What to Know About Living Off the Grid in A Tiny House
Posted on February 06 2018
A lot of people dream about going off the grid. They thrill at the thought of sticking it to the structure of society and making do with less.
It's a romantic idea. Shedding the classical taming of nature and communing among the fawns.
But, just as Hawthorne and Thoreau found out, living in the woods away from society is not exactly a walk in the park.
You may be a backpacker and have spent days to weeks in the wilderness. And you might think that to live in a tiny home "out there" will just be an extended version of backpacking.
Well, we're going to dispell some myths for you today. And we're going to show you that, while living off the grid is worthwhile, it's probably tougher than you think. And we just want you to be prepared.
1. Winter Is Tough Off The Grid
If you've ever survived a major blizzard and seen the damage it does, you'll know what we mean.
Winter is survivable if you're prepared. But it's still not fun.
And if you're not prepared winter off the grid can be deadly. Cold is 20 times more likely to kill you than heat. And oddly, extreme temperatures aren't what kills people in either end of the spectrum.
It's the moderate temperatures that actually kill. Exposure to the elements is a bigger factor than actual temperature. And so, you're already doing well if you have a well insulated tiny home to keep you safe from exposure.
But this doesn't mean it won't be tough. You will spend more energy keeping your tiny home warm in the winter than you will keeping it cool in the summer.
If you live in a more temperate climate, you might not have this to worry about as much. You might have to worry about heat more than cold.
2. A Lack Of Electrically Pumped Water Is Tough
If you've ever had the power go out or your water shut off, you'll know what it's like to try and live a "modern life" without electrically pumped water.
Water is vital to much of life. And people lived without indoor plumbing and electrically pumped water for thousands of years.
But we as first world 21st-century citizens are used to living with luxury. Even the poorest in our country live a fairly luxurious life compared to most people in human history.
And you may have gone without running water for a time while backpacking. And you think, ok, I could do this. And you can. We're not saying you couldn't or shouldn't. We're just saying it's a challenge to go without running water in a home.
Just know that you will go without showers for longer than you think. You will have a tougher time washing your clothes.
But you will have weathered the challenge and you will learn to adapt.
And once you adapt, you will realize that life off the grid isn't as tough as you first thought.
3. No Electrical Downtime Is Awesome!
You might not realize how emboldened you are to the power company until you lose power. Ironic, really.
But when you're off the grid, you have all the power both literally and figuratively.
When you live in a country that blacks out more than any other developed country on the planet, it's pretty satisfying to be in control of your own electrical power.
While your friends are sitting in the dark in their modern homes, you'll be enjoying the game with a bowl of popcorn in relative comfort.
No more angry calls to the power company. No more service windows. Just you and your generator or your solar panels or both.
Solar batteries reduce the loss of peak time power and distribute your power needs through the day and into the night. Because of this you never have to worry about an outage and you can always have your generator ready as a backup.
The only downside to solar as we see it is the required maintenance. With freedom comes responsibility. And solar is a big responsibility.
We recommend you check your solar panels and set up twice a day. If you want continued power, you have to take good care of your equipment.
4. You Will Sync With Nature Off The Grid
Electric lights have changed the way humanity operates. We used to get up with the sun and go to bed shortly after dark. Our sleep patterns were different.
Our sleep patterns were different. We would sleep four hours get up for a bit and then sleep another four hours.
In contemporary society doesn't live like this anymore. And it may be the cause of a lot of our sleep problems.
If you go off the grid and live in a tiny home, you will sync with nature. Why? Because, while you do like the power of being able to power your place whenever, you don't want to waste electricity.
You will end up following the pattern of the sun more than usual. You might even start sleeping better.
And because your house is tiny, you will spend more time outside on nice days. Whenever the weather improves, you won't want to be cooped up in your tiny home.
You'll spend enough time in there during the winter anyways.
And you will feel better about yourself because you will leave less of a footprint on the environment.
The average home produces 28,000 pounds of CO2 per year. A tiny home only produces 2000 pounds.
That's a huge drop in carbon. And if the world is warming due to human carbon production, then you're helping save the world.
Your Tiny Home Needs Lights Off The Grid
If you're considering a tiny home, you're going to want the most energy efficient lighting possible.
Energy efficient lighting has actually gotten a lot cheaper in the past few years. And it won't add much to your overall cost.
In fact, energy efficient options like LED and HFL will save you from using as much electricity in the end. And this will wear less on your generators and batteries.
Check out our lighting guide to find out more about lighting for your off the grid tiny home.