The recent economic downturn combined with natural disasters occurring around the world is making many people look at how they could live with more autonomy and self-reliance. More often in recent years are people looking to live off the grid. Living “off-the-grid” (or OTG) is basically living without public utilities; this can be done in varying degrees of self-sufficiency from not being connected to the local electrical grid to the more extreme having no connection to public utilities at all.

There are many reasons why home owners might choose to live off-grid but the most common reasons are to live in a more eco-friendly way or because they want to live in a rural area where there is no access to electricity or sewer hook-ups for the home. For home owners who live in areas that see more frequent incidences of natural disasters, living OTG can help home owners return more easily to regular life because they’re not reliant on public utilities that can take days or weeks to recover, depending on the disaster.

Most home owners who are looking to live off-grid build a home with that goal specifically in mind before they start planning. A lot of planning has to go into an off-grid home before it is built if you’re looking to put together an optimal system; many home owners have successfully renovated pre-existing homes to be off-grid as well, however you will likely have less options in design if you go off-grid in an existing home.

Off-grid homes often combine a combination of systems into their homes to independently deal with the amenities that public utilities usually give you like: electricity, water, and sewage. Off-grid homes commonly use solar or wind energy generation to fulfill their electrical needs. Many OTG home owners use well water or streams to supply their water; though rain water is also a viable source as well. Some common types of OTG sewage systems are septic fields, septic tanks, or composting toilets. Not all options will work for all home owners or all areas, be sure to research what options are available to you in your area.

Not all home owners will find it doable to live completely off-grid for a variety of reasons. Living completely off-grid can be expensive to set up and due to restrictions in your preferred area, it just might not be feasible for your lifestyle or your area of the country due to weather, terrain, or land use restrictions.

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