Is it necessary to live in the Woods to live off the grid? Not at all. Or at least, not all the way.
What is the “grid,” first of all?
The term refers to the centralized – and centrally controlled – distribution networks for such things as power and water, chiefly. To be “off the grid” means you obtain your power (it is not necessarily just electricity) and water from a source independent of this grid that is under your control. So as to not be dependent upon the grid and – even more so, these days – beholden to it. Not having to worry that those who do control it will use it to control you, as by threatening to turn off your power and water.
But it does not mean living in the Woods.
Or at least, it doesn’t mean you have to live in the Woods.
Millions of people (this writer included) are already off-grid as regards their water supply – a thing at least and arguably even more critical than food supply. You can survive weeks without much or even any food. You cannot survive for more than a few days without water. It is hard to eat without water. It is extremely difficult to maintain hygiene without it, too.
These millions of people have wells on their property. They control their water supply, which is also a supply of water that will be free of the things included for “free” in the recycled toilet water that’s piped into millions of other people’s homes; e.g., chlorine and fluoride.
Which they pay to drink and bathe in.
A well isn’t cheap to dig but once it’s done you own your water supply – and you’ll never get another water bill, either.
You will, however, require power to get that water out of the well. But even so, it’s not necessary to connect to the electric grid to obtain it. Most people who have wells also have back-up generators that power the well pump when grid power goes down. In principle, one could power a well pump all the time, without grid power. There is solar power and there is propane power. Many home back-up generators run on propane or can be easily converted to run on it. Including smaller, portable rigs.
Propane is is similar to natural gas but different in that it is not on-grid. There is no propane gas line connecting your home to the distribution network, as is the case with natural gas.
Instead, you have a propane tank – small or big – and the propane within it is not connected to anything besides what you’ve connected it to, such as your home. It can be used in conjunction with solar-electric and grid-back-up power to run a generator and/or a stove and or a tankless water heater. Also, a heater, for you – so that you won’t be frozen out in the winter if the grid goes down.
You can’t “pay-it-forward” when it comes to grid electricity, which is transmitted continuously but which stops being transmitted, completely, when the grid goes down (or a tree downs a power line). But you can with propane. Many people buy it ahead of time, not only to have it – in case the grid goes down – but also to avoid paying more for it. Those who bought a couple hundred gallons before Putin Bad! Ukraine Good! for instance paid a lot less for it than people who bought it after. You can also often buy propane now – ahead of time – for a set price, agreed to by buyer and seller. As opposed to paying as you go. And – if you own your own tank – you can shop for the best price, something that’s impossible to do with grid electric power.
The bottom line is you’ll have much more control over the cost of your propane than over the cost of grid power and once you’ve bought it, you own it and so you control it.
Neither of the above forms of decoupling from the grid requires living in the Woods. It only requires decoupling from the grid. It’s not even necessary to have a well – or a way to power it – if you have a water-catch system, which is a something almost anyone can rig up almost anywhere. Provided it rains, you will have water – and not be dependent on the grid (or power) for it.
This is probably why such systems are being illegalized in some areas of the country. The last thing they want is for anyone to be independent of them. Same goes for talk of charging people who have wells for their own water. No one is under any moral obligation to obey such tyrannical edicts and thus morally free to end-run/disobey them at will.
Wood, by the way, is another way to get off the grid. If you have woods, even better – as you can cut your own wood and use it to heat and cook and even boil water for cleaning, if need be. A wood stove serves all those purposes – and it’s entirely under your control. If you haven’t got woods, you can still buy wood – and once you buy it, you have it. Two or three cords of it, neatly stacked, can be considered the off-grid fuel-equivalent of a year’s worth of stored food. You won’t starve – or freeze. And if you convert federal reserve notes into wood, the amount of wood you bought won’t be 15 (or 50) percent less six months from now.
Another way to be off grid without being (necessarily ) in the Woods is to decrease your dependence upon the food grid. I’ve written previously about raising backyard poultry – chickens and ducks, etc.- and how that plus a garden can be done by almost anyone almost anywhere.
Even in suburbia.
The bottom line is that being off-grid is more a mindset than a location.
. . .
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[…] Via Eric Peters Autos […]
Not exactly on-topic, but the guy who has been paying us rent to cut hay on part of our farm told me today that he can’t afford to do it this year because his fertilizer cost has risen 120 percent. Without fertilizer it won’t be worth his time and fuel expense to screw with it.
I literally cannot give away the fruits of our land. And now I’ll have to burn diesel fuel – at $5 (or who knows what) a gallon – all summer to keep those acres from growing up in brush.
Thanks, central planners and foreign-policy geniuses! What would we do without you?
Wow EP you Grandslammed this one!
Male Mid 60’s retired, and
Female …age …opps ..next question ..(Sweet, No Bullshit, streetwise Venezuelan Caraquena that can still qualify at Lemans..i.e. Unreal driving skills, especially in …ahem developing nation situations…(libertarian road rule environments)
Objective…. Devolve from “The Matrix”….and become a “Net Food exporter”…
Requirements..Super Fertile soil…lots of shit ..preferably free range chicken and my heavy duty Eco friendly “deuces” planted strategically for maximal organic growth benefit ….(Cut a hole in the bottom of a 5 gal Home Depot bucket and go “free range” #2!) …bring a newspaper..and bombs away!
Required land size minimum….32 “Tareas”…680sq/meters…works out to about 5 acres.
Optimal Location…eastern Cibao valley, northern Dominican
Republic ..Major League agriculture area…including the world’s largest organic cocoa plantations…ooouuhhhhh…I’ll be Virtue Signaling!!!!….(sorry no punk emoji for the middle finger salute)..
Self sufficiency ….
leave your wood splitting (heat) nonsense…at home..N/A
Agricultural land ….Ultimate goal.. “That I eat my way through my property…or let the local Bovines munch on the remainder “…F–k a lawn mower or weed whacker…the Ag will be consumed!…Let the subtropical sun Shine In!
My property Must contain at least 1 mature mango tree…
Good luck with whatever you guys are doing to localize supply chains but I’m on 3rd base and gearing up for home plate..before new year 23…
One aspect most people fail to consider is some types of septic systems have pumps and electronic controls which in the event of a longer power failure will have problems. So you will definitely need to consider the electrical load of it which I’m sure will be higher than what a couple solar panels would deliver. Another thing to look at would be a grey water recycling system that would let you use water from sinks, washers, etc. for use in the toilet. It probably is a good idea if you have a rural property which you have to truck water to. Using LED lights and propane appliances will also cut electrical needs. If you install a lot larger than normal pressure tank for the well you may be able to only need to use a gas generator once or twice a day to repressurise the well tank, on the other hand you may be able to use a pressure switch to automatically start the generator when you need electricity for the well pump.
they are banning collecting rainwater ?!?! Almost as crazy as banning the burning of wood, which they are in parts of the UK !! (dont belive me, London has banned new wood burning stoves and fireplaces from being installed in homes !!) Because you know, global warming and all…
Depends on where you are.
In some locations “they” actually encourage it because people can water their lawns without straining the treated water supply.
For the record, concentrated wood burning stoves pollute the local area out the wazzoo if the “exhaust” has nowhere to go… for instance the remote city in southern Chile, Coyhaique is located in a valley surrounded by a pristine environment … the fumes have nowhere to go, thus totally gas out the city….No kidding!
One thing about generators is that you don’t need to run the entire house. A critical load subpanel can be installed off your main panel. You’ll need to install a minimium of a manual bypass switch, but they are very inexpensive and won’t necessarly require an electrician to install downstream of the main panel if you’re handy.
My solar panel inverter will take a battery pack and/or a generator, and communicate with an automatic transfer switch. The 10KWh battery pack I’m on the waiting list for (thank you California for screwing up net metering and Texas for screwing up electricity in general) won’t power everything in the house, but it will power enough to keep the boiler, refrigerator and freezer running indefinitely if I’m careful about other loads.
In theory I could have a propane conversion kit on hand for my boiler and hot water heater, but that would get a little dicey if TSHTF scenereo plays out and I’m trying to get the heat back. But I should able to at least boil water and cook food (and use the outdoor grill) so it wouldn’t be super comfortable without gas but I’d survive for a little while.
I have such a panel already installed. When the grid power goes down, I switch to the “gennie panel” that send power to the ‘fridge, well pump and the outlets for my office and the bedroom. Outside, there’s a single female plug for the cable that runs to the gennie. That’s it. I can run everything I need for days with about 10 gallons of gas; a week if I don’t run it continuously. I want to upgrade this as you have to solar/batteries so I could keep things going even without gasoline. But I have yet to “hip” myself to the particulars… working on it, though!
While a book is a more comprehensive reference for solar and wind power you and your wrongthinkers may like the off grid content on these youtube channels:
John Daniel [bull icon]
Excellent stuff, Castle – thanks for passing all of that along!
I forgot this gem. This guy documents building small cabins, outhouses, sandpoint wells and water catchment in a calm-almost documentary style. His most recent small cabin builds could be imitated by any able bodied single man to start a basic homestead on a rural parcel with common tools.
Highly recommended. Go galt the bushradical way.
You realize, Eric, that thanks to this article, likely an entry was made in your “Phile” (File), being kept by some “investigator” employed by the “Gubmint” in the Department of Homeland (In)Security – the latter-day version of the Soviet Union’s KGB and Nazi Germany’s Geheimestatspolizei, aka “Gestapo”. Now you’re one of the greatest “domestic terrorism” threats…a PREPPER.
I can guess what you’re response is, or should be, but I’ll let you speak for yourself…it is your forum.
Morning, Douglas –
As the Emperor Palpatine said when Luke refused to turn: So be it.
I know it is probably wiser to keep the lowest profile possible; for someone in my line to shut up and only write what is acceptable to write. That doesn’t work for me. It never has. I’ve had the great good fortune to have been born and raised to adulthood in what was (then) a remarkably free country and I will not traduce its memory by pretending it wasn’t so – and that what is going on now is ok. More, I feel obliged to do everything I can to resist and encourage others to as well. If they come for me, for the “crime” of being peaceable and wanting only to be let alone and to let others alone, well…so be it.
I am not a religious man but I do not consider existence at any cost the highest value. Life is precious in part because it is not permanent – but we ought not put the permanence first because that is illusory. We – those of us who can remember what America was – have been privileged to have enjoyed the fruits of the labors of others and owe a similar debt to the future generations who will come after we are gone.
So be it.
I agree Eric. I’d rather die a man… a free man, than live as a pussified soy-boy beta cuck. If enough of us were to, you know, actually live this way we wouldn’t be in this mess.
tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito
Passivity, apathy, and hiding are worse than death. And I would never call raising your own food, collecting rainwater, and chopping your own wood ‘prepping’. It’s simple living and living free.
If you’re driving to town to pick up some groceries, you’re connected to the grid.
Not many can grow barley, store barley, make barley malt, have hops, cook the mash, add some yeast, then make the beer. Breweries make beer all of the time, buy your beer. You need a malting house.
Butchering a 1200 pound steer is going to tire you out and you’ll need a big freezer. You’ll be able to have brisket. Hire a butcher. Chickens will be less work, they can be butchered and eaten the same day. Water is always an issue in rural areas.
A documentary of an off-grid farmer: Grandfather
Everything needed to survive is there.
Drumph, that is kinda part and parcel with what I was talking about- i.e. not trying to live with the things to which we’ve all become accustomed just because those things have been cheap and easily acquirable under the industrialized economy.
Like me- being a bachelor, it’d be ridiculous to try and can and butcher and do all of that myself. On the other hand, I’ve raised beef and paid others to butcher it- ’cause it was convenient now…but to go fully self-sufficient, I’d concentrate on poultry and small cattle- like goats and sheep, that are manageable by oneself- IF I wanted meat, which I can do perfectly fine without…so I really don’t consider it worth the trouble…just keep some checkies for eggs, and goats for milk.
Grow an eigth of an acre of wheat and harvest by hand? No problemo, if you’re prepared. Some potatoes; fresh green veggies during the appropriate seasons…you really don’t need that muich for a healthy and satisfying existence (And it all tastses and seems a lot better when it comes from your own land and your own work…).
Barter with some neighbors…even better.
We’ve become used to very complex lives full of luxuries that only royalty of the past was privy to….but once we get over that, and pare things down to a more reasonable standard of living, rather than trying to replicate all of the things that the ‘division of labor’ and world trade (and the resultant corporo-government system which it fosters) have spoiled us with, we can look at things more realistically, and find that a more natural life is both fairly easy, and very satisfying. We tend to look at it backwards, because industrialized life within the system is all we have known- but instead of saying “How can I replicate what I used to have while living apart from the system which provided those things?” we should be saying “What do I really need, and how can I acquire it without requiring anything of others or compromiswing my own freedom?”.
You buy electricity to pump water, water is a must out there where nobody wants to be. No water, you’re out. It is the most useful and effective means to have the energy necessary to make it happen.
Rising waters will force farmers from their land, the land gets covered with water. It has been happening, what used to be square miles of farmland became square miles of an expanding closed basin, the water accumulates until it hits the overflow into an adjacent lake. Happened last century. Nothing anybody can do, you lose the farm, not the land, though. A whole town has to be abandoned, the water doesn’t go away.
The video of the grandfather working the land is worth watching. There are other videos on YT that are the same. If you want to view a simple rural existence, look at videos of how Romanians live in the hinterlands.
I grow vegetables during the summer months, cabbage is a big seller. An old Romanian who had emigrated to America bought some one day, three good-sized cabbage heads for ten dollars. He held up the ten dollar bill to pay the cabbage head selling cabbage and said, “this is Chinese money, you know.” I couldn’t disagree.
The local Thai restaurant owner buys all he can when in season. He owns a food trailer, so the cabbage is served at state fairs, the zucchini I grow is the most desired vegetable the restaurant wants for sure. Zucchini is by far and away a favorite at farmers’ markets. Cucumbers win the race, however. Potatoes sell out in no time.
You grow sweet corn to draw customers, that will work. You can’t lose, however, everybody grows sweet corn, so there is too much competition. Just grow the good stuff. Bodacious is the choice to grow. Some don’t like it, but it sells.
Tomatoes are hit and miss, kohlrabi never fails.
You can grow so many vegetables you have to feed them to the goats and pigs. Whole gardens are grown to feed to hogs, it pays. Feral hogs will dig up a garden in no time. You might have to shoot them. Pigs are penned for a reason.
Deer use the road to the house and farmyard to walk to the garden. The deer still roam, the buffalo, not so much anymore.
Romania has some good scenery from what is seen on video. If you don’t mind working all day long, you will probably fit in.
How you going to listen to Maren Morris’ ‘My Church’ if you don’t have wheels?
This guy’s REALLY old school. Looks like he decided not to dick with the 20th Century, let alone the 21st.
A lot of good “off-grid” info can be found at:
Knowledge is power!
Love that you can order the low tech website in print!
They also run a low energy solar powered version of the website from some small solar panels outside an apartment and a single board computer.
Are those blue barrels all the water storage you have? And being outside, doesn’t the water tend to freeze in winter?
I’m hoping you also have an insulated pump house, with at least a 500 gallon tank within. 🙂
My future plans include:
Garden (veg + herb + flower)
Most appliances are gas. I can get by with very little electricity if needed.
You can do a lot on a small amount of land, if you make it a priority and put in the time. Some will cost a little money. And best to space it out in time.
I have thought a lot about this subject. I try to be as self-sufficient as possible. I live in a small village with a utility infrastructure, not out on country land, but it is still more “rural” America and not “urban.”
I guess I could live further out in the country but have concluded that 99% of the people out there are really not much less dependent on the grid than I am. It is very, VERY difficult to go truly “off-grid.” In order to do so you need probably 100 and preferably 200 acres that includes a water source, pasture land, cropland, a woodlot and — very importantly — your own natural gas well. You need the space to put up solar panels for your lights and freezer, too. There are such properties, but not many of them, and in a country of 330 million they are no longer easy to find or cheap.
If you do not have the things listed above you are still dependent upon the grid somehow. If you buy propane you are dependent on having it delivered by truck. If you store rainwater in plastic barrels like the ones shown above you cannot live in an area where it gets below freezing regularly for long periods.
Truly being off the grid means you can feed yourself and stay warm without depending on anyone else. If you have pastureland you can raise livestock, if you have a woodlot you can hunt and cut firewood, if you have a garden plot you can can vegetables and fruit. Even then most people are going to need fuel of some kind, gas, diesel or kerosene, as very few people are going to completely forego chain saws, tractors and motor vehicles these days. But that’s what true off-grid living would take.
“It is very, VERY difficult to go truly “off-grid.” In order to do so you need probably 100 and preferably 200 acres that includes a water source, pasture land, cropland, a woodlot and — very importantly — your own natural gas well.”
I don’t believe that to be the case, X. You just have to be smart about how things are utilized. You don’t need huge amounts of surface area for solar panels, if you’re just powering the standard modern trappings.
For natural gas, I’ve was introduced to the home digester recently, which is an excellent idea for compact methane production.
To produce enough food, one simply has to be clever and resourceful. Raising chickens, meat rabbits and goats doesn’t take all that much land, and farming enough fruits and vegetables for one family can take a quarter acre or less.
Water comes from the sky, pretty much everywhere, unless you set up your homestead in Death Valley. Then, you made a mistake. 1 inch of rain will give you 0.623 gallons of water per square foot, so if you have a 1,000 square foot house and 8 inches of rain/year (most people get more), for example, that’s already 5,000 gallons of water, just from your roof. You can harvest water from your greenhouse, garage, awnings, sheds or any above ground surface and store it for drinking, washing and irrigation. That water is free, courtesy of Zeus.
It’s really all about ingenuity and resourcefulness. If you want cows, yes, it will take more land, but if you’re in a rural area, there is probably a beef rancher near you. I don’t consider it “on-grid” to buy from or barter with neighbors.
No one is ever truly self-sufficient, in the sense of providing 100% of everything they need off their own land.
You want to preserve stuff you will need lots of salt and sugar, for instance. Unlikely you are ever going to mine your own salt.
The key is to produce as much of what is needed as possible, and to produce extras of something. The extras can be sold or bartered if necessary, to fill in what you can’t provide for yourself.
Another key is to learn what you can do without (and for that matter what you can’t).
There is no universal recipe.
It’s more of a mindset.
I have several antique hand cranked drills. I can hardly imagine using it to do the things I do with an electric drill now. My productivity would certainly drop.
I’m truly amazed that some of our ancestors could make do with those hand crank drills.
Re: frozen rain catchment
For folks that live in areas where DIY dug or driven wells aren’t a possibility and also get the deep freeze- use an underground water cistern. You only have to dig below the frost line and install a tank large enough for your needs. Bigger is better for periods of drought. Water can be retrieved by a simple pitcher pump, jet pump or even a low voltage rv diaphragm pump. Filter the rainwater inlet at least enough to keep the chunks out. Use bleach, uv light or ozone in the tank to sterilize the water. Metal roofs are better to draw from than gritty asphalt shingles. Discharge gray water into the garden if possible.
Great article, Eric! This is how it’s done!
On the political front, this is how to “make America great again” or even “build back better”, to use these cheesy and nauseating slogans.
This is how to make a strong, resilient, free, and prosperous country! It’s not “build the wall!” or “tax the rich!”. The only beneficial politicians might be those who run on removing barriers meant to suppress this sort of lifestyle. This is very much more a local (and winnable) fight than that of the federal front.
But, as you said, “The last thing they want is for anyone to be independent of them”, though that is exactly what we must do.
I know this has come up before on here, but grocery stores are spraying chemicals, grignard pure perhaps, indoors. All of them, even the single store indy grocer near me. I spoke with an acquaintance who is now a former employee of such store and she said it’s part of the new “health code protocols” due to the scamdemic. I can smell and sometimes taste this perfumey crap on everything now, including what purports to be organic produce. It can permeate plastic bags and wraps to cause off flavors on breads and cheeses. Even the contents aluminum cans, like the plain seltzer I drink, although I suspect the liquid may be getting the smell/off flavor at the processing plant because every stage of the food supply chain, including delivery warehouses, is spraying this shit everywhere. The whole thing has me feeling sick just thinking about food now. I wonder if that is part of preparing us for the inevitable shortages and famine?
So, yeah, I’m gardening and doing backyard poultry. The vagaries this year are hurting, though. Lotsa weather whiplash. Fake. Yesterday, 3/29, we woke up to 37 degrees and my tomato plants look ill. The day before was 70, today it will be near 70. I had fruit trees budding in warm weather in Jan that dropped their leaves in Feb. Ice at 42 degrees. “Snow” that began in 70 degree weather that didn’t melt until 12 hours of 55 degrees. Clearly ice nucleation chemicals. It seems like another angle of attack against those who might try to not eat the supermarket chemi-cals.
I have an older portable generator and recently replaced the carb with a dual fuel carb, easy to do and I always have a few propane tanks for the BBQ around.
Here in Eastern WA our power has been very reliable compared to Western WA, but that may not last. I can power up the gas furnace if needed since it doesn’t draw much electricity. The hot water tank runs off a pilot light as does the gas fireplace.
They are determined here to eliminate gas appliances including hot water and furnaces so get ‘‘em now if you need replacements! There are bans in this state many areas no natural gas hookup for new construction.
In another life I built a house that had 110 and 220 in their own boxes with a transfer switch hanging off the 110. I had a Sams Club portable generator that would power the 110 side. Also had a natural gas fired tankless water heater.
When the tornados of April 2011 rolled through Alabama, we were left were left without power for a couple weeks. And much to my now arrogant be-yotch ex-wife’s chagrin, she had to admit the money spent wiring the house my way was worth it.
My advice to anyone who wants the independence of “off-grid” living, is to indeed do so in a place where one has the space and freedom to fully do so, and to NOT try and live a “hybrid” life- i.e. don’t try to live with all of the conveniences and appliances of modern living and just try to power with them with alternate sources, as such usually doesn’t work very well. One needs to truly adopt a lifestyle in which they don’t need to depend on electricity and all of the “services” we’ve become accustomed to- and just to maybe have a few little modern conveniences- like media players and a laptop which one can power with 12V- or some tools and lights and other small rechargeables- but trying to reinvent the wheel on a personal scale by producing a household’s/homestead’s electrical needs from alternate sources always ends up being very expensive and unsustainable.
The way to do it, is like our ancestors did it…and like the Amish currently do it. It’s easier to crank a hand-crank coffee grinder or grain mill than it is to provide oneself with electricity to accomplish the same thing. Just watch the Amish…they make it look easy- and it largely is, IF you do it the right way- by doing things directly by hand and with hand tools and by simple old tried-and-true practices…as opposed to just trying to live the modern life and power it all with home-brew ‘lectricity.
RE: “i.e. don’t try to live with all of the conveniences and appliances of modern living and just try to power with them with alternate sources, as such usually doesn’t work very well.”
Got any examples that it doesn’t work very well?
I have some candles, but I have No plans to go full on Amish. That would have to be a forced on me situation.
This is just my experience, for what it’s worth:
I’ve lived more or less as described in the article for the past almost 20 years. I have my own water, so no water bills. Also, my water is not laden with the crap (literally) found in city water. I can (and have) run my well on the gennie and could easily do so for months assuming just a few gallons of gas in my shed. Not continuously, of course. But just enough to keep me in water, in a necessity.
I heat with wood/propane; both doable almost anywhere that isn’t an apartment.
My point is that it’s not necessary to go Amish to live a pretty off-grid life. It’s nice, even when times aren’t tough. But when they become so…
Oh, I wasn’t disputing the points you made in the article (Sorry if I gave that impression). I was thinking more of the type of person who is seeking a self-sufficient lifestyle and or to not be tied to the grid and economic system (Which are becoming inseparably intertwined).
I’ve been into this stuff for most of my life- long before I was able to move to the country- and I’ve noticed that there always seems to be a large contingent who imagine they’ll just get a generator and some solar panels, and power their 2500 sq. ft. house in the desert replete with A/C and deep-freeze and dishwasher, etc.
And there are plenty of vids on Youtube of people with $50 home-brew solar set-ups who give tours of their place….but the system is never quite complete, but will be ‘just as soon as they can afford that one more part’…and of course, even when they somewhat work…a few years later when they have to replace all of the batteries…they don’t show that (B attery-powered electric houses are like battery-powered EVs).
It’s that type of thing I was warning against.
Just think of those people with tens of thousands of dollars in solar/windmills/methane-fart-converters ( 😀 ) if they had spent that money on good old hand tools, and maybe a few hubdred bucks on a minimalist 12V lighting system…and a few 12V chargers….
But what you say is great, and is in-fact very practical- and as you say, no matter where one lives.
Uhhh …. “$50K home-brew solar set-ups….” (Not that there’d be much difference! 😀 )
Yes, Nunz, if you’ve spent $50k on your solar set-up, you’ve done goofed.
So far, I have about 8kW worth of solar paneling, bought at bargain prices, for a total of about $2,200. LiFePO4 batteries for the first (480 sq ft) house will be about $4k. There will be an inverters and solar chargers for from $500 – $1,000 a piece. I’m only going to use about 3kW worth of solar on that house. The other panels will be for the garage and other utilities.
So for my first house on my land, that’ll be about $6,700. That will be overkill. Later, for my main house, I’d like to have NiFe batteries, which are big and heavy but could last for the rest of my life, but that’s another story.
Only solar I’ve ever bought was a c. $50 fence charger…and it didn’t work worth a damn…..
I find that the biggest consumers of electricity are your air conditioning and heating, if you rely on electric heating or a heat pump. The most important way to minimize reliance on those is to insulate well upon construction. That is, better than is normally done with a grid-house.
As Eric et al. have said, heating with wood is a great option, for those whose wood supply is abundant. As long as the sunlight is abundant, solar-thermal heating is easily done as well, with a well designed system.
If one has adequate water and lower humidity, swamp coolers work well, too. If AC is necessary, it can be done point-of-use, rather than centrally, or you can remarkably increase the efficiency of an AC unit by feeding it with air from “earth-tubes”.
Most of the conventional appliances don’t use THAT much power. Save for an electric dryer. A clothes-line can usually alleviate that burden, or just have enough solar panels, and use it in the day.
No need to give up your cordless drill, Nunz. 😉
I think the way the Amish get most things done is with numbers. Many hands make light work. And hey, I have a lot of respect for them and the way they live. But, I’m not going to have many people to help me with anything.
Just what I was talking about. Live like our grandparents lived 100 years ago, and youi can slash any need for electricity/gas by at least 90%. Shade and an open window with a little breeze feels better than A/C. And there is NO substitute for the way wood heat feels, nor for the smell and freshness of line-dried clothes.
Many years ago, I started saying to myself “Why do I need an electric gizmo to do _____, when one where you turn a handle or move a lever would as good if not better a job, and last forever…and still work when there’s no electricity?”.
Some people would say it is a “step backwards”- but in reality, it increases both freedom and quality of life.
Hey, I agree with that, Nunz! I’d rather have manual window rollers and locks in my cars, for example, as they nearly never break and are easier to fix. Less unnecessary complexity is always better. I think I’ll keep the washing machine, though. 😉
Gotta agree with ya on the wurshing maching, BaD! Although, I saw on Craigslist a few weeks ago, someone was selling a truck that came with a ‘wench’- I could see if they just want to sell the wench, and use her for the wurshing…..
Pfff, hahaha. It IS nice when your wares come complete with a wench.
eric, Can you tell me how a duel fuel generator can be run without a $200 convertor for the carburetor. I have a gennie I intend to put in the barn(same feed as the house and everything else and want to power it off propane. It would be a long time electricity producer and probably much cheaper. We converted our house to propane heat that has nothing to do with the old furnace and have acquired window units for a/c. I just need something to convert my gennie to propane so I could use gasoline or propane. It would be right under 220V box that’s tied in with the house and pump house. I just need help in using propane and electricity both. We have saved a boatload of money this winter by not requiring electricity to have our heat. Our electrical bill last month was half of what it was with the furnace. I have plans for a solar water heater like one an old friend made and he’s smiled about it for years.Now I really need an RO unit for house water that will remove farm chemicals from the water.
I was just looking at how fedguv operates and guess who is running the entire shooting match…….? Fauci.
Really all the electric you need is enough to keep the refrigerator, freezer, furnace, and washing machine running. Maybe the oven (you can light the range with a match, but not the oven). It’s very possible to make do without the rest. Yes technically you can do without the washing machine, but believe me you don’t want to if you don’t have to.
I don’t know usage rates, but there is such a thing as a kerosene powered fridge, which is what the Amish use (or at least some of them)–of course that makes you dependent on kerosene supplies. There used to be gasoline powered a lot of other stuff like washing machines but I don’t know if you can get anything like that any more, that was well on the way out 100 years ago. But with a lawn mower engine, a couple of belts, and an old machine it would likely be possible to rig something up in a pinch.
I live in a suburb of city in the Northwest which is near Portland. I’ve seen the power outages Ca has implemented and it’s coming to Oregon/Washington as they go full climate change Marxism. We’ve toyed with the idea of moving to Idaho where my brother lives, but we have grandkids in the area. Idaho has gone thru the roof in people escaping CA which might change the voting dynamic of that state. We have natural gas and electricity at our house, may install a 100amp natural gas generator. This might buy some time during the forthcoming power outage[s] but it wont solve the Marxism that is festering. Marxism will be solved by disobedience, voting, and taking our kids out of the indoctrination centers they call public schools.
I live in Idaho. It has gone through the roof from Cali move ins. One thing that keeps me optimistic is that the Cali move ins that I have talked to are not leftist. They despise the left. The number of move ins also, when asked, usually say that God told them to move here. Whatever that means, it seems that they were directed here by something more.
I don’t like it, but what do I do about it. We had our problems before they came. Time will tell if it gets worse.
That’s what I was wondering, “the Cali move ins that I have talked to are not leftist”.
Why would leftist move from sunny and/or warm Cali, give up he cush job, & go where it gets really cold and there’s not as many shopping & cultural centers etc…? I have read that many Californians who move East, move back, after experiencing their first Winter. Idk.
Maybe you got lucky, Ancap. The Californians that moved to Montana and Colorado some 30 years ago were the stupid ones that thought that “trying it again” in their new home would somehow work “this time around”. Montana has turned purple, and never mind Denver and Boulder. If those two cities could drop off the map, the rest of Colorado would be a great place.
Some other big bad things in city water sources – and even in wells – are: perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) and chloramine. Good water filters seem like a must have. I don’t have a kick ass website to post like I do for kerosene heaters.
A wood stove makes sense if you have an abundant nearby supply of firewood. If not, kerosene heaters are great options. I’ve been messing around with mine & getting more familiar with them this year. I used a Mr. Funnel water filter for fuel for the first time – it really works – I just wished it worked on fuel with stabilizer in it for my gasoline powered machines.
I hope to someday get a wood stove, I’ve read the leadtime to get one installed is about a year out.
Watching this interview kinda makes it seem like a year from now things will be vastly different.
A greenhouse, high tunnel or even tiny hog wire covered garden sections might be a very good thing to have. I’m going to try out Solexx material, I hope I don’t find out the hard way that I should have gone with polycarbonate like I originally planned.
I don’t want to raise chickens, have a garden or compost. I don’t really enjoy doing it, how-freaking-ever; it appears to be what everyone should be striving to do as a result of all the Bizarro things going on around the world today.
I just sorta wished this was all happening when I was 20yrs old & not when I’m 50+, the recovery time is the biggest drag, yeesh, three days after hand loading & unloading a ton & a half of cement blocks for a raised bed garden and my thighs are Still sore.
The Rolling Stones – Mother’s Little Helper (Official Lyric Video)
also common to see nitrates, lead, arsenic, iron, manganese, choliform bacteria etc. in shallow DIY wells. (sometimes see them in ‘proper’ drilled wells too)
A hand pump or even a bailer may be useful if no power.
Iodine does not expire like bleach and will work to purify water.
Well casing water is what becomes stagnant and then forms little bugs. You treat the water in the casing, bleach, place a hose into the well casing opening at the top and circulate the water for a good hour, then run water out onto the ground for an hour or so again. It should pass a water test. Have done water tests a few times over the years, a water test fails, treat the well casing water. The green scum that forms in the well water will be gone the next day after a gallon of bleach is added.
I used the instructions provided at Georgia State University.
I just learned this year what a well water bailer is. They seem like a good backup, easy to make out of pvc & a toilet flapper, I hope I never have to use one… when the power goes out here in the rural areas in the Winter, sometimes, it takes more than a day to get it back on.
Thirsty animals can’t wait that long. It’s amazing just how thirsty animals can get in the Winter.
“..I just sorta wished this was all happening when I was 20yrs old & not when I’m 50+,..”
Agree with you 100%. Strength and energy in my 20s. Hitting 60 in a year and change, no endurance, but lots more knowledge.. I am apprehensive about what could be coming with economy and other issues.
I hear you Manse. I am pushing 70. But we have kids, grandkids that need good examples. Keep fighting. They will follow. Heck, if Brandon can keep doing it at his age so can we.
OT: youzetube suggested I watch someone convert a gas-powered motorcycle into an electric bike. The skill was impressive. But in the end, he spent a bunch of money to get half the range (but oh the acceleration! sarcasm). The base model Duke 200 had a rough range of about 200 miles. The battery in ‘eco’ mode got him about 80 miles. All the comments are gushing; no one questions the practicality of it. Here’s the url if anyone is interested: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z93gBenyDTk
Mike, don’t knock it JUST because it’s electric. Something like an electric bike/electric motorcycle could be a great thing to have alongside your mechanical diesel car or truck. They make a lot more sense than something like a Tesla and with a small enough battery pack could allow a solar/wind charging option. Or more exotic options I’ve seen (wood fired steam boiler providing heat and generating capacity, e.g.). The mechanical diesel, by design, will run on almost anything combustible and can certainly run on vegetable oil and filtered animal fat.
Options give you freedom.
Exactly, Ernie. I have for some time thought that electric vehicles might be a good off-grid option. Nothing like the vehicles that are being produced, of course, but an electric motorbike or light truck might be great if one has the generating capacity.
Great ideas Eric! I just purchased a generator and had my house wired so I can run it when the power goes out. Not enough for the whole house, but enough to run my water pump (I have a well), water heater and lights. I don’t have a wood burning stove, but do have a kerosene heater to keep us warm. There’s plenty of trees in my yard, so I need to figure out a way to install a wood burning stove (my fireplace is not up to running that hot). The Amish have had it right for a very long time about being off grid 🙂
I have seen some really nice setups with wood stoves inserted into the fireplace.
Also, with generators, you should always have a plan ahead of time for IF you go to start-up your generator & it does not start.
I really really like the small pure sine wave generators on the market these days as a spare backup. Especially, the dual fuel ones. Lotsa mixed reviews on them though, time will tell, I suppose.
I have read that the square wave generators shorten the life of some A/C motors and can damage appliances which use computer boards, such as newer refrigerators and the like. I’m no expert though.
“I have seen some really nice setups with wood stoves inserted into the fireplace.”
It won’t work for mine. Very expensive triple wall pipe through the roof (mine’s up 3 stories) is required to handle the temps that wood burning stoves generate. I’ll have to come up with another option – maybe pipe it through a window?
If I recall correctly, the chimney has to be above the roof peak by a certain amount, like a couple of feet. So I imagine that holds true even if you go out the window.
That said, I had a neighbor who built a homemade wood stove out of a ~100lb. propane tank for his 12’x15′ shed & ran the chimney out a window and it didn’t go above the roof peak & he had no problems… that he spoke of.
… Kerosene stored in metal cans (not plastic jugs) is supposed to last for decades. Just don’t use it to heat a greenhouse if it has a glass globe, per milesstairs.
I live in the sticks that used to have plenty old houses that the chimney was run through a window and attached far enough from the house it didn’t need to double or triplewall stove pipe.
A friend made a waterheater from 2water heaters that had holes(leaks) he fixed by welding the holes shut. He put it on the southside of the house in a sealed unit with some thick glass facing sun. It was a make it and forget it thing he’s been running for well over a decade. I could do the same thing and we’d never run out of sun and his stove inside has thousands of acres of mesquite trees he can use to keep the house comfy regardless of the temp. But converting a gasoline gennie with propane seems to bethe ticket for a much lower price.
Thanks for some GREAT ideas, Eric! I live in an inner suburb of a small, local city. I’ve thought about moving, but I know the people and the area. I think that, in the days ahead, knowing one’s area and its people will be important. David Knight talks about the importance of community in building a parallel economy. It’s hard to build community when you don’t know anyone. I also just did a lot of work on my house, which I like. Anyway, for a whole host of reasons, I don’t want to move. This has given me some ideas to be less dependent on The System…
Thanks for the kind words, Mark!
The more we can do for ourselves, the more we can do for others – and that way, rebuild the real community which has been torn asunder by the creeps responsible for all that’s going on…