There is a rising trend in the world to go off grid. Though many people mistakingly assume this trend is all about living away from technology and enjoying life like “Little House On the Prairie,” this type of living is much deeper.
Wondering how to go off grid in today’s world? We’ve got all you need to know about going off-grid successfully.
What does off-grid mean?
The thought of living off the grid is all about a person or a family living in a more natural setting. Many times this is due to energy consumption. What is “the grid?” Many people refer to the electrical system in the world as the grid. They want to get away from this system while living off of solar and wind power.
The definition of off grid doesn’t stop at energy consumption. It’s about cutting off technology like cell phones and televisions. It’s about being self-sufficient without grocery stores and eateries on every clock.
Most people living off grid want to reduce their overall carbon footprint and live a simple life much like their ancestors. Making the decision to live off of the grid is a big one for a family. It can be done, but it isn’t an easy process.
Why Go Off Grid?
There are many reasons why people choose to live off grid. Some people do it to live more sustainably, while others want to live more healthy. Still others want to escape the rising civil unrest and riots in cities. But either way, here are some of the main reasons people want to go off grid.
Rising Civil Unrest
Civil unrest in cities, as well as recent power grid failures in Texas, have people considering going off the grid. If and when it hits the fan, do you want to be stuck in a city with empty supermarket shelves?
Violence has been rising in cities. Even though there are steps you can take to protect your home from rioters, the best defense is distance.
We all come from people that were independent. Our ancestors didn’t have fast food joints and lightbulbs in every room. They had to find a way to get their own gas, electricity, water, and food. Living off the grid provides people a way to feel totally independent.
Connecting with Nature
Living off the grid often means a connection with nature. Nature can give you energy, shelter, clothing, food, and everything you need to live a nice life. People love to live off the grid to feel at one with nature. It’s as if there is a key to a whole other world.
Minimize Waste And Consumption
One reason people choose to live off the grid is to minimize their effects on waste and consumption. Many see wasting resources as a crime. Resources may be abundant, but this doesn’t mean it is okay to waste them.
People that live off grid enjoy the fact they only use what they truly need. They are not only living simply and affordably, but they are helping the environment.
Many people choose to live off the grid because they want to live a green lifestyle as it helps the environment. Most people choose a location where they use nature in their everyday lives. They want to make a difference in the world by minimizing their carbon footprint.
Many people are surprised at how many things they used in their daily life that they no longer need to survive and thrive.
How do you go off grid and disappear?
The answer to how to go completely off the grid is a lot more in-depth than just packing up your things one day and moving to a remote location. The most important thing when going off the grid is to make the decision together as a family. Do your research to ensure you’re ready for the challenge.
It may sound fun and easy, but it is hard if you don’t have a roadmap. You will be letting go of your old life to begin this journey. We have some of the first steps you need to follow to get off the grid.
When you’re deciding on the best type of land for your family, there are a few critical elements. Having a good and reliable source of water is essential. Search around for lakes and ponds so you can rely on natural water sources. But also, finding land that already has a well or septic in place will be very advantageous.
You want wildlife because it can be a useful source of food when you cannot rely on food distribution. Don’t choose an area without a plentiful amount of sun. Remember, you may need solar energy. Land with many trees is wonderful for natural fuel.
Choose Your Home
If you choose to build a home, you’ll need the correct type of land. If you choose to purchase a home, you need to make sure it fits the off-grid setting. This means it gets plenty of sun and wind, and it is near trees and water. You can make an already-existing home eco-friendly with sustainable features.
Lately tiny homes have become a popular option for off-gridders. Tiny homes can often be purchased for $10,000 to $20,000.
Off grid power system
Generating power is a critical thing to configure as you figure out how to go completely off the grid. Solar and wind power are the most readily available sources of energy. Generating off grid power is harder than just putting in some solar panels and calling it quits. These are the top ways to generate electricity.
Solar power is the most common way to live sustainably and off the grid. Costs of solar have gone down over 20% the last 5 years, making it the increasingly the energy choice for most off gridders. An entire solar panel system should run you $15,000 to $20,000, but this depends on where you live.
This chart from Energy Sage shows the wide variability of costs for solar in the U.S.
If you’re new to solar, this is a great primer on how to get set up.
Wind turbines are a great way to generate electricity if you live in a windy area. The speed of wind will vary in different areas depending on your topography. Size matters when it comes to wind turbines. For people just getting started, you can use a 400W or 500W turbine to power a few appliances. But obviously, the more energy you need, the bigger wind turbine you will need on your land.
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The biggest con with wind energy is that you need a good breeze for it to work. You cannot control the amount of wind in the air, but you need to be in an area with a nice amount of breeze. Wind turbines often need maintenance because they have moving parts. These can be costly to install, but you will reap the rewards in the future.
Many people don’t think about microhydro electricity. It uses a stream or river to produce electricity. This water must be high flowing enough that it makes a turbine turn when it gets to the system. Microhydro electricity generation should produce from ten to 100 times more power than wind or solar energy. The best thing about this type of energy is that it produces consistent energy and won’t need as many batteries to store energy. It’s always harvesting energy. The biggest downfall is that you cannot use micro-hydro energy if you don’t have a nearby stream.
Sourcing Water Supply
The good news is that you will drastically reduce your water consumption once you are off the grid. There are many different water storage containers you can use to gather water.
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Remember, your location will directly impact the source of your water. The best contenders are a well, lake, river, or cistern. You may need to drill a well to find a good source of water. It’s also easy to install a drip irrigation system so you can water your garden daily.
Water pumps require a large amount of electricity, so it’s important to pump water when you have free solar energy. It’s also important to install a septic tank. It will be costly at first, but it will be worth it.
Farming and Gardening
Farming and gardening is the name of the game when you live off the grid. You need to know how to plant crops, harvest food and preserve food.
It may seem easy to grow veggies and fruits in your garden, but it can get complex. You need to study the area. Know what grows the best in the region. You will need to know how plants grow and what plants don’t grow well together. Some will need more water and sunlight than other plants.
If you need inspiration, here are some great off-grid garden setups.
Knowing how to store food is essential if you’re living off the grid. A root cellar is a perfect answer for those living off the grid. You don’t need electricity for it. It will be cold, but it won’t freeze. The high humidity level is great for storing vegetables.
In addition, you’ll want to know the basics of long term food storage. Do you know what the best survival foods are? Can you make long-lasting food like pemmican to truly live the off-grid lifestyle? In addition to storing long shelf-life foods, a small refrigerator and freezer will suffice for your food storage. If you are going to store all of your frozen meat from your livestock, you may want to purchase a large deep freezer.
One thing to think about when living off the grid is waste removal. You don’t have city garbage trucks coming by your home each week. This means setting up your own waste disposal and waste management system. You can even make composting toilets that don’t use water at all. A septic tank should be great for your indoor bathrooms. You can even place a shower room on the exterior of your home.
Off Grid Costs
It’s tough to tell you exactly how to go off the grid with no money. There are a few things to remember. If you have solar panels, these could set you back $15,000. Wind turbines may range from $4,000 to $30,000. A hydro-powered system may set you back up to $10,000. Drilling a well for water can cost up to $12,000. Starting your own garden may set you back a few hundred dollars.
After the initial costs, things will settle down. You will normally not spend as much yearly as you would in a regular home. This is why location is key when creating your off-the-grid lifestyle. Know that you can go off the grid with no money, but it won’t happen overnight.
Home insurance can be a pain for many people. Many companies won’t even insure properties that aren’t on the grid. One issue is that most homes off the grid are not near a fire department and might not have a great water source. Trees often add to an insurance premium as they are a fire hazard. The little things that save you money might make homeowner’s insurance an issue.
Diesel and Propane Costs
If you use a boiler, you may have high propane bills. Fuel is a cost that throws many people off when living off grid. An in-floor heating system powered by a propane boiler goes through propane like crazy. The bills can average over $1,000 a month. Diesel for your generators can be a few hundred a month as well.
Expense Of Wood
You might have to spend a lot of money on firewood if you don’t have wood readily available in your area. You should budget about $100 to $200 a month for firewood.
Of course if you know how to chop or baton wood, that’s ideal. Whether it’s a survival knife, or more preferably a survival hatchet, chopping your own wood goes a long way to saving money.
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It can be scary when making the decision to go off grid. It’s a sustainable lifestyle that will change your world. Even if you’re trying to learn how to go off the grid with no money, you can do it if you put effort into it. You have to work hard to maintain the lifestyle but reap the rewards.
The best thing about living off the grid is that you get to enjoy your life away while creating your own little world.
Do your research before you decide to dive into this lifestyle. Create a support network so you can reach out when you have questions. Just because you are living off the grid doesn’t mean you need to disappear from the world. Other people that live off the grid can help you ease into your new life. You’ll make new friends and find new ways to sustain in your off the grid lifestyle.