What if you didn’t have to pay utility bills any longer? What if you could source your own electricity, heat and water instead? This is sometimes referred to as living off-grid. While it can take a lot of work and investment to become self-sufficient, it is possible for some people and there are many people around the world living off-grid as we speak. In many cases, this lifestyle can save people money and have environmental benefits. Below are just a few tips on how to live off-grid.
Generating your own energy
Many homes rely on mains electricity for power and mains gas for heating. Energy bills right now are skyrocketing and more homeowners are finding ways to harvest their own energy.
The most popular sustainable option is to use solar panels. Solar panels convert heat from the sun into electricity which can be used for everything from lighting to electric heating. To power an entire home using solar energy, you’ll likely need a few panels. These are best placed on the roof where they can get the most sunlight. Solar panels can be expensive and it could take a few years to make back the money spent on them.
Wind power may be an alternative option for some homes. If you live in a windy location, a well-placed turbine could be another sustainable way of generating power. You generally won’t generate a lot of power from a single small turbine, so this may be better as a supplementary form of power generation.
There are less sustainable ways to live off-grid. One is to adopt a petrol or oil generator. When it comes to heating, you could rely on canisters of gas as opposed to mains gas. There is also the option of wood burner heaters, which are generally more eco-friendly than gas.
Harvesting your own water
How do you harvest your own water? Many people use rain barrels and reservoirs to collect rainwater. This is most often solely used for gardening purposes or toilet flushing, but you can also convert this into clean water for washing and drinking. Rain barrels are very affordable, while filtration and purification systems can put the price up.
Another traditional solution is to build a well. Water can be pumped up from here and used to supply your home. You can hire water bore drilling contractors to build a well on your premises for you. You will need permission for this and you’ll need to make sure that your home is low enough to the water table (if you live on a hill or a mountain, building a well is unlikely to be a practical solution.
Managing your wastewater
While you can take control of your own water supply, you’ll likely still have to pay a bill for wastewater if you're relying on mains sewerage pipes. For an off-grid wastewater solution, the most common option is to build a septic tank or cesspit.
Cesspits have to be emptied regularly, so you’ll still be paying ongoing fees. Septic tanks meanwhile treat wastewater before draining it into a soakaway or stream. Consider which option you prefer.