A brief power outage yesterday reminded me how addicted I am to the power grid.
I think I could learn to cook over a fire, but dang, I would miss my clothes dryer. I could live without TV, and possibly even the internet, but I'd go nuts if I didn't have lights on the stairs. I could make due without a refrigerator, but living without a freezer? I'd have to eat all the ice cream all at once.
How well would you do?
We lost power for a week this last winter, 2 feet of snow, trees and power lines down all over the place. My wife, daughter and I made due just fine...heating the house and cooking on our wood stove. Lots of soup and stew, beans too. Cold showers no fun. Reading old books and nursery rhymes by candle and oil lamp...was actually kind of nice and we enjoyed it as a family. This was a novelty however...if it was permanent or for a very extended amount of time...we'd eventually run out of food, and become too uncomfortable in our own filth. I have rifles and shotguns, and a recurve bow...I could stir up game...but we'd eventually starve out, or become ill from lack of fruits and vegetables. There's just too many people to compete with....not sure how well it would work out.
I think the majority of us are dependent on electricity...very few go with out it anymore.
I wouldn't even want to think about living off the grid. I appreciate my creature comforts entirely too much.
We used to have a place in Big Bend and quite often the electricity would go off and we'd be without lights, water, heat, a/c, etc. for hours to up to a weekend or more. We ended up buying a generator so we could at least run a few things if the electricity went off.
I've lived off the grid (Coleman stove & lights) for months at a time.
I got tired of it. What's for supper might depend on what you can shoot
on the way home!
Now that we have LED lights, having a modest solar-power backup system in the house
pays for itself the first time your flick the switch.
If theft doesn't seem like an issue, I'd go for a generator, at least 3kW.
The prices are coming down all the time and I see lots of them in the used market place.
How long without power? We'd be good for a week or two. We're just outside of Portland in the suburbs, I really don't think people are prepared for a serious outage, everything has become so easy and convenient. Want chicken for dinner? Rotisserie chicken from Safeway! Pizza from Papa Murphy! Chinese food from the shop down the street!
I don't want to get all 'prepper' but anything longer than week or two, I think things would start getting ugly in most of the US, we're not ready to be suddenly self-sufficient. My mother grew up about the same distance outside of Portland in the 20's & 30's, she said the depression didn't impact them all that much cause they were already on a small farm with animals and crops they stored for winter so they were prepared to survive for months at a time on their own.
Imagine all these young people without a working cellphone! The horror!
Living off the grid doesn't necessarily mean living without electricity. It means living without having the electricity you use come in from the outside, or the national or local grid system whichever applies in your locale.
We installed a solar array last fall and are generating all the power we are using. We have zeroed out our electric bill, but we are still tied to the grid because we didn't buy the batteries necessary to store the electricity we make so we can use it 24/7. Having the capacity to store the electricity would've increased the cost of the system significantly.
I know someone that lives farther away from their nearest power pole than we do, and they are completely off the grid. They went with solar as their primary power source, and that feeds into their battery system. It's backed up by a gasoline generator in case of emergency. They use electricity but they don't waste it.
I've lived off the grid several times. Once the power was out for 18 hours in the winter.
We had a cottage in the Whiteshell (a lake district) that wasn't connected to the grid. The fridge and stove were powered by propane, and the tank held enough for several months usage. Septic field for the toilets, water taken from the lake. If we took enough food we could go for a few weeks. There were fish in the lake and berries on the hillside, strawberries in June, raspberries in July, and blueberries in August. It wasn't winterized, however; just a summer thing.
We have an 11 kw generator (wife insisted) that will run the whole house because we have a propane stove, Just don't use a lot of hot water so the water heater kicks in. We almost opted for a 19 kw, But it was almost $1000.00 more. I can live with a few hardships like not making toast and having the kettle on at the same time. Just have to remember to call the propane supplier if the generator is running all night.
Live off grid?
I couldn't even live off griddle.
We are out of town. We have City water, gas and power. We have septic, but even that takes power for the aerator. I suppose we could go solar if we could afford it. In an emergency, we might consider moving in (very temporarily) with the daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter in town. We might be live-in babysitters for the duration. It could be worse.
When I was young(er)?... piece of cake.
Nowadays? I don't doubt that I could, but whether or not I would, would depend very much on what the incentive was.
Edited by - Owen on 07/23/2019 20:51:53
I got a few books on the subject. I think I could pull it off, but at this moment I live in an apartment. Land ain't cheap, so that's honestly the tough part. Living off the grid is doable, but someone is still gonna have you pay Uncle Sam.
My niece lived on 2 different boats for several years. That was off grid to me,even though one was a yacht.
I kinda doo now..
Wood heat.. soliar power..
Propane 5kw gen ..
An ahray..of food gatherin devices..that go .."bang"!
Liz dose a. Small garden....
Usta Have chickins..but not now..
putting food up for the winter ,curing meat. growing the garden and critters .Most of us are long gone.
Al (Fig) and Liz are about as far off the grid as you can get. I have another friend, also Al but with Lynn who live nearby and are also off the grid, possibly more than Fig. They have a tiny house, and an outhouse. They heat with wood, have solar for LED lights and a small electric pump for water. They shower year round on their front porch with water heated on the wood stove. They also have a sauna, that is bigger than their house. They have no cell phones, no tv, no computer. They also run an organic flower and vegetable farm, do tie dying, and sell consignment arts and crafts out of their farm store. The store is also off the grid. They drive a Prius.
Last weekend we a bad storm come through (80 mph winds) and 5 tornados were reported by US weather service. So power went out over the whole county and some surrounding counties for about 48 hours. We started a small generator to keep the fridge and freezer running and dealt with it with games and other activities. We have oil lamps and candles for light. Biggest issue was water to flush toilets. We are on a well and septic so well pump did not run. Power came up in town about 5 miles away and one of the motels allowed people to use their showers and let the kids play in the pool for a small fee. I filled buckets with water from the motel's outside faucet and we flushed the toilets with that.
Biggest issue was flushing the toilets. Drinking (bottled) water was available in town.
I later found out that our township maintains a spring where we could get water so that problem was solved. The spring is clear, cold and drinkable. Power came on, well pumped water and a hot shower was great.
Could we live off the grid, Yes but would need some preparation. We can heat our house with wood in the winter. The issue this last weekend was sudden loss of power so had not made any preparation. Our stove is propane We did lose a lfew trees and large limbs so will have plenty of fire wood for next winter.
Edited by - wizofos on 07/24/2019 06:12:36
I have many friends that live solely on solar power.
You wouldn't know they aren't on the grid unless they told you.
Just realized I never answered the question for myself. Back in '85, when hurricane Gloria hit, we lost power for 10 days. We lost most of what was in the refrigerator and freezer, had no well water, but had stored a few gallons before the storm hit for drinking. We hauled buckets up from a pond 1/2 mile away to flush the toilets. Fortunately it was a warm September, so we didn't need heat, but couldn't shower. I had the ability to shower at work, my not yet wife had to rely on friends who had their power restored. We ate a lot of sandwiches as we had no way to cook. After that I started stocking up on camping equipment, propane stove, oil lamps, battery radio, etc. Also, when we started construction on our house, we added generator capabilities. As long as I can get gasoline, I'm set for weeks, usually have at least that much canned and dry food stored. Solar is becoming more affordable, so I'm looking at backup for my backup generator. The generator is not big, 5,000 W. but it powers the furnace, pump, refrigerator, and a few lights. I have an outdoor wood boiler that provides heat and hot water.
If I made the choice to live completely off the grid, I think I could, but I do enjoy the comforts that being on the grid provide. But I'd still need access to stores and gas stations, I don't think I could gather enough wood with hand tools to make it through a winter.
When the power goes out here I immediately fill 15 or so gallons of water from the tap.
The X-trol tank is a nice little reservoir.
Rain barrel usually has 20-30 gallons in it for toilet.Community spring water (free/4 miles up the road) is constantly running.Great spring water!
I like my power inverters which let me have 3 power strips for lights,computer and tv when power goes away.
You can live off the grid and still cut firewood with a chainsaw and gas splitter,Dave.Off the grid is simply not being on the local power grid.
Edited by - steve davis on 07/24/2019 06:44:15
To me, there's a big diff between "off grid" and "back to the land."
They seem the same to me,Owen.Friends of mine moved here from Connecticut and New York and built log cabins here.
They have always been off the grid and are called "back to the landers".
Edited by - steve davis on 07/24/2019 06:49:10
Any relation to Ann?
As long as I have lights in every room, AC, and or heat, internet access, tv, power to my garage doors, coffee pot power, and tunes.... I’m good. If it gets too bad, I go to my sisters just up the road.
Off grid is "simply not being on the local power grid."
This https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Back-to-the-land_movement is back to the land.
I can certainly see why some would think they're the same.
'Good Monday Morning' 4 hrs
'Help With Banjo please' 5 hrs
'Help!!' 6 hrs
'Sister Golden Hair' 10 hrs