Not sure how long this list is going to be. I would like to share a few off-grid tips and tricks that we learned since we are here.
Take short and effective showers
-this might be obvious, but many times people forget that the water is not “unlimited” and while the water is running the pump is also running using electricity.
Shower during the day
-living totally off-grid means that you have limited electricity. To avoid using the precious power stored in the batteries after the sun is not providing anything, your best bet is to shower while the sun is still up. This way you will use the sun power for the water pump
Use LED lighting
-it’s not the cheapest yet, but there are all sorts of NEW led bulbs and lamps available on the market for a while ago. While a new “eco bulb” will use about 10watts of electricity, the even newer LED bulbs can get away with 2-3 giving you extra light with less consumption. There are normal shape led bulbs available, so you don’t need to change anything else.
Don’t let the fridge open to long
-it’s another obvious advice… but it’s very important. The fridge is the biggest power hungry home machine you will ever have, so it’s important to keep it close. Always check if you closed the fridge, check the back of the fridge to be clean, and to have enough room for the air. If you can, invest in the most power effective fridge out there. The new A+++ models can save about 60% of electricity mainly because they keep the cold in much better than previous A+ models. However… these are more expensive
Don’t let the water flow when not using it
-another very obvious advice, but sometimes people just don’t realize how much a leaking tap consumes. Another way to save a bit of water is to turn off the tap while brushing your teeth. Before living off-grid it just didn’t occurred to me how much water is wasted while washing our teeth. It’s not a terrible amount for a person, and a day, but if you take in consideration that every person does this once or twice a day you can get to a serious amount.
Use grey water to flush the toilet. This is not easy to achieve, but if you do, you will truly be able to use the water “more than once”. There are plenty of videos on the net showing how to get the water you use in the kitchen and for shower, filter it with some natural filters (dirt, sand) and collect the grey water for toilet usage. This makes it possible to have clean water in the toilet, so it won’t stink and won’t be greasy either. In this video you can see some “earthship” houses and everything will make sense. However it’s not always possible to do it, but if you consider building a new off-grid house, it’s a good idea to apply it.
Learn to plan the groceries
-living off-grid usually means to live “far away”. This also means that if you don’t have a “normal” day to day job, most likely you won’t have reasons to go to a city or a shop every day. In order to save yourself the trouble, make sure to plan ahead, have some ideas of basic food requirements and buy in bulk whatever you can. Keep a basic food storage, so you are not required to go to the store every day.
Learn to cook
Living off-grid sometimes requires you to be creative. Learn to cook and to be able to make “something” from “nothing” that will keep your belly full. Living off-grid sometimes means to have a broken car or no other means for transportation, so you have to invent some recipes that will be good for the family members. If you forgot an ingredient, have an idea what to use instead or how to replace it with what you have and still make a delicious food.
If you constantly need internet, there is a fairly good solution… Satellite internet became FAIRLY cheap lately, however still be prepared to dig deep in your pocket for quality that was good 5 years ago. However if you don’t have any other choice, satellite internet is most likely available, at least in many European locations. It’s really a compromise… but for the time being it’s the best solution you can most likely get. If you have 3g-4g signal or long range wifi available go for it instead of satellite. They will be faster than satellite internet in most of the cases.
Always watch for electricity usage
– while living off-grid these days can be so normal than any other modern city house, it’s still very important to be constantly aware of the electricity. How much you have available, depends on how many solar panels you have and how many batteries, how strong the generator is. But you have to remind yourself day after day that you have limited resources from this. So every time when you power up anything, be sure that the system can handle the load. Try to forget the iron, waffle maker, and hair dryer… and many many heavy power hungry tools. When you fire up one, most likely will need the generator. And remember not to fire up everything at the same time, because you will have a lot of trouble. Even if your generator is running, make sure that there won’t be a system overload. Plan your electricity needs and top it a bit, don’t buy the “oh this will just fit” system for your house. You are always need more electricity that you can have 🙂
This is it for now, if I remember other important things, I will continue the list.