How to Live Off the Grid : 4 things you must consider
Most homes are connected directly to the power company’s local power grid and rely entirely on grid power to provide all of their energy needs. But with the increasing cost of energy many of these homeowners are looking to learn how to live off the grid in order to escape the grips of their local power company.
Removing your home completely from the grid is a great accomplishment however it is not as easy as you might think. There are many things you must consider before making the decision of whether or not it is right for you.
For others, there really is no option because they may live or have a property in a remote area where there is no access to the power grid. For either case, here are 4 things that you must think about when considering how to live off the grid and whether or not it is right for you.
1. Home Energy Efficient
Most homes are very inefficient when it comes to energy use. This means that your home could be wasting a lot of energy and consequently money. This is not that big a problem when your power company is able to provide you as much energy as your home needs.
But when learning how to live off the grid, you must consider that your homes power will be limited to the amount of alternative energy you can generate yourself. This is why most people who take the plunge adopt more of a minimalist attitude and conserve as much power as possible.
The biggest use of energy for most homes is with the heating and cooling system. In most cases this is because the home is poorly insulated and loses much of its heat during the winder and lets in too much heat in the summer. So for many, adding extra insulation to the walls and attic alone can significantly cut down on home energy use.
Many older appliances can also be very inefficient and a big waste of energy. This is why it can very beneficial to use newer energy efficient appliances. This is especially true for appliances that run most often or continuously such as your furnace, water heater, or refrigerator.
2. Home Power Consumption
Another step you must take before even considering whether off grid living is for you is to determine your homes power consumption. This will give you an idea of exactly how much power you use which will determine how big and powerful of a home energy system you will need to install.
The more power you use, the bigger and more expensive of a system you will need.
It is also important when looking at your power consumption that you look at peak power consumption which can be much greater than your average power consumption. This is because you will need to generate enough power to completely cover you during the months that you use the most which is typically the winter months.
3. Size and Type of Home Energy System
Once you determine your homes peak power consumption, you will need to determine what type of alternative energy system you will use and how big it will need to be to properly meet your homes energy needs.
Almost everyone who learns how to live off the grid uses a diversified renewable energy system approach. This means that they do not rely entirely on one type of renewable energy in the event that something may inhibit the effectiveness of a particular system. For example, solar energy generation may be inhibited by a series of consecutive cloudy and rainy days.
This is why most focus on solar power to produce the majority of their power and incorporate other smaller systems such as wind turbines and solar heaters to help pick up any slack. These smaller systems are often heralded as the components that make off grid living even possible because they can deliver when needed most.
4. Power Storage
After you have come up with your plan on how to live off the grid there is still one major consideration to think about. You will need a way to store power as a backup for when your solar and wind power system cannot generate as much power as you need in real time. This is where battery banks come into play.
For example, your solar power system may generate a lot of power during the day but at night it is guaranteed to generate nothing. So you will need batteries to store you excess daytime energy so that you can use it at night.
And it is always a good idea to have a backup generator on hand just in case of any event that inhibits your power generation or forces you to use more power than your system is designed for. You never know when you might need it and when you do, it will be the best investment you have ever made.
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