7 Tips to Transition to Living Off the Grid Successfully

Written by on February 28, 2019 in Eco-Friendly, Environment, Farming, Preparedness with 0 Comments

Image Source: Pixabay

By Conrad Novak

So you decided — like the estimated 1.7 billion others in the world — to live off the grid, now what? Have you considered the steps needed to take to live off the grid?


This transition is not easy, but it is doable and well worth it, for some. There are many factors involved that depend on how much funds you have to invest in the change. For numerous individuals this can be a major setback as setting up for an off-grid living can be quite costly. However, multiple tips and tricks can be used to keep costs down and make the transition run smoothly.

1) Find the Perfect Location

First, you will need to find the perfect location, which can be quite daunting since there are many facets involved especially when taking safety into account. Before deciding where to live, you must decide how you want to live and under what conditions. Everybody has different preferences, so only you can make this choice. A few things to consider are:

  • Planting; Growth and Vegetation

Will you be able to grow things like fruits, vegetables, herbs, and more? Is the soil rich and the weather right for planting?

  • Fishing, Hunting, and Breeding

Is there a lake, river, or pond nearby to fish in? Is there a lot of game in the area to hunt? Moreover, can you raise cattle and breed other animals at the location?

  • Disasters

Is the location prone to certain disasters that pose a major threat? For example, an area with major fault lines such as the San Andreas Fault in the California area; the New Madrid Seismic Zone that stretches from Arkansas to Illinois; the Yellowstone Volcano in Wyoming; the Cascadia Subduction Zone that affects the Pacific Northwest; coastal areas prone to hurricanes, tsunamis, and flooding; low lying areas below lakes, rivers, and dams with potential flood risks; locations like Kansas, where strong tornados often occur, and more.

2) Gardening: Producing Food

If you have never planted before, it is important that you learn how to use a variety of methods and experiment with them now as plants basically take long to grow and you don’t want to wait several weeks just to find that you did something wrong when hungry. It can take some people years to fully understand the processes and get things to grow right. If need be, you can begin by growing indoors.


Start gathering seeds needed for planting. Your gardening plans should include foods that produce their own seeds and don’t require too much treatment to store them. This will allow you to regrow your fruits and vegetables continuously. Some suggestions are peppers, peas, beans, and tomatoes, which all contain self-pollinating flowers.

Once you know what foods you will grow, you should learn how to prepare a variety of meals with them that you like. You may also want to learn how to mill corn flour and wheat for making bread, pasta, or tortillas. Another thing that’s important is to be able to pickle and preserve foods.

3) Supplying Water to your off-grid homestead

Water is essential for many things, including drinking (for you and your livestock), bathing, cleaning, cooking, gardening, and canning produce. Take note that in some counties it is mandatory that you hook up to their city water supply so be sure and check on that first.

If you’re lucky there will be a well already set up on your property, or you might be able to dig one. Another option is to harvest rainwater. You can collect rainwater in big tubs; however, it would be wise to harvest and store the water where you will use it. For example, water for feeding your livestock should be gathered and stored near the livestock; water that will be used in your household should be collected and kept near the home, etc. Also, to take advantage of gravity flow, try and place the tubs as high as possible.

If your water is stored in a tank with a gravity-driven system, then you can use a battery operated pump to supply water to your home and other areas, if not, you can set up a pressure system, which is most commonly used off the grid.

4) Providing Power Sources

Keep in mind that disconnecting from a public utility system in or near the town, is illegal in most counties, therefore, to stay out of trouble, stay far away from rural areas.

Solar, Hydro, geothermal, and wind are some of the power sources used for off the grid living. These systems operate independently to power your appliances without relying on power lines. Off-grid solar systems only use gathered solar energy to power up appliances within the system, where an off-grid hybrid system may utilize a combination of solar, wind, and hydropower to supply a system with energy.

Although these systems may differ in how they supply power, they basically use the same methods to harness solar energy. Solar panels are commonly used to absorb solar energy from the sun that can be converted into usable power.

To generate energy, hydropower systems utilize the force of falling or moving water. These systems range from small systems that provide a sufficient amount of electricity for one home– to very large hydropower systems that can generate enough power for millions of houses.

5) Obtaining Internet Access

Just because you are living off the grid, doesn’t mean you have to lose all connections with the real world. You can still use modern technology to access the internet.

  • Cell Phone Internet Access

Your cell phone can be used by itself to browse the web or as a hub to access the internet on other computers with bigger screens. However, the connection is usually very slow, so you might have to refrain from gaming, watching videos, and downloading large files.

  • Connecting to the Internet via Satellite

This source is the most reliable as the only way to lose the signal is if something were to get between your system and the satellite out in space like being underground. Even if the power grid were to go down, satellite access will still be operational.

  • Ham Radio

This process was used to surf the web before the internet was introduced. It’s usually used in emergency situations.

Note: Personal information should not be sent using this method as it is not secure.

  • Dial-up

You can still use dial-up to go online, but because it is so slow it is not recommended.

 6) Installing a Septic System

Because you can’t just bury your waste underground, you will need a septic system to dispose of it properly. Before creating a septic system, some counties require that the ground is tested with a percolation test (perc test) to determine the soil absorption rate for a septic leach or drain field.

Depending on the county, you may also need to hire a licensed contractor to install or build the system as opposed to trying to install or build it yourself.

“Blackwater” systems: uses water that contains human waste such as toilet water. You can use anything from a bucket that cost a few bucks to a more elaborate toilet that costs much more with this system.

Thus, “Greywater” systems use water that does not contain human waste such as water from washing machines, tubs, sinks, showers, and more. Although tub and shower water is questionable since they contain human cells and possibly human feces as kids tend to lay waste in the bathtub or shower. You can either purchase a greywater system or create your own, which is less costly.

7) Gathering Tools, Appliances, and other Resources and Supplies

In order to transition from modern day living to live off the grid, you must first gather some important items needed to be self-sufficient and live comfortably.

Tools

Power tools are convenient to have and use, however, it takes power or fuel to generate electricity to use these tools, therefore, to save energy you should always have hand tools available to use for light jobs. Some suggestions are:

  • Chainsaw
  • Handsaw
  • Drill
  • Ax
  • Screwdrivers
  • Ratchets
  • Hammer
  • Chisel
  • Pliers
  • Wrench
  • Socket set
  • Staple gun with plenty of staples
  • Scissors
  • Machete
  • Rake
  • Shovel
  • Hoe
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Dolly
  • Lawnmower
  • Tiller
  • Tractor
  • Level
  • Tape measure
  • Drill Press
  • Vice
  • Welder
  • Torch
  • Grinder
  • And more

Appliances

Appliances are also convenient to have and great time savers, but if you are going to use appliances they should be small energy savers. Some suggestions are:

  • Washer and dryer
  • Refrigerator
  • Portable heaters and coolers
  • Coffee pot (if you are a coffee drinker)
  • Can opener
  • Blender
  • Hand mixer
  • Microwave
  • Water purifying system
  • And more

Other Resources and supplies

While tools can come in very handy, there are other resources and supplies needed for homesteading such as:

  • Seeds
  • Fertilizer
  • Tape
  • Glue
  • Writing utensils and notepads
  • Silverware
  • Bowls, cups, dishes, pots, pans, etc.
  • Sewing kit
  • Coffee maker
  • Soap, shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant, mouthwash, etc.
  • Pillows sheets and blankets
  • Towels and washcloths
  • Curtains/drapes
  • And more

Conclusion

Transitioning to off-grid living doesn’t have to be exhausting, expensive, or time-consuming. It is something you chose to do and it can be fun and adventurous, but it all depends on what you make of it. According to techbuilder.com, there are currently 180,000 families in America who have made the transition, and you can to.

Just remember to stay out of trouble by checking county rules and ordinances for permits and zoning regulations. Keep in mind that every county has its own terms that you must abide by in order to live problem and penalty free. Always do a complete check on properties that you are considering, since once you move in or begin building, it will be hard to move again or rebuild somewhere else.

About Conrad:

Conrad Novak is a proud father of two children. His journey as a prepper began when Hurricane Katrina hit and he lost his job due to the 2008 economic crisis. That made him realize that everything can change for the worst in a very short time. This experience was the detonator for him to pursue learning and becoming better prepared to face the kind of unexpected disasters that may occur at any point in our lives. You can read more of his content at SurvivorsFortress.com

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