When we think of off-grid living, images of pioneers in the 19th-century American frontier or remote log cabins in the Canadian wilderness probably come to mind.
Naturally, you may think this sounds impossible; after all, how could you get by without access to running water or electricity? But with a few adjustments to your lifestyle and some basic knowledge about living without traditional utilities, it’s completely doable.
Off-grid living requires some essential items to make it work. Here are several things you’ll need if you want to spend as little time as possible connected to municipal water and power systems:
A Power Source
A power source or generator is a must-have item for anyone living off-grid. This is because you’ll need it to power the lighting in your home or specific devices like satellite phones that you may need during an emergency.
Make sure the generator is large enough to power everything you need it to power. You’ll also want to keep it well-maintained and be prepared to have a professional come and fix it if it breaks.
If you don’t want to use a generator, you might want to consider solar power. Solar power is clean and doesn’t produce any emissions. It’s completely pollution-free.
You can use solar panels to generate electricity in several ways:
- Solar Panels: Solar panels are the most common way to generate electricity using solar power. You’ll need at least two panels to power a standard household and four or more to control a larger household.
- Solar-Powered Roof Tiles: Solar-powered roof tiles are a newer way to generate electricity with solar power. These tiles have solar cells built right into the roof tile itself. This is a great way to generate electricity without having to put panels on your roof.
A Composting Toilet
If you’re going to be living off the grid, a composting toilet is a must-have item. Although they’re more expensive than traditional toilets, they’re a better option for the environment since they don’t use any water.
Composting toilets breaks down the waste inside and turns it into a soil-like material you can use for gardening. If you want to use a composting toilet, make sure you have a place to put the compost once it’s ready.
You can also use a regular toilet and a septic system to dispose of the waste. A septic tank is a large tank buried in your yard. When you flush the toilet, the waste goes into the tank. From there, it travels through pipes to a septic field, where bacteria in the soil break it down.
A Good Water Source
While you could use a river or lake for drinking water, it would probably be safer to use a well. You can choose to have a well drilled or use a solar-powered pump to draw the water from an existing well.
You’ll want to make sure your water source is protected from contaminants. If you’re not sure if your water source is safe to drink, hire a professional to test it.
If you’re not near a water source, you can use rainwater to fulfill your water needs. This is called harvesting water, and there are several ways to do it:
- Rain Barrels: Rain Barrels are a great way to collect water in a container and store it for later use. You can use this water for things like watering plants, washing your car, and even flushing toilets.
- Roof Harvesting: Roof harvesting is a great way to collect water for all your household needs. The only downside is that you’ll need to divert the water from your roof to some sort of container.
Living Off-Grid Is Incredibly Rewarding
More and more people are choosing to leave the busy world behind and explore simpler ways of life. Living off-grid means you’ll have time to yourself and won’t have to deal with the hustle and bustle of modern-day living.
With that said, there’s no doubt that off-grid living is a big change. But this can only be successful with the items listed in this column.