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 a lot of people today. The notion of not relying on power and water businesses and not paying their higher bills is definitely attractive. There’s anything romantic about the notion of living in a dwelling that makes it possible for the freedom of self-sufficiency. But is it definitely anything you Believe it is?

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

Off grid cordwood house in Kentucky made of eastern red cedar

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

  • Produce energy through solar panels
  • Gather rainwater for household use through the roof
  • Use propane for water heating and cooking (our a single 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 that we moved into our cordwood dwelling and almost a single year considering that we installed our solar energy method. It is wonderful how considerably a single can study in a year’s time about living in a dwelling devoid of grid energy or water.

Is it like we believed it would be? Is it wildly unique than living in a “normal” residence? 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 abruptly 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 consists of 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 buddies. We nevertheless locate ourselves mindlessly browsing Facebook much more than we ought to. In other words, our life is quite standard. 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 residence project and the networking I’ve carried out for the reason that 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 definitely 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 have been a bit concerned at 1st that our 1.14 kW method wouldn’t be fairly adequate for our energy wants, but for three/four of the year, it is a virtual non-problem. Our energy usage is surely much more calculated in the winter months, but by means of spring, summer season, and fall our method is practically normally complete or close to it. We have adequate energy with our method to run anything we need to have and then some. Yes, even at evening. The battery bank supplies energy on demand, so as the panels transform their output you do not notice it in the residence. You can study about the fundamentals of an off-grid method right here

Just before living right here, I believed I’d have to transform my complete charging routine primarily based on the sun. In reality, incredibly small has changed. At the most, I program 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 that we do not have a dryer. Lengthy story quick: most of the time I honestly do not notice our residence runs on solar. We’re just much more mindful of our usage. It performs just like a standard grid-connected residence.

eight. We have much more than adequate water for anything.

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 through 6″ seamless gutters. You can study much more about the complete method right here.

We do not at present have any meters on our cistern – we just open the hatch and appear inside. We every believe to appear possibly after a week or just about every couple of weeks, and I haven’t observed it any decrease than possibly 75% complete. The water is normally quite close to the major.

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

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, for the reason that anytime a large 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 have been to rip off in a higher wind and blow away, we’d nevertheless have energy for the reason that our battery bank is inside the residence. We would only shed energy if the front of the residence exactly where the battery bank is ripped away as well, in which case we’ve got considerably larger fish to fry.

So sorry, nearby buddies. Whilst y’all have been posting on Facebook about how your energy was off for a day or two throughout these large storms in July, I was sitting comfortably at dwelling watching Netflix with the ceiling fans on higher.

six. Not obtaining 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 eventually the a single accountable for maintaining your systems up and operating. If our energy have been to reduce out for some cause, there is not a energy corporation to get in touch with about it. WE are the people today that have to repair it. Identical if the water pump have been to break down. Identical for our radiant heat method. Self-sufficiency sounds wonderful, and it is! But if the off-grid life is anything you are functioning towards you need to have to comprehend that some of the conveniences of modern day grid life will turn into your duty along with a host of other factors.

five. There are expenditures to off-grid living you have in no way believed about.

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

Ordinarily, I would say that income can all go straight to savings or paying down debt, but in our off-grid predicament, some of that income has been “re-allocated” to some factors we would in no way have necessary to spend for in our suburban residence. For instance:

Generator Fuel: Through the winter you will most most likely need to have to give your batteries a enhance to preserve them in excellent shape. You in no way want to get them as well low or you danger damaging them. We at present have a Honda eu2000i but would like to get anything a bit much more robust for future winters.

Off Grid Web: Irrespective of whether you pick an LTE or satellite service, a single issue is clear: you will spend way much more income for slower speeds. And if you are like me and you make income functioning from dwelling on the online, you want anything reasonably rapidly. I’m essentially writing this at dwelling, but I also adore writing at the library.

Driveway Upkeep: Our driveway is a half a mile extended and is all gravel. We knew that it was anything we’d deal with so we spending budget, save, and perform 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 locate anything with significantly less of a driveway to sustain. 

four. Factors will inevitably be tougher than you believe.

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

It indicates I am significantly less than thrilled in the winter with taking harrowing, white-knuckle trips down the hill at two mph in my Escape for the reason that the snow only melted component way and refroze overnight on the curves and slopes.

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

three. We believe much more about safety.

Not all off-grid properties are as far removed from the road as ours, but a lot of are. Isolated properties are wonderful 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 locate a masked man prowling about our home. Turned out he’d committed numerous crimes ahead of he wound up at our location.  It was a incredibly confusing and frightening morning that ended up becoming okay. We got incredibly fortunate, but it is created us believe a LOT much more about safety and preparedness. Soon 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 believe much more about preparedness in basic.

At our old residence, we could order a pizza in a driving snowstorm and nevertheless have it delivered in beneath 30 minutes. Not kidding. That is not specifically 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 secure and adequate location to reside. Obtaining adequate firewood for the winter by prepping throughout the summer season is a excellent instance of this. We also believe a lot much more about the sorts of foods we preserve about and their perishability. We evaluate our reliance on particular products and attempt to figure out how to either make them, stockpile them, have reusable versions of them, or just plain do devoid of them. And finally…

1. Off-Grid living is NOT the magic bullet for economic independence, but it is a excellent begin.

Do not get me incorrect, living off the grid plays a quite considerable part in our path to comprehensive economic independence. But I would be foolish to inform you it is a surefire path to self-sufficiency. You need to have to have excellent habits in location, for starters. That is specifically accurate 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 much more or significantly less, based on how you do it, but that is reality. There will normally be elements of a way of life 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 look at it! But do not romanticize it to the point that you loathe your present status and believe non-quit about quitting your day job to make a residence and raise chickens. Appreciate exactly where you are on your journey! Take time to analysis! Study blogs, watch videos, and speak to people today who are essentially carrying out it. Researching will go a extended way toward developing extended-term achievement.

Prepared to take the subsequent step? You can get our absolutely free guide for owner-builders right here.

This is a wonderful location to begin if developing a homestead of your personal is on your bucket list!

Verify out our homestead progress reports and find out much more about our cordwood homestead project here. And do not neglect to comply with us on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!


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