What is Living off The Grid?

Many of us in modern living situations like larger cities are tired of the daily grind. There are too many cars, too many people, lights all over the place and somebody is always watching something within ten feet of anywhere you go. A vague generalization, to be sure, but many people actually are ready to get away from city life and go to living off the grid. This idea has become somewhat cliché, but it is ideal to follow a dream to its fullest and if this is your dream, take a look at some thoughts to consider first.

  • Living off the grid means living away from modern technology and lifestyle on all levels. This is living without electricity, internet, and modern conveniences. You can still live in a habitable home, it will just be like the old log cabin days and the nearest doctor’s office may be hundreds of miles away.
  • A typical house is connected to power, water, telephone and gas lines. Going off the grid means leaving these public utilities behind to make this world a greener place and more environmentally friendly. While some prefer to completely go off the grid, others prefer to partially go off the grid by relying on city water and sewage.
  • You don’t have to go off the grid completely. There are varying degrees to which one can go with this. Electricity is still a possibility with solar power and wind turbines. You can set up satellite receiving for television and internet access, though it will require serious outdoor technology.
  • The primary concept behind going off the grid is to get away from the network of bills and typical living obligations by hunting and growing your own food and providing your own resources.
  • Sometimes living off the grid is done for reasons such as helping to improve the environment, personal physical health, or to create solitary communities with simple politics or religious motivations.
  • Amish people are the perfect example of a communal form of living off the grid. They do it based on deeply rooted religious beliefs, but they clearly prove you can have a sustainable society while living without any electricity, plumbing, cars, or fuels besides oils made from crops and animals.
  • The good news is you can live this way if you want and the cost is incredibly minimal. Additionally, you will not have all those pesky calls about the unaffordable medical bills anymore. However, it may be wise to consider basic medical supplies to keep available.

off-the-grid-using-solar

I grew up off the grid in Vernon, and I saw my parents work hard every day, as teachers but also while farming and building a log home. So from a young age I knew the value of hard work.
– Ryan Holmes

How to Live off of the Grid

Technically the term, “grid,” is used to describe the electrical and utility circuits. Being “off the grid” means you don’t use electricity from a power company and you don’t use public plumbing or natural gas services. There are interesting and practical ways to go about doing this.

The practical concept of survival involves three things: Food, Clothing, and Shelter. This is all well and good when you live near stores, but when you move away from all electrical power, other utilities, and internet, expect challenges.

  • First of all, build habitable shelter. You will need a place to live and this place must be capable of handling climate changes so you can live without freezing to death. Many options abound.
  • Yurts, domes, and trailers seem to be in the lead for off the grid living options. You may be reluctant to go fully off the grid, so you might need to create your own grid with solar or wind power. This will allow you some basic utilities in your life, to keep you warm in the winter, and allow you to prepare foods when you can’t get a good fire going.
  • Consider the Mongolians… really. The Mongol region of Siberia is home to the nomadic Mongolian people. They live completely off the grid but are known for living in spacious yurts, which are portable, and they use practical solar panels to provide power for their high definition televisions. They really do this and they don’t do it on the grid, except for some HDTV.
  • By following the concepts of creating reasonable shelter, you know the first step. Next you will need to figure out a way to have food around.
  • Food is attainable in many ways. For most people who go off the grid, hunting, fishing, and gardening sustain most nutritional needs. This means you have to be skilled at all of these efforts in order to survive. This is basic survival, so the use of a vehicle is a good idea. This way, you will be able to go into a city and get supplies as needed.
  • Clothing is vital. You may run out of power on your personal grid despite whatever storage methods you have attained for the ideal non-grid living spot. Plenty of clothing will be important to stay warm and for other purposes you will likely discover along the path to non-grid living.

As you can see, these ideas begin to become pedantic. Here is what it really boils down to: Do your research and prepare before endeavoring to live off the grid. At least consult services which help you with off grid living. Otherwise, you will need to have knowledge and / or excellent research and implementation skills. Here are some issues you will be facing immediately:

  • Flooding and drought are major concerns. You need good hydration for your gardens and you need the area to be well hydrated for game to feed and drink from so you can hunt them for your food. Yes, you might have to kill animals. Meat markets are in grocery stores. You are moving away from grocery stores.
  • Protecting against flooding. Yurts are the most practical housing. Yurts are portable homes, but you usually elevate them off the ground so you can avoid flooding. Consulting a land surveyor will help with this when you are considering buying property for off-grid living. Keep gardens low and living establishments on higher ground.
  • Aside from yurts, you will need to be sure your living quarters or shelter will be well above flood lines, keeping in mind flood lines are consistently raising due to defined global warming.
  • Drought can be a serious problem. You can survive for weeks without food, provided sufficient body fat, nutrient storage (in your body) and medical supplies. You can only survive three days without clean water. Look into rain water and stream water collection systems or even well water or all three. You can store water. If it freezes, you will need to find ways to thaw it and blowtorches with sufficient fuel will be helpful. Apprise yourself on methods of pipe heating before attempting this.
  • You can drill a well for household chores. A better idea is to buy cisterns to collect rainwater and use it for watering plants and trees.
  • During periods of little rain, lower down your frequency of taking shower, limit your toilet flushes and let your dishes pile up for couple of days.
  • Install a septic tank. A septic tank is a small-scale sewage treatment system that is common in the areas that lack connection to main sewage pipes provided by the government.
  • Fireplaces and wood burning stoves can be used as primary heat source. Most of the people who live off the grid use wood to keep house warm during winter. Wood burning stoves can also be used to cook food.
  • Watering crops is vital. You will conserve water with plastic greenhouses and this will keep the animals and bugs away, mostly.
  • Even with solar and wind energy available at your hand, limit the use of electricity by removing electronic gadgets that are just not required. For e.g. consider washing clothes by hand instead of using washing machine and use clothesline to dry clothes instead of dryer.
  • Composting and recycling can be a great idea. Composting will help you to get rid of large amount of waste and create mulch for your crops. All the organic waste can be composted and fed back into the soil.
  • Consider farming. Produce organic food so as to reduce number of trips to local town. Raise chicken and goats for milk and eggs.
  • Have a good plan! It should surely be apparent at this point you will need education and maybe even experienced help to go off the grid. People do this as a profession and the fees are wonderful compared to the problems of living on the grid you want to get off of.
  • Secure all crops. Plants providing food are targets for some skilled animals to steal. Raccoons and bears will steal entire crops in a night. Somebody might need to stand watch, though there is deterrent technology available if you have the power for it.

There should be a clear picture of how to live off the grid now. The object is practical, long-term survival. Plenty of people are doing this, so getting a network built on social media and other platforms will be useful. Aside from these basic needs, you might want schematics and strong planning to provide the best for family and multiple family living.

The idea of refraining from popular utility grid usage is largely appealing due to the fact you are basically being cheated for your lifestyle. You can live a life of freedom, living off the land. There are a massive amount of people doing this across the world now. You can find many communications to tap into. Your duty is to gain the right knowledge now so you can be prepared for tomorrow.

Image credit: Takver

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.