10 Questions Everyone Should Ask BEFORE Going Off Grid

Have you ever thought about living off grid? Maybe you’re already considering it and just doing some due diligence before taking the plunge? The thought of cutting ties with the city, building a home powered (or not) by the sun and being the commander and chief of your own neck of the woods is plenty appealing. Face it, you’ve thought about it already haven’t you?

If you’re anything like me you’ve thought about it a lot. But ask yourself this, are you truly prepared for the highs and lows that come with living off the grid? 

Your comfort, ability to remain off grid, and very survival depend on how well you can answer 10 simple questions. Be honest with yourself and be prepared to face the truth.

1. Do you have enough money/income?

Do you have the money to live off grid-iloveimg-resized

Yes, some people believe that living off grid means “free”. It’s not. There are numerous costs associated with off grid living let alone getting off the grid. Firstly, you’ll need to consider where you plan to live. Will this be land you already own, need to buy or possibly rent?  There’s the building of your home, tools/equipment, food, power, maintenance and repairs. Even the best built homes need annual upkeep.

2. How do you plan to power your home?

Off-Grid-with-Solar-Panels

Off grid means no power supply from big brother. You’re responsible for either producing your own power or living without it. While it’s perfectly fine to go days without using electricity it is nice to be able to flip a switch and have lights/amenities in the off chance you need then, have an emergency, or in climate weather. Solar and wind are great ways to power your home and having a generator is almost a must. I say almost because no matter what there are still have purists that refuse to bend to the lure of electricity and will even build their off grid home without the use of power tools.

3. The wildlife on your doorstep?

Bear-at-off-grid-cabin

The fact is, it’s a zoo out there. Literally! And no matter where in the world you live you’re going to happen across the wildlife at one point or another. When that happens you can certain that it will not always be a baby deer and squeaky squirrels! These animals and many others feed off the land around your home. Know what they are, their seasonal habits, the signs they leave, and be prepared for a worst case scenario.

4. To eat or not to eat?

off-grid-mineral-rights

Along with the wildlife you also have an abundance of stationary food in the way of edible roots, berries, and plant material. Learn what you can and can’t eat. Never guess no matter what. One bite of the wrong mushroom can land you square in the hospital or worse. There are several books that can help you specific to your neck of the woods. Here’s a recommended Edible Wild Plants book to have on hand at your off grid home.

5. Will I have to work for my water?

Drink-water-off-the-grid

You may have heard that you can survive a week, two, even three without food. But water is a whole different story. Without access water your dream of living off grid will soon become a nightmare. It begins right when you start to survey your land. One of the top priorities is to confirm you can access water. In fact, if you plan on keeping any kind of vegetable garden then you’ll want to consider giving it a steady supply of water to feed them and/or any animals.

6. Can I drink the water I just poured?

Filtering-off-grid-water

Accessing water is only half the battle. You need to ensure that water is fresh, clean and potable. Even the cleanest looking babbling brook can contain parasites that will put you down as fast as the setting sun and leave you down. We harvest rain water and purify it ourselves which is only one method. Make certain you can drink that water you worked to hard to access.

7. Mineral rights. Do I have them?

Mineral Rights

When purchasing property you’ll want to know if you have the water and mineral rights to go with it. Mineral rights are very important because they give you the RIGHT to explore, develop, extract and market the resources on your property. Without mineral rights you cannot access material(s) that are on your own property. You’ve bought the land to build on sure, but NOT the ground underneath. That’s where mineral rights come in.

8. Is a tent a home?

Living-in-a-tent-off-grid

A tent does not make for a long term home indeed. At least not here in Nova Scotia. Off grid living comes with planning and that planning almost always includes a permanent home to live in. Whether you build a cabin, cottage, tiny house, chalet or full sized off grid house you’ll need to plan it all out, build it, furn