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Could you live "off the grid"?

Posted By: ZZman

Could you live "off the grid"? - 06/08/18 07:25 PM

I often watch shows where people want to live off the grid in the boonies. I like the use of solar and wind power to do it. Not so keen on some water systems and sanitation solutions.

As long as I could have Satellite TV and Internet it sounds intriguing. But would that be like cheating?

How about you guys?
Posted By: madRiver

Re: Could you live "off the grid"? - 06/08/18 07:41 PM

Id be fine but would have to live like tons of people who live in third world in close to off grid in terms of little/no electricity and easy water supply BUT own a smartphone.

No interest in TV. As kid my grandparents summer place in NH mountains had a attached privy for toilet and due to elevation a nearby uphill spring fed into small water tank which in turn we ran a waterline directly to house and got decent pressure. No electricity but propane for cooking.

My version of off grid!
Posted By: Leo99

Re: Could you live "off the grid"? - 06/08/18 07:44 PM

I think any of us could. It's a matter of would we want to. I love electricity and running water.

The end of the human race will be that it will eventually die of civilization. R.W.E.
Posted By: SirTanon

Re: Could you live "off the grid"? - 06/08/18 07:54 PM

Nope. I use the internet WAY too much for so many things to be able/willing to live without it.
Posted By: Bud

Re: Could you live "off the grid"? - 06/08/18 07:55 PM

Originally Posted By: Leo99
I think any of us could. It's a matter of would we want to. I love electricity and running water.

The end of the human race will be that it will eventually die of civilization. R.W.E.


This
Posted By: brianl703

Re: Could you live "off the grid"? - 06/08/18 08:06 PM

Originally Posted By: ZZman
I often watch shows where people want to live off the grid in the boonies. I like the use of solar and wind power to do it. Not so keen on some water systems and sanitation solutions.


I could run both my well pump and my septic system off of solar power(I've run the well pump off a 1500W inverter already). If I cleaned up the hard water stains and you never looked outside to see the septic tank risers and the wellhead, you wouldn't know my house wasn't on public water/sewer.
Posted By: pandus13

Re: Could you live "off the grid"? - 06/08/18 08:11 PM

I did...
Not interested anymore.

The most important are:
clean water,
some water (cleaning, occasional bath)
food/preserving
close to some road
safety
access to emergency services.

Now my 2 experiences:
1. Granma's (my dad side) house:
-clay built house
-no electricity (too poor for that); no fridge
-water from 50+ meters deep well; manual wheel chain drive...
-outhouse in the "garden"; about 50 meters from the house; a joy for a 5 years old boy during the dark night; newspapers where rare so all kind of leaves for...
-every meal cooked on top of cast iron oven; plenty of smoke...
-some thicks from raising animals..

2. 2 summer guarding and caring 2ha. of watermelon:
-makeshift tent/cube
-carry clean water from 7 km, 20 L at a time; me fit
-sleep on the ground
-other water was in the groove, "next door".
-mices galore (former wheat culture)
-no power, so no fridge/tv/radio; battery powered radio, well had to save the batteries
-no gas; cook with makeshift grill
-only eat what you can carry; extra bonus only when watermelons ripe
-potty was away from the "tent" or a whole dig in the groove "next door"
-windy/humid/cold
-chasing away at night the many guys wanting a free watermelon (talk about looking over your shoulder while passing trough that village during the day)
-plenty of blisters, sometime with blood, couple heat exhaustion, sun burned (cause no shirt no hat to "toughen up") , no water 'till I finished whatever task to "toughen up"

Instead I would just go minimal in a quiet neighborhood/suburb close to a big town with good hospital/other services.
Do the "grumpy neighbor" routine couple times and nobody would want to be close to you...
Posted By: EdwardC

Re: Could you live "off the grid"? - 06/08/18 08:11 PM

Originally Posted By: brianl703
Originally Posted By: ZZman
I often watch shows where people want to live off the grid in the boonies. I like the use of solar and wind power to do it. Not so keen on some water systems and sanitation solutions.


I could run both my well pump and my septic system off of solar power(I've run the well pump off a 1500W inverter already). If I cleaned up the hard water stains and you never looked outside to see the septic tank risers and the wellhead, you wouldn't know my house wasn't on public water/sewer.


Exactly, with the right setup and initial investment, you could easily live day to day as you do on the grid (also assuming you live in an appropriate locale). Off the grid just means disconnected electrical utility, and arguably disconnected from all public utilities. It doesn't mean that you disconnect from society/news/internet.
Posted By: ammolab

Re: Could you live "off the grid"? - 06/08/18 08:23 PM

I will find out soon....the soldier canyon wild fire will cut off power to our town in 30 minutes!
Posted By: Imp4

Re: Could you live "off the grid"? - 06/08/18 08:41 PM

Originally Posted By: ZZman
As long as I could have Satellite TV and Internet it sounds intriguing. But would that be like cheating?

How about you guys?

Isn't this kinda like saying 'As long as I can have apple pie and marshmallows, I can absolutely live sugar free!'.
Posted By: BrocLuno

Re: Could you live "off the grid"? - 06/08/18 08:47 PM

I think the ideal is to spread out enough that each of us could have 1~2 acres within 1 hour of a town or small city ... Rural electric if available, or solar/batteries/inverter/generator and good well. Septic system laid out well away from the home. Good perc.

That would make it a mostly "semi-closed" loop. Water up and through the system and back into the ground. Some lost to irrigation, etc. Heat from the "system" captured as much as possible (heat exchanger on the genny, etc.) for cold foul days w/o enough sunlight ...

Food bought in and collected locally, neighbor sharing.

TV/I'Net via satellite or cable. In the ideal world we'd all have fiber optic to the door. Emergency services in the town with a decent Hosp within the one hours radius.

Live as you want. Mind your pollution. Don't build and fire cannons at your neighbors. Share big resources like a bull-dozer, etc. Share your kitchen garden with neighbors, etc.

Not "off the grid", just on the fringe - oh, that's how we live now ... smile
Posted By: tig1

Re: Could you live "off the grid"? - 06/08/18 09:11 PM

I the mid to late 50s my family lived off the grid for 2 years. We lived in southern Missouri near Summersville. We lived in the country and had electricy but no running water. Just a 20 ft cistern. We had a wood stove for heat, and no AC, but a very nice outhouse.
Posted By: SirTanon

Re: Could you live "off the grid"? - 06/08/18 09:16 PM

I don't need water or power. Just this ashtray... And this paddle game. - The ashtray and the paddle game and that's all I need... And this remote control. - The ashtray, the paddle game, and the remote control, and that's all I need... And these matches. - The ashtray, and these matches, and the remote control, and the paddle ball... And this lamp.
Posted By: 4WD

Re: Could you live "off the grid"? - 06/08/18 09:25 PM

Originally Posted By: ZZman
I often watch shows where people want to live off the grid in the boonies. I like the use of solar and wind power to do it. Not so keen on some water systems and sanitation solutions.

As long as I could have Satellite TV and Internet it sounds intriguing. But would that be like cheating?

How about you guys?


https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=iJISjgdiB2o
Posted By: Rmay635703

Re: Could you live "off the grid"? - 06/08/18 09:27 PM

Yes I could, if I had a supply of natural gas or propane anyway.
Posted By: Al

Re: Could you live "off the grid"? - 06/08/18 09:33 PM

Depends on the restraints. If there were no outside food source I have food for several months. I am independent as far as heat and water (I have a pool). But if there were no grocery stores.....we are all done..gangs of looters and people willing to kill to take your stuff.

Other than that I could go longer than 90% of folks.
Posted By: Al

Re: Could you live "off the grid"? - 06/08/18 09:36 PM

Depends on the restraints. If there were no outside food source I am independent as far as heat and water (I have a pool). But if there were no grocery stores.....we are all done..gangs of looters and people willing to kill to take your stuff.

Other than that I could go longer than 90% of folks.
Posted By: sleddriver

Re: Could you live "off the grid"? - 06/08/18 09:41 PM

Find someone down here, in this age & times, living in hot & humid Tx, very close to the Gulf, with no air conditioning. No doubt people used to do it, but then gas was 15 cents/gallon. I guarantee very, very few would put up without it today.

I have solar hot water. Works great in an all electric neighborhood. Makes sense here. Neither solar nor wind is dense enough though to run A/C day & night given the load & start-up current required to be both practical and cost effective.

You could easily do it living on a sailboat, even have A/C, however. Even in the Gulf.

Living at elevation, up North, in the mountains is far different than the flat, hot, humid South close to the Gulf.

Quote:
As long as I could have Satellite TV and Internet it sounds intriguing
????
LOL....
Posted By: fdcg27

Re: Could you live "off the grid"? - 06/08/18 10:07 PM

Anyone could live off the grid and just a hundred years back many did.
The question is whether anyone would really want to.
Running water, mains electricity and even trash pickup are just too nice to abandon without good reason.
Some live off the grid because they can't pay their bills due to job loss and impoverishment. They survive without the niceties that most of us depend upon. I've seen some people in that situation and they got by even in our long and cold winters.
For me and my wife, no thanks.
Posted By: Garak

Re: Could you live "off the grid"? - 06/08/18 10:10 PM

For a time, as a kid, we had no power or anything at the farm, though I was far too young to be participating much in the gathering of water the hard way, or any such thing. We went without a phone until around the mid 1980s. But, we also had the house in the city, which certainly wasn't off the grid. In pockets of this province, there are a number of people doing it still, with no telephone, electricity, or natural gas. I even knew one fellow who ran a small sawmill without electricity.
Posted By: OilFilters

Re: Could you live "off the grid"? - 06/08/18 10:14 PM

Some of you don't seem to understand what "off grid" means. It simply means you do not have municipal power, water, or sewer. That's about it. It has nothing to do with water or food or even lifestyle. If you have the correct solar system, and/or generator, you have as much electricity as anybody else. You have a well and septic just like any other person that doesn't live in the city.

And yes, I intend on building a house in the future that will not rely on any utilities. I will have well and septic, solar panels, and a propane powered cogeneration system. (heat and power from one machine) Otherwise I will use wood heat. I will not be sacrificing any modern conveniences(especially lots of A/C), and it's not because I care one bit about my CO2 footprint...it's because I don't like paying utility bills.

I'll probably have a power connection just so that I can use net metering - you use power from the grid at night when the sun isn't shining, and then turn the meter backwards during the day to make up for it. This way you use the power grid like a big battery instead of having to buy and maintain a battery bank. You can also use the grid for backup if any of your system stops working. Or you can use your own system for backup when the grid stops working.
Posted By: eljefino

Re: Could you live "off the grid"? - 06/08/18 10:18 PM

Originally Posted By: sleddriver
Find someone down here, in this age & times, living in hot & humid Tx, very close to the Gulf, with no air conditioning. No doubt people used to do it, but then gas was 15 cents/gallon. I guarantee very, very few would put up without it today.

I have solar hot water. Works great in an all electric neighborhood. Makes sense here. Neither solar nor wind is dense enough though to run A/C day & night given the load & start-up current required to be both practical and cost effective.


Why can't the waste heat from AC pre-heat your hot water?

My parents had an open loop central AC in their 1950's ranch house. Heat went into tap water which then either went down the drain or out a lawn sprinkler. Very wasteful, so we only used it a couple times a year.

OT I did the math on my chinese inverter generator; it only costs 5x as much as grid power, nowadays, even with $3 gas. I used to assume closer to 10x.
Posted By: fdcg27

Re: Could you live "off the grid"? - 06/08/18 11:09 PM

To be fair, different people have differing definitions of what the term "off the grid" means.
To most, it doesn't mean merely substituting local sources for mains power when convenient while still using mains power when needed.
Posted By: AVB

Re: Could you live "off the grid"? - 06/08/18 11:15 PM

I would miss air conditioning and internet, I could do it though.
Posted By: Wolf359

Re: Could you live "off the grid"? - 06/08/18 11:22 PM

Originally Posted By: AVB
I would miss air conditioning and internet, I could do it though.


But why would you want to? The fact that everyone replying is connected to the internet should tell you something. There's no need to live like a Ted Kaczynski.

No way to live off the grid here, I'm in the city. Haven't lost power in decades.
Posted By: raytseng

Re: Could you live "off the grid"? - 06/08/18 11:25 PM

you definitely need to change your lifestyle to live off the grid.
the grid gives you economy of scale in consumptuon. if you don't change your lifestyle you are paying much more for your consumption and it makes no sense for what you're trying to accomplish.

it would be like saying you can give up your car and you'd live the same way since you have access to rental cars or taking a uber everywhere so that's the same.
Would you?

I am pretty sure if you had to pay per usage youd use things less.
Posted By: ZZman

Re: Could you live "off the grid"? - 06/09/18 12:20 AM

I guess living off the grid can be fairly normal or roughing it. It depends on the person and what they are willing to do or give up.

You don't have to live in the boonies to be off the grid but often that is what comes to my mind.
Posted By: hatt

Re: Could you live "off the grid"? - 06/09/18 12:32 AM

These days you can be off grid and have electricity, running water, and internets.
Posted By: Kamele0N

Re: Could you live "off the grid"? - 06/09/18 12:50 AM

Originally Posted By: SirTanon
I don't need water or power. Just this ashtray... And this paddle game. - The ashtray and the paddle game and that's all I need... And this remote control. - The ashtray, the paddle game, and the remote control, and that's all I need... And these matches. - The ashtray, and these matches, and the remote control, and the paddle ball... And this lamp.


Hey Dudeee...and dont forget your pills also grin
Posted By: henni

Re: Could you live "off the grid"? - 06/09/18 01:05 AM

In line with this thread, how many of you have installed a solar panel, inverter, batteries ?

If you have done so, what kind of system did you start with ?
Posted By: sleddriver

Re: Could you live "off the grid"? - 06/09/18 01:29 AM

Originally Posted By: eljefino
Originally Posted By: sleddriver
Find someone down here, in this age & times, living in hot & humid Tx, very close to the Gulf, with no air conditioning. No doubt people used to do it, but then gas was 15 cents/gallon. I guarantee very, very few would put up without it today.

I have solar hot water. Works great in an all electric neighborhood. Makes sense here. Neither solar nor wind is dense enough though to run A/C day & night given the load & start-up current required to be both practical and cost effective.
Why can't the waste heat from AC pre-heat your hot water?

My parents had an open loop central AC in their 1950's ranch house. Heat went into tap water which then either went down the drain or out a lawn sprinkler. Very wasteful, so we only used it a couple times a year.
Condenser heat could pre-heat water IF you have such a system. Most do not. Wouldn't work for me as I use a heat pump. I do remember mini-cooling towers used on A/C systems in Houston during the mid-60's. Rare to see water-cooled condensers in a residential site these days.

Open loop water cooling as you described would have the meanie-greenies dumping ashes on their heads and driving their Euro SUV's on the sidewalk.
Posted By: IndyIan

Re: Could you live "off the grid"? - 06/09/18 01:30 AM

Originally Posted By: hatt
These days you can be off grid and have electricity, running water, and internets.

Yep, that's what we were thinking of doing at our house. Electricity was going to be like $30k to bring in, but then Hydro1 extended their line to our property and bringing in power was only $10k then so we did it.
Anyways, with a new house, and a new woodstove, heating with wood is pretty painless. Only use 2-3 cords a year, coals last all night, all day, so no restarting for most of the winter, and the house drops very little temperature over 10 hrs.
A well and septic are almost preferable in ideal circumstances IMO, and solar panels and batteries are getting cheaper every year. Also propane is handy for your stove and dryer, hot water tank, and even the generator.
In some municipalities, the new development charges for services are getting higher than what it costs to do your own services, so I think at some point in will be common to design a house to be nearly self sufficient in terms of electricity and perhaps even water.
I know we have long passed the break even point on our well and septic system compared to the municipal rates(they aren't available for me anyways).
Posted By: das_peikko

Re: Could you live "off the grid"? - 06/09/18 01:45 AM

Originally Posted By: ZZman
As long as I could have Satellite TV and Internet it sounds intriguing. But would that be like cheating?


Living off the grid means the government doesn't know where you're at. If you have an internet connection, they'll know where you're at.
Posted By: pkunk

Re: Could you live "off the grid"? - 06/09/18 02:43 AM

I could be 'off grid' IF I wanted to give up the big power needed by 3& 5hp motors in my shop. I 'could' get by by running a large generator for when I needed that big power but is it worth it? Not yet.
Most of the time when I'm off in my motorhome, I'm 'off grid'. I require no electric plugin, have my own water with water heater, and carry my own food and cook with onboard propane. Comfortably parked in one of out National forests by our ourselves & pets. Good for a week or more without replenishing supplies.
Posted By: Wolf359

Re: Could you live "off the grid"? - 06/09/18 03:04 AM

Originally Posted By: das_peikko
Originally Posted By: ZZman
As long as I could have Satellite TV and Internet it sounds intriguing. But would that be like cheating?


Living off the grid means the government doesn't know where you're at. If you have an internet connection, they'll know where you're at.


Why would they know or care where you're at?

Ted Kaczynski was also off the grid and they found him.
Posted By: jakewells

Re: Could you live "off the grid"? - 06/09/18 06:55 AM

Electrical power is flaky in my area i already have well water and a septic tank plumbed to the house and i don't have trash pick up.
I haul a load every other month to the county landfill. I got a small garden that gives me seasonal vegetables / fruit spring through fall and home can what ever i can't eat at one time to save it for a cold day in the winter.

I do have window a/c and wood heat but i do enjoy the way i live. If and when my power failed it wouldn't be a challenge for me to live because of back up options i have available to me.
Posted By: Nick1994

Re: Could you live "off the grid"? - 06/09/18 07:21 AM

Originally Posted By: SirTanon
Nope. I use the internet WAY too much for so many things to be able/willing to live without it.


+1

And Air Conditioning. I couldn't handle it without A/C
Posted By: Silk

Re: Could you live "off the grid"? - 06/09/18 07:33 AM

Originally Posted By: das_peikko
[quote=ZZmanLiving off the grid means the government doesn't know where you're at. If you have an internet connection, they'll know where you're at.


That's what Off The Grid means to me too - being invisible to those who have a need to know who and where I am.
Posted By: Yah-Tah-Hey

Re: Could you live "off the grid"? - 06/09/18 08:14 AM

Originally Posted By: SirTanon
I don't need water or power. Just this ashtray... And this paddle game. - The ashtray and the paddle game and that's all I need... And this remote control. - The ashtray, the paddle game, and the remote control, and that's all I need... And these matches. - The ashtray, and these matches, and the remote control, and the paddle ball... And this lamp.
"That's all I need....a couple of Twinkies." Great movie. Wish TCM or AMC would show it again. TCM has gone to the birds since Osborn died.
Posted By: Yah-Tah-Hey

Re: Could you live "off the grid"? - 06/09/18 08:23 AM

When I was in college, I spent the summers working for R.R.Crow Lumber Co. cutting right away to timber purchases in the Snowy Range. We lived in six man tents with a wood stove. The company provided the cook and the meals for very good. Had to heat water to bathe or jump in very cold streams. I thought it was great. But now I want power, water and sanitation. Speaking of power, the lights are flickering here as we are experiencing another thunderstorm and weather radio is going off every ten minutes.
Posted By: Al

Re: Could you live "off the grid"? - 06/09/18 02:52 PM

Originally Posted By: das_peikko

Living off the grid means the government doesn't know where you're at. If you have an internet connection, they'll know where you're at.

Paranoid much?
Posted By: madRiver

Re: Could you live "off the grid"? - 06/09/18 02:58 PM

My home(1911) is according to definition was off grid till 1949 when electricity came in. Before it had gas lights and some sort of stream heating system. The water was a dug well with insanely a cistern only 30 away for sewer.
Posted By: Wolf359

Re: Could you live "off the grid"? - 06/09/18 03:03 PM

Originally Posted By: Al
Originally Posted By: das_peikko

Living off the grid means the government doesn't know where you're at. If you have an internet connection, they'll know where you're at.

Paranoid much?


Just because you're not paranoid doesn't mean that they're not out to get you. laugh
Posted By: pandus13

Re: Could you live "off the grid"? - 06/09/18 06:00 PM

Originally Posted By: ZZman
I guess living off the grid can be fairly normal or roughing it. It depends on the person and what they are willing to do or give up.

You don't have to live in the boonies to be off the grid but often that is what comes to my mind.

Guys,
can we skip the technicalities of solar or not and also concentrate on smaller details?

like:
-clothes needed
-tools, big and small
-camping roughed kitchen
-vehicle? I would guess simple, tall, AWD ,low yearly miles, sit a lot?
-type of house: I would think well insulated, probably from local materials: clay would have to be protected from water; i guess multiple layers of stucco with heat/cool retention and as much natural ventilation?
-number of regular trips to "town" and for what: health-check, food, more tools, etc
-do you really need power/electricity?

What do you say guys?
Posted By: onetwoothreee

Re: Could you live "off the grid"? - 06/09/18 06:38 PM

Originally Posted By: ZZman
But would that be like cheating?

Not if you make the rules.
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