Author Topic: Living off the grid  (Read 12977 times)

Frannie Koe

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Living off the grid
« on: March 31, 2019, 09:12:55 PM »
I do live off the grid but I am not an expert in all these areas.  I am happy to discuss what my partner and I have done for the last 11 years as we have lived off the grid.  I can get help from him to answer questions about our power system etc.  We are actually on city water at this time and do use propane so we are not 100% off grid. We are working towards a solar hot water system and will hopefully have wells put in as well as water collection systems in the future.  We may never completely get rid of propane to cook with. 

Zeb

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Re: Living off the grid
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2019, 10:39:30 AM »
I love the idea of living totally off grid one day, but I don't think my wife would be too happy about it.
We have a well on our property that we use for all garden/livestock water needs, but the house was hooked up to municipal water when we bought it. I'd like to look into switching our house water to well supply, but not sure if we have the time or money to go through with it right now.
I'd absolutely love to have the house solar-powered, and plan to get there eventually, but the initial investment is cost-prohibitive right now. As far as natural gas, I'm not sure if we would ever be able to get away from that either. It's a great backup for cooking/heating when the power fails.

What were yall's first steps as you began to transition off-grid? What do you recommend for beginners?
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Frannie Koe

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Re: Living off the grid
« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2019, 11:36:24 AM »
So, we are not completely off grid. We due use propane for water heating and the stove. We also have some heat that is propane. It is back up for the wood heat in our main house. We also have city water. I plan on putting in two wells. I have a county road running in the middle of my property. We want to run animals on both sides and I have been told there is a river under me!! But to start with I would power a barn and or the wells and electric fences to get used to using solar power. You can retrofit your house. Your wife may be pleasantly surprised later when you have the money to do it. I started with building my barn/house on residency pay and no partner to help. You know how that goes! My first system on this house was $3500. The panels were expensive back then but now the batteries are more expensive. You can do a little system for a barn really cheaply. Panels are much cheaper now but tariffs may change that again. We shall see. I need to learn more about this system because Tim is the one who takes care of it. I have learned some along the way but I don't build it like he does. I am about to learn more when I move my goats daily and use the electric fence and set up some goat barns with power. Let me know if you have more questions.

dredman

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Re: Living off the grid
« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2019, 07:30:44 PM »
What were yall's first steps as you began to transition off-grid? What do you recommend for beginners?

I recommend SMALL solar projects to EVERYONE!  You can learn so much, so fast, and so cheap.
Wells and electric fence are good small projects, but you need to WATCH production and consumption so you can get a feel for what it will take to expand.
Also, the one thing everyone seems to miss: DC is much more efficient than AC when you have to invert.  It is also relatively inexpensive to invert small wattage - lights, small fans, efficient refrigeration etc.
It get expensive REALLY quick when you start to try to run a traditional house, as everything goes exponential.
Shops, barns, and automated systems can be really cheap, fun and easy - and the best place to start.

Frannie Koe

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Re: Living off the grid
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2019, 08:17:24 PM »
I agree Mr. Don!

Zeb

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Re: Living off the grid
« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2019, 05:43:33 AM »
I'm very interested in learning more about what yall have done, especially keeping in mind that you concurrently work a job requiring immersion in 'on-grid' society. What were your first steps? I'd like to dabble/experiment in small steps before we take any plunges.

Without considering others' input, I think my first moves right now would going completely off municipal water via well & rain. I spoke with a patient last week who was on well water before her well collapsed, and has now been on 100% rain water for years now! Was very inspiring and has me wanting to start experimenting with rain collection systems
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Frannie Koe

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Re: Living off the grid
« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2019, 10:43:51 PM »
My partner is not as excited about rainwater catchment as I!! But I am slowly preparing our property for this. I am also working on putting in two wells. I have not done so yet but am thinking about it every week. My first husband drills them but they are in Walker County so it is a long way to bring the equipment from there to here. I am going to look locally for someone who can drill my wells. I have called a couple of folks but they must not be doing it any more as I got no response. We have a solar hot water heater that we also need to install. It is a big job but it is on the list!! 

Frannie Koe

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Re: Living off the grid
« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2019, 10:50:06 PM »
Our fist step was buying our land with nothing on it and building a barn. We put a loft bedroom in it and we never had TVA or Al Power here. We bought golf cart batteries, a boat inverter and a small inexpensive charge controller. It was only a $3000 system as the panels were much more expensive at that time. Now batteries are becoming more expensive!! We also started with a very old (35 yo) solar water collector. We could only use it about 7 months of the year and then drained it. We also had an instant hot water heater and still do. It was not really a big deal going from home to work with on grid power etc. I am much older than you and have always lived on the grid. It has been fairly easy living off grid. The only hard part has been now when it is really hot!! We don't have AC all the time in all spaces in our living areas.

Start with a barn or out building and you can learn on that with a really small system.