Living off-grid is a major life-changing decision, which involves radical lifestyle changes. If you are rather decided to take your house off-grid, there are companies already offering solar panels. They can even install the panels on your roof and offer you a good deal with free batteries. While this is very much possible and convenient, you may regret this decision in the long run, especially if you have not really put much planning beforehand. Follow the essential steps below in taking your house off-grid and you will not regret your decision.
Increase Your Knowledge, Especially on Power Generators
Consider living off-grid as a project and make a project plan. Identify your limitations in terms of an off-grid lifestyle. For instance, you may not be able to totally live off-grid if you live in the city or a suburb because living in the city may mean that your home is part of an apartment type building or condominium with shared energy sources. Additionally, access to alternative means, such as firewood for a wood burning stove that can be used as a heater during the winter, may be limited in the city.
It is also a good idea to learn more about solar-generated power and how it can provide energy for your home. Search about generators that could power the whole house or portable energy sources that you can bring along should you decide to relocate in the future. Begin experimenting on how you can use a solar-powered appliance over one that needs to be powered by electricity.
Illuminate Your Home
Using LED bulbs can reduce your energy consumption by up to 90%, so if you decide to live off-grid, switch to LED bulbs. Solar panels can easily power these LED bulbs to illuminate your home. Consider also changing your lighting circuit and seek the services of an electrician because a 110VAC or 220VAC would no longer be necessary living with off-grid. This change will allow you to directly power up the lights using batteries.
Look Into Your Kitchen
Before you even consider taking your house off-grid, practice relying on yourself first in terms of how you live. It is best to start with the food you consume. Instead of going to the market to buy fresh produce, try growing your own fruits, vegetables, and herbs. This entails the need for a robust garden which is not limited to only a few types of food plants, but a garden that can produce a wide variety of food items that is sufficient for your household. If you have a wide space in your backyard, plant fruit trees instead of ornamental or flowering plants. An herb garden will also be a necessity, not only for cooking purposes, but for the medicinal benefits of some basic herbs like oregano and basil. Fruits and vegetables do not necessarily need to be cooked and these can even be eaten raw. This will cut the energy and electricity necessary in cooking food, particularly with the use of electric stoves or induction cookers. Kitchen appliances are also big consumers of electricity, especially if you cook a lot using electric stoves and induction cookers. Gas stoves and ovens are great alternatives in living off-grid.
Likewise, it is also recommended to learn about the basics of food preservation techniques that will enable you to store food for months. There are also various ways to store food aside from refrigeration and it is a good idea to know about these alternatives because a refrigerator is one of the home appliances that require a significant amount of energy from electricity. You can opt to replace your refrigerator with modern versions that are designed to be energy efficient, consuming less power compared to their traditional versions.
Consider Your Home’s Temperature Stability
An air conditioning system to keep the house cool during hot weather or a central heater to keep your home warm during the winter consumes a significant amount of electricity. Hence, you need to find alternatives for these appliances to minimize and reduce your energy usage and sustain living off-grid. Evaporative coolers or electric fans can take the place of your air conditioners, while you can explore fuel-based heaters for your home’s heating system.
Plan for Water Heating
One of the appliances that require the use of electricity are water heaters, but these heaters are essential especially during the cold season. To minimize the energy required just to power up the heaters, consider more efficient measures to speed up the heating process such as adding a blanket around the heater to prevent heat from escaping, thereby reducing the energy needed to keep the water hot. You can also incorporate a routine among the family members and use a timer, which only turns the heater on at a specific time period in a day. Having the heater on in this specific time frame means that everybody already needs to take turns using the shower. Other alternatives are using a solar water heater or a water heater with an inline gas.
Do a Trial Run
Install a certain number of solar panels based on the size of your home. Assess the basic appliances needed to be powered by the initial installation. Set a time frame and add solar panels as needed. There are several online instructions offering a step-by-step guide on how to do the installation. Re-examine your needs such as sustainable power and water resources, as well as access to communication.
Living off-grid brings about certain lifestyle changes and part of this is learning new skills to support your decision. Practice the art of frugality and repair items that can still be salvaged instead of immediately replacing these with new ones. Hence, you need to know the basics in repairing common appliances, sewing your own clothing or knitting, or even mending and maintaining your car.
You can also pursue new hobbies that will support the change in your lifestyle when it comes to living off-grid. These new hobbies can include fishing or hunting, which can be to your advantage later on. You can also learn the art of furniture-making, using non-powered tools because this may be essential when you transition into living in a self-sufficient environment.