You think it's easy !

Discussion in 'Off Grid Living' started by Nadja, Jan 26, 2011.


  1. Nadja

    Nadja RIP 3-11-2013 Forum Leader

    Here are just some thoughts about going off grid and rural. A lot of you think this is an easy thing to do , while a lot of you also think it is just expensive. In the respect of expensive, it doesn't have to be, and easy, not really

    Solar or off grid living is more about you learning to live within your solar, more then the solar living with you. You have to learn to live without many things that the rest of the country take for granted. Elec. heaters , stoves, ranges, water heaters, air conditioning etc are just a few of the things you will need to leave behind. It takes time to do this, but after awhile it sort of just comes to you On the other hand, it always gives me a lot of satification to know that I have been doing this for so long.

    Once you have made the jump, now begins the long learning curve. And you will either learn it or move back to the city. You learn to shop amps rather then colors. Everything you use that requires electricity becomes an enemy if not used or chosen well. Including showers. You need to take them in the afternoon if possible to avoid draining batteries. There are a lot of things that are required to learn to sustain this type of lifestyle, however, when the SHTF, you will be 100% better off then anyone living on the grid or in cities.

    Your thoughts ?
     
  2. hank2222

    hank2222 Monkey++

    iam like you on this issuse with people when you tell them that they have to pick and chose the things that they want in the house that off grid .some people think that they can run a full off grid home just like a normal home and then get mad because of the system not working like it should

    some of the reason why i went into the earth was to have a couple of things that i wanted and could not have if i had went with a normal home set up and when explained that to some people they still go that stupid or a dumb idea ..

    when i pointed out the benfits of a earth shelter home to people like you and i have talked about on other forums i get that stupid or dumb or it not going to work and when asked why it not going to work they it just not ..

    i did call out someone on another forum about why a earth sheltered home would not work and he could not tell me more that the basic reason of it will be dark and groomly inside the place ..
     
  3. Equilibrium

    Equilibrium Monkey++

    I think most don't realize it's going to require a very different lifestyle. I think some who make the connection.... aren't willing to give up creature comforts while others jump at trying to "live off the grid" by unplugging themselves in preparation of the day when we'll either have no choice or when we'll have sufficient alternate energy sources to be free. Does that make sense? Point in context... I have a wonderful clothes dryer. I unplugged it. I hang all our linens over railings and from I beams in the basement and pretty much everything else is hung on clothes racks in the basement. In summer it all gets hung outside. The heat in our house was turned way down and I'm biding my time giving everyone a chance to adjust before I drop it another 5° to 60 during the day. I'm eyeballing a solar cooker. I'm looking at a way to eliminate my freezer by having meat on demand.... ie chickens and rabbits. There's little things I found I could start trying now. Over time, they'll become a habit and someday.... we'll get out of this house and into a new off-grid home and hopefully it won't be so much of a "culture" shock.
     
  4. Falcon15

    Falcon15 Falco Peregrinus

    No so much thoughts, I have a few questions. First, however some background information.
    My wife and I both work salaried jobs in the suburbs. We were both raised more-or-less rural. We are both interested in going off-grid. One major concern that I, or anyone like me, has is buying the things you cannot grow or make yourself. How would one support oneself off-grid?
    Solar is not cheap by and far - my research shows the cost to kilowatt payback is measured in years, decades in many cases - I may be wrong. I am a solar newbie, and a total believer in off-grid, I just want to know what it entails. Could you direct me to posts that have that information? If I had been born Amish, I would be completely happy without electricity. My anscestors were not Anabaptist, just good old German Lutherans, so we live in modern houses with modern ammenities.
     
  5. Nadja

    Nadja RIP 3-11-2013 Forum Leader

    Questions are good ! If you started out rural like my wife and I , it should be much easier for you two then people raised in the burbs totally. They think about it, but you two have already lived it in some sense. Solar is only really expensive if you go to the local store and just buy it. Shop around, look for deals on used things, especially solar panels. But before you buy, stay on this board , read, and by all means ask questions. You will be best advised to learn from several different people with different points of view's then buy just going out and buying stuff. I make my living by ss first of all, almost pays the bills, and then I own a couple of web sites and will be selling wind and solar power when I can. I know several dealers , designers who are giving me very good prices on their items, and will promote them in due time. Given that , solar is truly a life style more then simply a conversion. You have to give it a lot of thought. But if your mind is already going that direction, you are at least part way there. Watch these boards and you will learn. And again, ask questions. The more the better.
     
  6. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    I don't see it as "either, or".

    I see a combo of the best of both.

    The worst of both, IMHO, is someone that lives in an all electric home, is dependent on water/sewer to be delivered to them, and buys all their food from a store ( or worse, most from eat out places ). THOSE folks are 100% dependent on people and forces BEYOND THEIR CONTROL to continue to live. Never understood how anyone outside a nursing home or a babe in mother's arms can let themselves be in that situation.

    On the other hand, even the pioneers weren't 100% free of being dependent on someone else for some things....whether it was just salt, or gun powder or whatever. Even native Americans had a trade/barter system in place before the white folks even got here. So, short of living like a cave man, it's pretty hard to not have SOME dependency on "the grid" for some things ( I refer to "the grid" beyond the sense of electrical power only ).

    The approach I've taken is to remove us from complete dependency to the point that if NONE of the outside world exists, we could still get by a long, long time, although at a reduced lifestyle to what we live now.

    Take the basics, for example......water, food, heat.

    We bought this place, in part, SPECIFICALLY because it had the potential ( which we developed) for gravity fed spring water. The very first project here was a collection box, a storage tank, and a water line down from the mountain that would supply us with water, and not require electricity to do so. Lot of folks say "you're lucky to have that".....well, LUCK had nothing to do with it. I went LOOKING for a property with certain requirements in mind, and one of them was NOT 'have to drill a well and depend on a pump'. These places many not exist in Kansas...don't know.....but if they don't, DON'T BUY A PLACE IN KANSAS.

    Food: We garden, always have once I got out of renting places while in the army....so we lessen our dependence on the store. Then added pigs, then cows, then chickens, then fish in a pond. This ain't a zoo, and I've had folks tell me it ain't a "farm" because we don't sell much off of it ( as in make a profit )....but it's a FARM in my mind, because I think the FIRST OBJECTIVE of a small farm is to keep the farmer alive.....and then if there is surplus, sell/barter that. Modern "FARMERS"...the ones that grow thousand acres of wheat, or soybeans or whatever, are just about as dependent on the grocery store as someone in an apartment in NYC....because if the store empties, they haven't got the skills or equipment to diversify into food to feed themselves. They might be in a better position to trade their massive crop into food, but they might also be in a position they can't even RAISE that massive crop without seed from Monsanto, or fuel/fertilizer from Exxon, or tractor/combine parts from John Deere.

    Heat: WHAT can be more stupid that electric heat, AND having that as your only source of heat ? WHOLE lot of folks around here in that lifeboat. It would seem prudent to have, at a minimum, some form of backup heat, such as natural gas logs or space heater, or better, propane that you have stored, or better x2, wood AND you have a wood lot to produce your fuel, or better x3, you built your house super insulated to start with, have some passive solar going, and reduced your overall need for ANY form of heat from ANY source........whether or not you USE any of those backups, it seems senseless to be totally dependent on something like electricity.

    OK, then move on to electricity. Now folks, you simply can NOT beat grid power for cost...I don't care who you are, or where you live.....if you can get grid power, you ought to.

    So that only leaves the folks that want to live MILES from a power line, due to other advantages they perceive of their location, as contenders for "off grid" when it comes to electricity. 99.9% of the rest of us can, and SHOULD ( for economic reasons ) be on the grid.

    That DOESN'T mean you shouldn't have a "plan B"......a way to keep living at least a 20th century lifestyle should the grid go down, for a day or forever. That clearly means some renewable source. A generator is fine, if the outage is short, or I suppose, even living "off grid", as long as you can get or grow fuel for it....otherwise, a generator is simply a short term time extension....limited to the amount of fuel you have or can get.

    Clearly, that leaves just wind, solar, water power, as your longer term alternatives.

    IF you can ( as I did ) set up a solar PV system which is a back up ( will supply about 1/3 of CURRENT needs ) that also back feeds the grid, and reduces your electric bill.....best of both worlds going.

    And comes the time you need to use it solely, you have it in place, and have enough power to run some basic refrigeration, and lights....which defines the 20th century from all those previous ones.

    The OTHER 2/3 we use is convenience or entertainment use. Yes, we have a clothes line, and my wife uses it in decent weather. And yes, we have an electric dryer, and when the weather is CRAPPY like today, the wet clothes go in it. IF push came to shove, I'd set up a line in the basement over the wood stove, or in the garage or whatever. But I don't mind paying SOME for convenience and time saving devices. Microwave is another example. I just heated my soup for lunch in it....took 2.5 minutes, used some electricity. I could have built a fire in the wood cook stove, and heated it there....time....maybe 30-40 minutes from match strike to eating. Microwave saves time, but, yes, we could do without it.
     
  7. Nadja

    Nadja RIP 3-11-2013 Forum Leader

    Morning Andy and very well said. Thank-you
     
  8. hank2222

    hank2222 Monkey++

    TnAndy i could have not said it better there sir and good morning to you
     
  9. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    Thanks, gentlemen.

    I think there are a lot of semi-romantic notions about living "off grid".

    As I said, if the LOCATION you chose dictates you live miles from grid power, then clearly you have to set up alternative means.

    But that doesn't "truly" qualify as "off grid", IMHO....because if you want even a semi modern lifestyle, there is always going to be a requirement for grid based propane, gasoline, parts, food, cell phone, etc.....let's face it, no man ( or dang few of 'em ) is an island unto himself.

    And NOBODY should cut off their nose to spite their face, economically, by letting grid power pass by their front door and spending thousands and thousands to try to duplicate what they can spend pennies for delivered by wire.

    But by the same token, you CAN vastly REDUCE your dependence on the grid by making some lifestyle changes. It's call "self sufficiency", and a worthy goal to strive for, even though most of us will never make it 100%....and probably wouldn't WANT to IF we knew what it entailed.

    Caveman living sucks. :D
     
  10. Nadja

    Nadja RIP 3-11-2013 Forum Leader

    I agree with you about this, however, those of us that had no choice are there or soon to be . But, since I know you are at least attempting to get there slowly but surely, if one morning you wake up and the elec. grid is gone, you will at least be able to maintain. That is far more then most folks are prepared to do.
     
  11. hank2222

    hank2222 Monkey++

    Nadja will understand this part better than most at one time to run the wire for the socalled grid lifestyle it was going to cost more than $15,000.oo to run the power back to my place and now with the people liveing about 1000 yard behind now have electric power so taping into the grid is going to happen but the big thing is beening able to have the same power needs when the gird is not around ..
     
  12. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    TnAndy wrote "OK, then move on to electricity. Now folks, you simply can NOT beat grid power for cost...I don't care who you are, or where you live.....if you can get grid power, you ought to."

    This is the MOST Important statement of FACT, in Andy's whole post... and needs to be understood by ALL folks that are contemplating Off-Grid Living.
    The next cheapest energy source for Off-Grid, is MicroHydro, in ANY cost benefit analysis. TnAndy makes really good sense, when he talks about buying land and looking for just the right place, with just the right kinds of resources on it. Then PLANNING is the real KEY to the whole thing. Planning, Planning and more Planning. Energy is never cheap, but you can get by with a lot less of it if you just make a few simple changes in lifestyle.

    TnAndy, You should write your story up as a Blog, so that others can understand how this is done....
     
  13. Nadja

    Nadja RIP 3-11-2013 Forum Leader

    Your lucky Hank, as 16 years ago when we bought this property, they quoted us over $80,000.00 And that was a long time ago.
     
  14. hank2222

    hank2222 Monkey++

    that was in 1983 prices for running it the wire and poles a mile down the road into the area and that was the main reason why i went off grid was the basic price of running a wire and a set of three poles down the road to the place back in 2008 time frame and it was going to cost just as much as the 1983 price and i said forget and went total off grid ..

    since in the people in back of me went with the grid power it only cost me about $150.oo dollars to tie into the grid and have some basic power items ..

    iam going to have to rewire a couple of things with a switching system that allows me to run the 110 volt items i have saight off the grid and when the grid goes down i can switch back over to the battery bank for power ..plus i have to install a couple more 110.volt items that i can use when on the grid and replace place them with 12.volt items when the time is need for off grid power system to be running the place
     
  15. Nadja

    Nadja RIP 3-11-2013 Forum Leader

    Cool ! Can I come over a couple of mornings a week and make my waffles ? LOL
     
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