How To Live Off The Grid…
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live without having to pay for electricity and water by the same time lower your carbon footprint?
Related Post: How To Go Off-Grid Step-By-Step
Living Off The Grid
What Is Considered Living Off The Grid
Living off the grid simply means having a self-sustaining domicile that is independent of outside utilities.
While “preppers” and survivalists may come to mind, for many, the goal of living off the grid is simply to live healthier and leave a smaller environmental footprint.
Now that all sound great and fun but a common question comes to mind…
“How do you live without power?”
It’s a good question! Now here’s how you can achieve it!
Disconnecting from Public Utilities
The average household in the United States spends about 54 percent of their utility bills on electricity alone.
So reducing your power consumption is a logical first step to saving money on utilities, but there are also plenty of alternatives to buying electricity.
You may already be familiar with them:
Alternative To Buying Electricity #1 – Solar
While solar power can currently only produce about 7 kilowatts of power a day (in sunny and dry environments), the technology continues to improve every year.
For a professionally installed 24-volt system including a backup generator, the total cost is estimated at $38,000. However, costs are expected to go down as solar panel use increases.
Swedish retailer Ikea now sells solar panel kits in the United Kingdom, and chances are their kits will be available in the United States soon enough.
Alternative To Buying Electricity #2 – Wind
Wind turbines might be a useful backup to solar, especially on stormy days. For the relatively low estimated cost of $11,000, it’s another investment worth considering.
Alternative To Buying Electricity #3 – Hydropower
Long before electricity, people were using water for milling grains. If you’re close to a powerful river, a water-powered generator might be a perfect option for you. The cost can range from $6,470 to $55,400.
Can You Legally Live Off The Grid
In its most simplistic definition, “off grid” living means being disconnected from the public power grid.
Off grid living, by itself, is not technically illegal.
- Producing your own power is off grid living and perfectly legal.
- Growing your own food is living off the grid, and legal.
- Building your own home in the country while not being connected to the power grid is off grid.
- So is raising livestock, building a greenhouse, planting your garden, etc.
The problem arises when overly restrictive city and county ordinances and zoning restrictions put a crimp on the off grid lifestyle and make it illegal to do certain things on or with your property.
That’s when it becomes illegal to live off grid.
Now how do you specifically go about living without having to pay for electricity, water and other services we’re so accustomed to?
How To Live Off The Grid – 7 Steps To Live Off Grid
It takes a lot of planning and prepping and work to make the move off grid.
And once you’re off grid, the maintenance and upkeep of your homestead takes a lot of work.
Here’s how to live off the grid.
How To Live Off The Grid Step #1
Find a Land
First you need a place to go.
A place to build on. A foundation. 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.
How To Live Off The Grid Step #2
Find a Shelter
The next thing you need is shelter.
It’s the fundamentally basic need every human being needs to survive.
Shelter comes in the form of a cabin, a traditional wood frame home,a tiny house, cob house, strawbale or even a yurt which is basically a large octagonal shaped tent.
And if you’re looking for more detailed survival bunker plans, we highly recommend Family Bunker Plans.
Here’s what you’re going to learn with this Family Bunker Construction Manual
- Secret construction sources to get your materials at the lowest possible price. This can make or break your chances at building an affordable survival bunker.
- Crucial site preparation tips! Warning: You must know this before preparing ANY site. Without this information, your efforts could result in frustration and lost money.
- Design and layout planning tips and advice from a qualified expert. These design tips will help you choose the right layout for you and your family.
- On top of my layout tips your also going to get professional 3D diagrams to help you along the way!
- Learn how to correctly prepare your site. We go into quite a lot of detail with plenty of diagrams and pictures on this topic because this is where I see a lot of newbie bunker builders go wrong. So pay attention and don’t miss this step!
- Get our electrical layout and installation plans. I’ve topped this off with full diagrams to make this as simple as possible.
As you can see, this is an extremely extensive bunker product You will not find this level of detailed information anywhere else.
Now on to step #3…
How To Live Off The Grid Step #3
Have a Water Collection System
A good clean potable water source is vital for living off the grid.
You will most likely not have access to city water or municipal county water sources on your land so you must choose a piece of land which either has a natural water source, or where it’s convenient to haul water.
The other resource you need is a water collection system. This could be something as simple as a rain-barrel water catchment attached to your home’s gutter, or a more complex cistern water collection system which collects all the rain water from your roof.
How To Live Off The Grid Step #4
Grow Your Own Food
Since you most likely will not have everyday access to grocery stores and convenience stores to shop for your food, you’ll have to grow your own in your own garden or greenhouse.
Ideally it’s probably wise to have both a traditional garden, some raised beds, and a greenhouse full of fruits and veggies.
Learning how to preserve and can your own food will also allow you to store your food away in a safe place and build up a nice supply of food in case you need it for an emergency.
How To Live Off The Grid Step #5
Have a Power Generator System
This is where the actual off grid part comes in.
Since you will not be connected to the power grid, you will need to be able to generate electricity yourself.
MIT Device Cuts Power Bills By 65%. Did you know that most families spend over 2,000.00 per year on their energy bills? Well it’s true. My question is, what if you could cut that bill in half, or actually… more than half! would you be interested? Here’s how…
This means having a power generating system with backups that can provide you with all the electricity you will need to run all your appliances, stove, refrigerator, washing machine, tv, computer, and charge your cell phone and other mobile devices.
How To Live Off The Grid Step #6
Have a Power Storage System
So… You’re generating your own electricity during the day. That’s great.
But when the sun goes down and the wind stops blowing, guess what? Unless you have a storage system, you won’t have electricity.
This is where it gets expensive as battery technology is kind of lagging behind solar panel technology.
Batteries however are getting better and are able to store more electricity for longer periods of time more efficiently than ever before. But you’re going to pay for it.
They are not cheap, and the battery bank and storage system complete with charge controller, inverter, etc. could set you back as much as the solar panels and wind turbine combined.
Many folks opt out of purchasing a battery storage system because it could double the cost of any solar power system.
How To Live Off The Grid Step #7
Have a waste disposal
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.
Is Living Off The Grid Realistic
Living off the grid can be expensive to get started and will take lots of hard work on you part to keep it going.
But if you’re ready, willing and able the rewards are great.