Going off the grid

Going off the grid: An easy guide helping you make that transition

Believe it or not, nowadays people are choosing to downsize their entire lifestyle. Instead of trying to keep up with the Jones and living the lavish upper-middle-class life, more people are trading in their modern size homes for new tiny houses. Within the last five years, tiny homes have become very popular and many people have gravitated toward the idea of purchasing or building their own tiny home.

The major advantage to going off grid is that you get to live the ultimate simple life and avoid paying expensive mortgages and utility bills.

Often times, household bills can prevent people from doing what they want in life, but many people who decide to go off-grid tend to live a less stressful and freer life.

They are not necessarily tied down to anything, therefore giving them the opportunity to travel, spend more time with their families, and pursue different endeavors in life.

Tiny home Off-grid living may seem like a no brainer for most, but you have to understand what exactly to expect going off-grid because you will definitely have to make a lot of changes and a few sacrifices.

 

What changes to expect when Going off the grid:

One of the first changes to expect when going Off-grid and moving into a tiny home is its immense small size. Most tiny homes fall into the range of 100 – 400 sq ft. That’s not very large at all, so make sure you’re prepared for the significant size reduction.

Another major change to consider when transitioning to a tiny home is the difference in sewage and plumbing.

Without a septic tank, you will have to use a composite toilet and empty the waste yourself. There are some tiny homes with regular toilets, but you will still have to empty your own waste.

The next dramatic change is energy consumption. Once the decision is made to live off the grid, you are no longer connected to the power grid. The main phenomenon in going off the grid is the ability to generate your own power system. Instead of receiving power from the city, you will now be able to create and produce your own electricity through the use of solar panels.

Based on the solar power setup of your system will determine how much energy you can use on a daily basis. (we will get into that later)

The last but not least thing to expect when you decide to go off the grid is the overall change in the environment. Most off-grid homeowners tend to spend more time outdoors, so if you’re not an outdoor person and hate to travel, then going off-grid may not be the best option for you.

 

Do you have to live in a tiny home to go off the grid?

The answer to this question is certainly not. This article leans more on transitioning into a tiny home, but under no circumstance do you have to move into a tiny home to go off-grid.

Many people have decided to place solar panels on their roofs and go off grid without leaving their homes, but remember you have to run many appliances in a regular home which can take a lot of electricity to run, especially if you have a decent size family.

Unfortunately, it’s going to take many solar panels, and a large battery pack; this setup can get pricey very quickly.

Instead of going fully off-grid, many homeowners set up a grid-tie inverter to run off solar in conjunction with their main electricity. In this setup, you’re essentially tied into your grid to help save on electricity.

Depending on your setup and how much energy you produce, you can have your energy company give you credit back for producing enough of your own electricity. If you decide to go with a grid tie inverter, there are many you can choose from. We posted a link to where you can get a good Gridtie inverter on the list below

Please Note: Most grid-tie inverters are plug and play, but before you engage into any electrical work, consult with a local electrician or read and watch videos teaching you how to properly set up your panels with a grid tie inverter.

 

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Advantages of going off the grid

There are many advantages of going off the grid, but we’ve formulated a few that really stick out

Energy saving- This is a no brainier, the amount of cost saving over the years will really pay off. Now, of course, there will be an upfront cost, but the trick is to not worry about the initial expense because you will enjoy years of free energy later.

Money Saving- The money saving with going off the grid cannot be ignored. Most tiny homes cost no more than 40 thousand and that’s if you don’t choose to build it yourself.

Building a tiny home can be very inexpensive and with a good tiny home blueprint and a handy helper, you can build a cool tiny home for under 20 thousand dollars in just 2 to 3 months. That’s Amazing!

This new concept creates a new phenomenon in owning your own home if you can purchase, finance, or build a tiny home for under 25 thousand, then imagine all the other things you can enjoy in life. If you want to build your own tiny home instead of purchasing one, then check out this easy to follow blueprint called Tiny home plans

Environment saving -If you want to keep the environment clean then this is for you. Instead of using oil, fossil fuel, and coals, clean energy such as solar power, wind turbine, and hydroelectricity is quickly becoming our favorite new resources.

Clean energy doesn’t create dangerous toxins and pollution in the air that can affect the environment, so going off the grid you are definitely helping preserve our beautiful planet. Imagine having peace of mind when generating your own power, and saving the environment at the same time.

 

Equipment you will need to make going off the grid happen

Ok, let’s get into the meat of this article. To make your off-grid tiny home living a success, then you’re going to need some equipment to get started.

  1. Solar Panels– First and foremost, you’re going to need to purchase solar panels. Unless you want to really go off-grid, solar panels are essential to have if you want to run electricity to your tiny home. Most 100watt solar panels only run from about 100 -130 dollars, so dropping a few hundred bucks is not unusual. Here’s a good monocrystalline solar panel you can purchase on Amazon to get started.
  2. Battery-This is another essential product because you need a source of energy to power your house when the sun goes down. Your solar panels pretty much give you electricity and at the same time charges your batteries during the day. At night the reserved battery power will automatically kick in. It depends on how much battery capacity you have per battery and how many batteries you have in order to determine how much energy you can use at night. Here’s a good 12v 100 ah battery you can purchase for your panels.
  3. Charge Controller– Controls the amount of power going into your battery. If you don’t have a charge controller, your solar panels can easily destroy your batteries from overcharge.  A charge controller is a must-have if you want to maintain a productive solar power system. You can purchase a good MPPT charge controller on Amazon
  4. Inverter– converts DC current to AC current which is used in regular household appliances. You must have a good inverter so that you can use your normal household appliances off-grid. Here’s a good 1100watt 12v inverter on Amazon with great reviews
  5. Grid tie inverter– Connects to any outlet in your house and basically converts DC power received from the solar panels to AC so that you can run your own electricity into your house and back to the power grid. Depending on how many solar panels you have, this could dramatically reduce your electricity bill ( Also make sure you purchase a Grid tie inverter that detects when there is a power outage, so that you don’t electrocute someone working on the  power lines) Here is a good grid tie inverter from Amazon that will turn off if there is a power outage
  6. Composting Toilet- No surprise here, if you plan on living off grid then you’re going to need a composite toilet or something similar. These unique toilets use a natural cycle called decomposition to break down human waste. Use Cocoa coal or peat Moss to dry out and break down your poop and reduce the smell. We would recommend using the Nature’s head Composite toilet. Check prices on Amazon
  7. Low watt air condition. If you’re going to use an AC unit, then it must be a low wattage one. Also, make sure you have enough solar panels and battery power to make it work. We recommend getting a  9,000 BU Pioneer unit that has a 17 Seer rating. AC units can use a lot of power so make sure you do your homework
  8. Solar water heater– You can use the power of the sun to heat your water. The solar tubes are filled with water and use the sun to heat and store hot water for when you’re ready to use. Check prices on Amazon
  9. Small Washing machine– You can purchase a small washer for your tiny home that doesn’t use much power. Just plug this unit into your inverter and wash your clothes on the go. Here is a 300watt mini washer with great reviews on Amazon
  10. Biodigester- This is an optional route to take if you want to use methane fuel to cook. Just place any type of garden waste or regular trash inside and the BioDigester will break it down to produce methane gas. It’s actually a pretty cool concept that works very well. Read about it and find out how to create one for yourself.
  11. Solar Oven– This is pretty neat. If you like to cook outside then you definitely want to purchase a solar cooker. It uses reflectors to effectively capture the sun’s heat so that it cooks your meals. This is very useful when deciding to go off the grid. Here’s a good solar oven you can purchase on Amazon
  12. Tiny Home PlansIf you are a DIY type of person, then check out these cool tiny home plans that will jump-start your tiny home adventure.

 

Now there are more cool gadgets you can purchase when deciding to go off the grid, but these are among the most important. If you know some other gadgets that are great for tiny home living, please leave your comments below.

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