Top Tips for Living Off The Grid

Categories: Tips & Tricks

What does 'living off the grid' mean?

To be a genuine off-gridder your home is not connected to electricity from the power grid and your home does not access a town or regional water supply. You are without access to community utilities including waste disposal.

In the days before the invention of mobile / cell phones, living off grid represented significant social isolation. Traditionally, living off grid meant no connection to power, water or telephone so life off-grid was very tough.

In the 21st Century, however, living off the grid is a lifestyle choice that can be remarkably comfortable and incredibly rewarding.

  • We can access solar, wind and/or hydro power (and store it in batteries for later use.)

  • Water storage tanks are larger, lighter and easier to install than the concrete or metal tanks of old.

  • Composting toilets are much less trouble than old-fashioned septics.

  • Satellite and wireless technology allows us to communicate with the world.

  • A better understanding of insulation and home design can reduce our need for heating and cooling.

As an increasing number of people choose to pursue off-grid lifestyles, it is interesting to note that even homes connected to community power and water supplies are beginning to embrace off-grid technology including passive solar home design, solar hot water and solar cooking.

Do you live off the grid?

What do I need to know before I move off the grid?

Over the years that my family has been homesteading and becoming more self-sufficient with our orchards and vegetable gardens etc, I have often been quizzed by individuals and families seeking a more independent and sustainable lifestyle.

People ask me what are the most important things to know before making the move off grid. They want to make lists, but don't know where to start.

Well, here's the five key points I decided provide the best starting point. Keep these five facts in mind, and focus on them to inspire and compile your own list of what you'll need to cope with your new lifestyle.

  • Summer is hot.

  • Winter is cold.

  • Nights are dark.

  • Gardens need good soil, and

  • Water doesn't run uphill.

If you can meet the challenges associated with these five basic facts, you can develop a plan for sustainable living. :)

Here's a few more helpful tips for successfully living off the grid ...

How will you stay warm when you are living off the grid?

Generating heat is always a major challenge when living off the grid. Solar power solves most problems, but you'll find it difficult to warm an entire house if you are simply relying on photovoltaic panels and deep cell batteries.

Our main strategies for keeping our home warm in the winter include:

  • Slow-combustion wood fire in our main living area
  • Insulation - walls and ceiling
  • Passive heating - large glass doors in kitchen face positive sun direction
  • Clever home design - including window size and placement
  • Appropriate garden design - don't let evergreen trees block your winter sun
  • Interior design - including choice of window coverings.

Dual purpose heating

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