Considerations and con’s to living off the grid
As the price of power and utilities continues to rise, many residences are switching over to living off the grid. From an outsider’s point of view, this is the ideal way in which to live.
You are self-sufficient and your cost of living is greatly reduced.
However, there are some considerations and concerns that must be addressed by anyone planning to start living off the grid.
Primarily, you need to see how the local government will zone your residence or if you are in violation of local law.
Where this may seem to be the whole point in going off the grid (to avoid government involvement) you do need to address logical considerations. Here are 5.
5) Off Grid Living may upset the authorities
If you decide that you want to live off the grid, then you might want to prepare for the authorities to start harassing you.
Most states have some mandated form of keeping you on the grid system.
Whether this is regulating how you hook up your water, what constitutes a power source, or mandated waste management, you can rest assured that you will have to do a bit of research and tweaking to keep from being fined.
When residences go off the grid then the county loses money.
Where one house will not make or break a county’s budget, several would cause a problem. So when one person goes off the grid the county steps in to try to intimidate the person into hooking back up to the grid.
Usually, they will try local ordinances as an intimidation method.
Secondly, they will try to state that you have an unsightly home or that you are violating the rights of others (for example that you are obstructing the view of a neighbor with your wind turbine or stealing government water).
The County of Los Angeles, California filed an order against Oscar Castaneda claiming that he was bothering the neighbors.
In a video released by Oscar Castaneda it is clear that the only neighbors that he has are desert animals.
Indiana has had local authorities charge residences for living off the grid. Arizona has implemented taxes on those which go to living off the grid.
Florida has an ordinance which states that “homes must be connected to an electricity grid and a running water source”. Robin Speronis was found guilty of not being hooked up to a legal water supply.
4) If the weather goes, so does your power
Those which are living off the grid will find that their power options are dependent upon the weather.
If solar panels are installed, then the sun must be out in order to generate that power.
If you go through a week of overcast skies then you may not get the power that you need to operate your home effectively.
Those which are using wind turbines will not have power for long should the wind refuse to blow.
Where it is true that your power will be stored for a time in batteries and that you may even have a generator for power, your disaster plan (as good as it may be) cannot compensate for long shifts in the weather.
It is a good idea that you have several different methods of securing power.
For example: If you live in an area prone to storms and high winds, use both solar power as well as a wind turbine.
3) If you have a problem, who do you call?
One of the overlooked luxuries of being hooked up to a grid is that you rarely have to worry about any interference with your services.
If there is something that causes a disturbance, generally the power or utility company come and fix the problem (many times before you report it).
However, when you are relying on renewable energy and your survival skills to provide you with all your needs, what do you do when there is a disruption of your services?
Obviously, you cannot call the power company or the utility company (they are probably already mad at you for not using their services) as you will get a “you’re not our customer we can’t help you” message.
The only solution to this problem is to have a disaster plan in place for if something were to happen to one power supply. Yet, even with such preparations, you are limited to your own knowledge or to that of a fellow off the grid resident.
2) Living off the grid limits your water supply in some cases
If you are converting an on the grid residence to an off the grid residence, you may find that your water supply is greatly limited, especially if your home is within an area where water is restricted by the county and drilling a well is against local code.
In such cases your only means of water would be from rain water or from off property sources.
In the event that you have to use off property water sources, you would need to own that property as well as your resident property.
Just getting water from a river or a stream may get you a fine for “stealing water”.
Even if you have a residence in a rural location, you will need to ensure that you do not get fined for having an illegal water hookup.
Living off the grid has many advantages, but those wishing to do so must ensure that they do so carefully.
Where you can live off the grid in any state (though they may not want you to) you will need to do so tactfully.
Find out what alternative methods are supported, hire a lawyer if needed, and then convert your home over to an off the grid residence.
If your house is already off the grid, ensure that you read the county definitions of what constitutes water suppliers, utility hook ups, and electricity so you will not be bullied.
1) Your Friends Might Think You’re Crazy
Let’s be honest here, we all know that TV shows make “preppers” look like crazy people. However, the truth is that we’re the most prepared out of anyone.
When SHTF, we’ll be the ones who aren’t freaking out and dying off because we are prepared.
We have food storage, know how to catch food in emergency situations, have emergency medical supplies and know the mindset it takes to live off the grid.
So if you are preparing and living off the grid, more power to you. Keep it up!