10 Surprising Lessons We’ve Discovered About Living Off The Grid


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Living off the grid appears like THE DREAM for so numerous folks. The thought of not relying on power and water businesses and not paying their higher bills is definitely attractive. There’s one thing romantic about the notion of living in a dwelling that permits the freedom of self-sufficiency. But is it seriously almost everything you Consider it is?

In 2015, we purchased 16 acres of pure off-grid heaven and set out to construct our personal cordwood dwelling from scratch.

Off grid cordwood house in Kentucky made of eastern red cedar

We constructed our property more than a period of roughly two 1/two years. Our property is off the grid, which means that we:

  • Produce energy by means of solar panels
  • Gather rainwater for household use by means of the roof
  • Use propane for water heating and cooking (our one particular true outdoors utility apart from the online, which is powered by LTE)

At the time of this writing, it has been roughly eight months considering the fact that we moved into our cordwood dwelling and practically one particular year considering the fact that we installed our solar energy technique. It is astounding how considerably one particular can study in a year’s time about living in a dwelling without the need of grid energy or water.

Is it like we believed it would be? Is it wildly unique than living in a “normal” property? Here’s what we’ve discovered living off the grid:

The 10 Lessons We’ve Discovered Living Off the Grid

10. Living off the grid does not imply we’re all of a sudden rustic pioneers of old.

I imply, unless that is what you WANT it to imply. You do you. There are a lot of unique methods to reside a life, and that involves how you do off-grid living. My husband nevertheless has a job in his selected field. I take my kiddo out most days to the library, parks, museums, and to play with pals. We nevertheless come across ourselves mindlessly browsing Facebook additional than we ought to. In other words, our life is quite regular. On the other hand, we’ve gone down the homesteading rabbit hole of self-sufficiency, preparedness, permaculture, homeschooling, and dwelling-primarily based enterprise. I honestly credit our property project and the networking I’ve carried out due to the fact of this weblog with me understanding ANY of that stuff. Off-grid living has opened up a globe of possibilities for us.

9. Living on solar energy is not seriously all that unique from becoming on grid energy.

Everything we considered when designing our off grid solar system. Save energy, save money, and design the right system for you following these tips. #solarpower #offgrid

We had been a bit concerned at initially that our 1.14 kW technique wouldn’t be rather adequate for our energy requirements, but for three/four of the year, it is a virtual non-challenge. Our energy usage is unquestionably additional calculated in the winter months, but by means of spring, summer time, and fall our technique is nearly constantly complete or close to it. We have adequate energy with our technique to run almost everything we have to have and then some. Yes, even at evening. The battery bank supplies energy on demand, so as the panels alter their output you do not notice it in the property. You can study about the fundamentals of an off-grid technique right here

Just before living right here, I believed I’d have to alter my whole charging routine primarily based on the sun. In reality, incredibly tiny has changed. At the most, I strategy out power-intensive chores primarily based about the climate. Vacuuming requires lots of wattage so I do that on sunny days, and I do laundry on sunny days considering the fact that we do not have a dryer. Extended story quick: most of the time I honestly do not notice our property runs on solar. We’re just additional mindful of our usage. It performs just like a regular grid-connected property.

eight. We have additional than adequate water for almost everything.

Contrary to the random assertions from alarmist Facebook posts, it is NOT illegal to harvest rainwater. We have a 2400 gallon precast concrete cistern. We catch rainwater from our metal roof and direct it to the cistern by means of 6″ seamless gutters. You can study additional about the whole technique right here.

We do not at present have any meters on our cistern – we just open the hatch and appear inside. We every single consider to appear possibly as soon as a week or each couple of weeks, and I haven’t observed it any decrease than possibly 75% complete. The water is constantly quite close to the top rated.

Granted, this has been a pretty wet year for us right here in Kentucky. In drier years we could have to haul water, but we’ll see. We’ve been fortunate this year to have a lot of water to meet our requirements.

7. The energy By no means goes out in a storm.

We run on 100% solar power. How well does it REALLY work in the winter?

We’ve laughed, due to the fact anytime a significant storm moves in we instinctively gear up for the energy to go out. More than 30 years of living ON the grid will do that to you.

Even if our solar panels had been to rip off in a higher wind and blow away, we’d nevertheless have energy due to the fact our battery bank is inside the property. We would only shed energy if the front of the property exactly where the battery bank is ripped away also, in which case we’ve got considerably larger fish to fry.

So sorry, neighborhood pals. When y’all had been posting on Facebook about how your energy was off for a day or two throughout these significant storms in July, I was sitting comfortably at dwelling watching Netflix with the ceiling fans on higher.

six. Not getting energy or water bills rocks, BUT…

Radiant heat can be installed by a knowledgable DIYer. Learn more about how we're doing this and more in our off-grid home build.

You are in the end the one particular accountable for maintaining your systems up and operating. If our energy had been to reduce out for some purpose, there is not a energy business to contact about it. WE are the folks that have to repair it. Exact same if the water pump had been to break down. Exact same for our radiant heat technique. Self-sufficiency sounds astounding, and it is! But if the off-grid life is one thing you are operating towards you have to have to recognize that some of the conveniences of contemporary grid life will turn out to be your duty along with a host of other factors.

five. There are expenditures to off-grid living you have under no circumstances believed about.

Living off-grid has eliminated about $275 worth of month-to-month bills from our spending budget, which is quite good.

Ordinarily, I would say that cash can all go straight to savings or paying down debt, but in our off-grid circumstance, some of that cash has been “re-allocated” to some factors we would under no circumstances have required to spend for in our suburban property. For instance:

Generator Fuel: In the course of the winter you will most probably have to have to give your batteries a enhance to hold them in excellent shape. You under no circumstances want to get them also low or you threat damaging them. We at present have a Honda eu2000i but would like to get one thing a bit additional robust for future winters.

Off Grid World-wide-web: Whether or not you pick an LTE or satellite service, one particular factor is clear: you will spend way additional cash for slower speeds. And if you are like me and you make cash operating from dwelling on the online, you want one thing reasonably rapid. I’m truly writing this at dwelling, but I also really like writing at the library.

Driveway Upkeep: Our driveway is a half a mile lengthy and is all gravel. We knew that it was one thing we’d deal with so we spending budget, save, and operate accordingly. We got six loads of gravel this year to the tune of $2400 (five for the driveway and 1 to make a parking pad). Ouch. If you are beginning from scratch, hopefully you come across one thing with much less of a driveway to preserve. 

four. Points will inevitably be tougher than you consider.

I'm quitting my job to build our homestead. Find out more about why! For instance, the truth that we have a lengthy gravel driveway signifies that we have to preserve it consistently. That signifies time out with the tractor and the grader blade, or on foot with rakes and shovels. That signifies preserving mentioned tractor and paying to repair it when you rip apart a tire or have mystery leaks.

It signifies I am much less than thrilled in the winter with taking harrowing, white-knuckle trips down the hill at two mph in my Escape due to the fact the snow only melted component way and refroze overnight on the curves and slopes.

And in some cases, it signifies the anticipation of meeting the UPS or FedEx guy head to head is adequate to make me just remain dwelling till it is been delivered. And yes, UPS and FedEx WILL drive up our crazy half mile driveway.  I googled that one particular a bunch ahead of we even purchased our home. Not to mention…

three. We consider additional about safety.

Not all off-grid properties are as far removed from the road as ours, but numerous are. Isolated properties are good if you do not want to see your neighbors or have them see you, but there’s a downside to the isolation. We had a incredibly scary incident this previous spring exactly where I awoke to come across a masked man prowling about our home. Turned out he’d committed various crimes ahead of he wound up at our spot.  It was a incredibly confusing and frightening morning that ended up becoming okay. We got incredibly fortunate, but it is created us consider a LOT additional about safety and preparedness. Right after all, what do you do when dispatch tells you an officer is close by and it nevertheless requires them 12 minutes to respond? In addition to dwelling defense and security…

two. We consider additional about preparedness in basic.

At our old property, we could order a pizza in a driving snowstorm and nevertheless have it delivered in beneath 30 minutes. Not kidding. That is not precisely the case when you reside farther out in the nation with aforementioned half mile driveway. It is driven a mindset shift in each of us to make our homestead a protected and adequate spot to reside. Getting adequate firewood for the winter by prepping throughout the summer time is a excellent instance of this. We also consider a lot additional about the sorts of foods we hold about and their perishability. We evaluate our reliance on specific things and attempt to figure out how to either make them, stockpile them, have reusable versions of them, or just plain do without the need of them. And finally…

1. Off-Grid living is NOT the magic bullet for monetary independence, but it is a excellent start off.

Do not get me incorrect, living off the grid plays a quite substantial part in our path to total monetary independence. But I would be foolish to inform you it is a surefire path to self-sufficiency. You have to have to have excellent habits in spot, for starters. That is particularly correct if you are carrying out this as a couple like us. Like I described, there are a lot of expenditures that can come with living off the grid. These expenditures can be additional or much less, based on how you do it, but that is reality. There will constantly be elements of a life style that you will not see till you make it there. It is okay to aspire to be self-adequate. It is okay to want to go off the grid. Heck, I encourage you to take into account it! But do not romanticize it to the point that you loathe your existing status and consider non-quit about quitting your day job to construct a property and raise chickens. Appreciate exactly where you are on your journey! Take time to analysis! Study blogs, watch videos, and speak to folks who are truly carrying out it. Researching will go a lengthy way toward developing lengthy-term accomplishment.

Prepared to take the subsequent step? You can get our no cost guide for owner-builders right here.

This is a good spot to start off if creating a homestead of your personal is on your bucket list!

Verify out our homestead progress reports and find out additional about our cordwood homestead project here. And do not overlook to adhere to us on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!


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