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Home Forums General Discussion Help me plan to live completely off the grid?

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    relax – its not hard. good land, good water, clearing to the south. i use my house the same as abnormal people in cookie cutter houses hooked up to the grid. you should be financially prepared because the secondary market which controls banks and mortgages does not lend for building unless” you are connected to the public utility”. you also will not have any luck trying to borrow in an equity situation because they don’t want your house.

    why do you want to live off the grid? the money you save not having utility bills is not going to give you the lifestyle your parents missed? i guess from what you say. take your time planning is key. i would go the earth BURM route. find a nice hillside or create one(excuvation is expensive). have a backup for your backup. cheers gordo. questions just ask


    Financially I have more than enough. I am 100% debt free. I don’t buy anything unless I can buy it outright with cash so I won’t need a loan. I am hoping to stash away some extra funds in an account that will earn me enough interest to live off of and more that I can use to increase my investment.

    My own personal reasons for living off the grid are varied.

    1. I do not wish to live my parent’s lifestyle currently or the one that they desire. My Father rakes in over $80,000 a year and has NOTHING to show for it year after year! I want a place that I can call home that will be all mine, that I have worked hard for and that I will never have to worry about moving out of. Due to my Father’s line of work I have had to move all around the country and could never really put down some roots. However I should also note that I am a linguistics student and I have an interest in world travel. By having a home where I have no bills I could save my income to travel as well as potentially host guests from around the world. One vice that I am working towards eliminating is my desire to collect things. I simply love to collect things. From old school video games ( SNES, Genesis, Saturn ect. ) to professional wrestling action figures I just love to collect stuff. With all of the moving I have done we have had to throw things out or leave many things in storage and I think part of my collecting issues has to do with never being able to keep things with me. I realize that it is a problem so I have decided on a few hobbies and things that I want to have and keep and the rest of my stuff I have found good homes for or sold. Baby steps and all that jazz. I realize that I am more committed to living off the grid then I am to a collection of things that are not being used for any purpose and are only serving to hold me back from my major goals in life.

    2. I am also a privacy and space loving individual who is used to living in a home with ten people. I am not content with that. I want my own home that is designed to my own liking with all of the space I require for doing the things that I like to do. I don’t need a palace but if a man’s home is his castle then I certainly need a castle. A tiny castle… with a nice garden. :)

    3. Security. With my parents declaring bankruptcy next year it would be nice if I had a place where my family could stay if times ever got tough. With a fifteen trillion dollar national debt if something were to occur be it a collapse or even just a riot and my family needed a place to go then I would want to be prepared.

    Earth BURM? What is that? I need a home that is well designed for cold weather, that has space for long term guests in the event of a crisis or overseas guests that I invite to live here for awhile and if I am perfectly honest with myself I think it would be cool to have a house that is designed to look like a small and defendable castle. That last part is not needed but I figure if I work with something like strawbale or compressed earth bricks that the structure would be very strong to begin with. If I added some stonemasonry work to the outside of a structure it would look pretty nice. Of course a small cottage design would suit me just perfectly too. Lots of choices!


    LOL you sound a little like a closet prepper joys, could i make

    a suggestion that you also look at possibly a MAG mutual aid group

    whith what you know you would not have trouble bartering or paying inexpensive

    amounts to get what you need to overcome your stated lack of physical strength.

    just be carefull a lot of crazy people who are preppers/survivalists but also a lot of good people look for a group that is family orientated and

    preferably already established with multiple families.

    If you find that youll likely have all the help you need

    watch out for the zombie prepper types you can generally tell them by

    how quickly they can state the balistic qualities of some sort of firearm

    and ammunition but know very little about anything else like farming,

    building,food preservation etc.

    also watch out for the overly zealous religous type groups

    best of luck to you


    Prepper joys? What is that? Survivalists I have heard of and although it is good to be prepared I want to not only survive but the thrive as well.

    I think my need to over prepare for things, especially where food storage is concerned, comes from my Grandmother and Great Grandmother. They lived through the depression and they have always had a large amount of food storage on hand for emergencies. It makes me feel secure when I open the pantry door and see shelves upon shelves of food.

    Zombie prepper types? You mean there are people who actually believe in zombies? I mean no offense to them and their beliefs but that one seems way out in the field to me.

    As for the overly zealous religious types I live around Mormons and I am an official member of the church myself although I am of the belief that everyone should worship in their own way and that everyone is just working towards the same goal of being a good person and if there is a life after this one that we should all strive to be as good to each other here in order to get to live together there. Pretty basic stuff. To each their own. I am not one of those bible thumpers who likes to go around and try to convert others since I find that vain and that it makes others uncomfortable.

    I have not thought about moving into an already established area although it makes good sense. I figure that I want to purchase ALOT of land for my own personal use so I would be sort of far from other people. I think it would be pretty neat to establish an off the grid town so that way I can design everything to my own vision and if anyone else happens to like that vision and shares my values then they can move on in.


    yep your a prepper thats a good thing. The mormon church are all preppers as far as i know and if your already a member thats your support group and a very good have got to have many friends there that could help you out

    without depleting your finances to much

    just for the record when i said over zealous religous group i wasnt refering to

    mormons and meant no offense but rather there is zealots from all religons

    and its best to avoid them.

    people believing in zombies I dunno? probably not to many but they prepare

    like they are realy going to have to fight hords of zombies lol


    Some of my Mormon friends have HUGE vaults under their homes for food storage. I mean it looks like they have a Wal-Mart under their house or something! I would only be talking about stocking enough food for a year or two for myself and then for my family members in the event of emergency I could get those buckets that contain like 275 meals that last for like 20+ years or something like that so I don’t have a whole bunch of semi perishable foods that would go to waste. My family doesn’t share my views but if things ever got bad I would want to be able to care for them. If that makes me a prepper then I guess I am.

    There are nutcases from all walks of life including but not limited to some Mormons. I know you didn’t mean any offense. None taken. I know just the kind of people you are talking about and I avoid them at all costs.

    I checked online for the zombie preppers and I just can’t believe that there are seriously people who think that could possibly happen. I think the trouble that you fellow man could give you would be alot more to worry about then just some zombies.


    as mentioned in another post you’ll need a solar system. a 24 volt sytsem with about a 1000 watts will be a good start. about 15000 dolars. a thermal hotwater syatem maybe with a propane as backup about 10,000. the structure will depend on the location. i prefere oregon cob style over straw bail. you have to protect the straw from maister and rodent during construction. cob this is not an issue. while its nice thought to keep tires out of the land fill the 1gal plus of petrolium left in each tire will be leaching into you soil for ever. you will be growing food here. no bueno.

    septic- its the same flush your just building a symple system that will seperate the liquid from the shit. the water will evaporate and bacteria destroys the shit. if you keep trees away it will last 20 years. have it pumped in about 8.

    maybe look for land with a structue and add the solar. then build. i live 4 hours from you if you want to take a road trip and have a solar 101 off grid lesson let me know. today cloudy about 35 deg. my hot water was 140 when i got home. im listening to the radio with lights on while on the computer. i have hydronics. in solar concrete becomes a heat sink. meaning i dump extra heat from my hot water to the floors which realease the heat. saves on fire wood. in terms of firewood you will need a minimum of 4 wooded acres to harvest wood from your own propety. comforter- how often to you wash them? laundromat? you could have a washer, propane fridge,propane dryer.

    you don’t need both wind and solar. wind doesnt produce as much as solar. keep all your bread in one basket. easier if you only have one primary system instead of a primary and secondary. a modern wind generator will be another 15 grand. just add about 8000 to you existing solar and you’ll live like a queen.

    really. if you want to check it out you can. i can also show you several other homes here totally off the grid. some with garagedoor openers too.

    cheers gordo


    The solar system like you mentioned will be determined by how far I can cut back on my use of electricity. 1000 watts seems to be a nice place to start and I can always add if I need more.

    For hot water I don’t see why I couldn’t just boil some water and fill a tank or tub or something? Wouldn’t that be a much cheaper alternative?

    I agree with you regarding strawbale. It does have drawbacks. I am also considering compressed earth blocks which is basically a super strong form of adobe.

    Tires I do not want to use. Especially since I plan to grow my own food but to be perfectly honest I don’t want to grow my food in plain soil anyway. I would much rather go with above ground gardening since it would allow me to choose the soil I want to grow with. Especially if I decide to live on land that is difficult to work with and might need a few years of amending before I could plant anything.

    Surely there must be some way to use tires for something. Apparently they take centuries to decompose. With that said I wonder just how detrimental their leaching into the ground is since it takes so long to break down. Maybe if they were sealed in adobe or some other material they could be used for fencing around acreage or something? Whatever they can be used for I certainly do not want them to contaminate my enviornment and land. That is not a good situation at all.

    While I appreciate your offer I will politely decline for now. Knowing someone only by two posts on the internet and being asked to come for a visit in an off the grid location doesn’t seem like a good situation to put myself in. No offense intended but general internet safety says that isn’t a good idea no matter how well I think I know someone online. Thank you for offering however.


    $15,000 for a 1,000 watt solar panel? Seems to have better deals than that.

    They even have an off the grid inverter that generates 6,000 watts for under $4,000 and The Home Depot has a solar power generator for under $1,500 although it doesn’t come with some type of battery that it needs.


    800 portable watts sounds nice too although I do not know exactly how all of these different types of systems hook up and such so there might be more to them then this but it seems like I could power everything I could ever want and then some with these prices.


    your starting to get it. but missing a bit. a 200 watt pannel (3×5) about 900 times 5. mppt charge controler 500 this take the varibility of the actually power coming into the pannels and makes it even then goes to the batteries. 24volt either 4 or eight at 350 each then to the inverter which converts the dc power to ac 3000. midnite pannel with all the disconects lightning arrestor ect 600. puting it all to gether about 2 days. just the wire from my pannels to the system is 1.70 a foot /3 runs/110 feet. not cheep . you dont want to have a sytem that is less then 3500 watts of continuous power. for back up generator youll only need a small 1000 watt as a battery charger if you build the solar system first for power during construction. about 150. or any generator above 6500 continuous for construction. another big varible will be the depth of the well after 200 ft you need a3/4 horsepower moter which requires 208/240 power ( transformer needed 500$) if well is less then 200 ft 1/2 power motor 120v. well 250 ft for 10-13000$. i

    im going to head out to take some sweet sunrise photos ill try to post them on wwoofer site. name of my farm is eddy soli( the recirculating current of the sun.)

    cheers gordo


    ps no offence taken totally understand. also the prices im quoting are full retail ive been able to find almost all my gear used. also i do all the work. typical solar electric rates are about 50-80nan hour. the 2 days is for two people. does not include mounting pannels. on the house or a tracker. i recomend tracker but retail another 3500 installed. i have 2 for sale. but you not there yet. there also not going anywhere fast. check out wwoofer usa. idaho. eddy soli.



    gordo i have to disagree with you on wind and solar much of the

    performace of wind will depend on location and tower height.

    im in a very good wind location and my little 600 dollar wind turbine

    easily produces on average as much as 1000 dollars of panels probably a lot more.not to mention the ability to work at all hours of the day

    i would have needed to be running the backup generator the last few days if it wasnt for the little wind turbine.

    im guessing that during the winter months when i have very few hours of usable sunlight that little wind turbine is going to out perform about 2000 dollars worth of panels.

    before i spend any more money on panels ill put that money into wind power

    without a doubt


    chowan- i hear ya. all hours is excellent. the cost is definetly cheeper per watt. my hesitation is that even the best are still burning up in just a few years service. i think in the next year or so they’ll be much better. my other holdup is i heave perfect steady winds 10-20 but i have lots of sustaining winds that would shut it down. so much of my opinon is based on my location. as well as thejoysofliving….. need to learn 1 thing at a time, pic location and iron out her needs and wants. once some of her variables are narrowed down lots more can be defined for the system.

    what wind gen do you have? where you located?.

    this weekend i may try converting a ceiling fan just for shi.ts and giggles.

    peace gordo


    i have a little Air X wind turbine and im in NE Nevada

    looks like its gone up a little in price since i purchased

    its a little over 3 years old now and the only thing i can see failing maybee

    would be the main bearing but i estimate it would only take me an hour

    and 10 dollars worth of bearings to service.

    also do a bit of tinkering with homebrew wind power ultimately that will

    be the main power source here i have a 16 foot blade i need to get up and running again.


    Wind is awesome if you have it. So is Micro-Hydro which is probably the most cost effective option under equally ideal scenarios.

    Gordo, Iam guessing you like the Oregon Cob due to its DIY nature? What exactly is the main difference between it and regular cob? Doesnt really seem like its a good fit to cold climates due to poor R value..

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