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Return to Simplicity By Living Off the Grid

Living off the grid is a way of life that is the stuff of daydreams for most people, but it isn't necessarily that difficult to do if you put your mind to it. You might be surprised to find out that you certainly do not need to be a millionaire to live an unconnected life, since there are plenty of opportunities available for those willing to try it. Knowing how to live off grid is the first step in the process which involves a little bit of research, but it will give you a much better understanding about how much time and money you will need to invest to start living the off grid lifestyle. The basics include:

Land

Finding a good plot of land is the first step in living an off grid lifestyle. You will probably want land that is relatively flat, at least around the area where your will build your home, in order to maximize sunlight for your solar panels. Some pieces of land are better suited for this than others, particularly ranch land, which usually will not have many trees blocking the sun or wind.

Water and Sewer

A residential well and a septic tank should take care of your water and sewer needs. The cost of a well depends on how deep the water table is in your area, but you can expect to pay at least $2,500 for a relatively shallow well. Having a septic tank and leach field installed will run you an additional $2,000.

Electricity

Learning how to live off grid means conserving electricity whenever you can. Solar panels are the first choice for most people, while a wind-powered turbine can provide additional power even at night. The problems for most people who live off grid come in the form of calm winter nights, when no power is being generated. Batteries will be part of any off grid electric system, but a backup generator is a good idea for places with long winters. The price of your electric system will depend on the size of your home, but you can expect to spend at least $15,000 at minimum.

Heating

Most off grid homes use a propane based heating system for the furnace and hot water heater. While other options are available, they are nowhere near as economical as having propane trucked in a couple times a year at a reasonable price.