at your local coffee shop, candy bars, snacks, fast food, drinks, and sodas". The mind boggles. A good reminder of how some people live!