Off grid living

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This topic contains 22 replies, has 13 voices, and was last updated by  Crow Bar 1 week ago.

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  • #422


    My wife and I live totally off grid. We built our house ourselves, installed solar panels, a small wind charger,and a battery bank.
    I have experience in mechanics, wood working, welding/fabrication, auto body repair, electrical, plumbing, and of all things; dental lab crown and bridge work. I’m not bragging, it’s just how life worked out for me in 60 years. I would be happy to help with free advice if anyone is interested. Just keep in mind it’s worth exactly what you pay for it.

  • #435


    Thank you! It’s great to have someone who’s actually doing this in the group 🙂

  • #487

    Cab Man

    Define “small wind charger” please. And thank you in advance.

  • #489

    Modern Refugee

    Michael, if you don’t mind me asking how much $ did it take you up front for your off grid homestead?

    • #493


      Under 90,000.

    • #543


      90,000 includes the house.

  • #494

    Modern Refugee

    Thank you for the info.

  • #516

    LeeA Wright

    I am planning in January or February ordering from China a complete system for going off-grid. I can bring it in to where I live in Ecuador duty-free since the government is promoting alternative energy. Makes it much cheaper than if I was doing it in the U.S.. I’m figuring on a 5 kw solar system with a 1.5 or 2 kw wind generator and a 3 to 5 kw diesel back-up generator. Whole thing with pure sine wave inverter, controller, 48v 1000 ah battery bank, etc. should run around $7-8,000. I will do the installation myself with some professional advice for a few parts. I previously lived in the Mojave Desert in Southern California on 28 acres with a solar system I built myself, so am pretty familiar with the process. Since I’m 75 now there is a good chance I won’t achieve payback on it, but looking forward to the project.

  • #544


    Great info!

    Living off grid is great topic and it is something that I am personally interested too.

    It is actually something that I am “aiming” to and yes it is great to have someone here willing to share his personal experiences about it.

    Thank you!

  • #622

    Jose Estrada

    Hey “igotspurs”, been looking into some kind of solar for our middle of nowhere property and wondering, if you don’t mind, what type of battery setup (type and quantity) you went with? Also, what do you see as the life expectancy of your batteries?


    • #708


      We have a 12volt system with 6 -6 volt batterys.
      Trojan T105s
      Outback chg controller
      Magnum inverter

    • #711


      We were told to expect 7 to ten years out of the trojans.

  • #958

    Crow Bar

    Can you comment on what your total energy requirements are?
    In short, how much power do you use?

    • #1277


      All of our lighting is LED, well pump is a slow start pump designed for solar systems, refrigerator is propane, as is the clothes dryer. Basically we minimized our electric demand everywhere we could. Of course we don’t use any high demand electric appliances like electric heaters, microwave, air conditioner, or car engine heaters.

  • #2246

    A few ideas on Trojans T105 and T105RE’s.

    Yes, they can last 7-10 years if they are not discharged more than 20% i.e. lightly used daily, as then their cycle rate is 4000 i.e. 10 years.

    At 50% discharge – basically flat – they have 1600 cycles, about 4.5 years.

    It is good to only lightly discharge batteries. One can push them now and then to 50% just to stir their juices a bit as batteries standing lightly used can die earlier due to sediments inside them not being “moved” – used hard / equalized.

    Keep them watered, distilled water only(!), push them a bit once a month, every 2 months, equalize them once or twice year. I shake mine, as they are in a wooden box on wheels. I also swap the batteries where the positive and negative cables are connected to, with ones inside twice a year.

    Always feel their temperature by hand, pole, side, top, or a fish tank thermometer per battery. If a battery starts heating up, it is busy dying.

    If there are a few batteries in a bank connected series / parallel, it is a good ideas to monitor the difference in voltages between the batteries. As with temp, another good indicator that a battery is slowly dying. One can buy battery balancers to help with that.

  • #3362


    A set of batteries you might want to look into are surette rolls ex series has 2.2 v each with 5000 cycles at 80% depth of discharge. You should design your system so you can go 3-5 days without a charge.

    For wind for those in North where ice and snow are a big thing look at icewind from Iceland designed for ice and snow.

    For well pumps, I am just putting in two new wells I am having back up hand pumps put in.

  • #8555


    igotspurs, it says you are a plummer also. Can you tell me that if the grid goes down that over time the city sewage would start backing up into our sinks, tubs, etc. We are a bit high up where the city sewage goes but cannot really get a straight answer on this. Some say it will happen anyway, others say it will not happen. I have heard about a back flow on the pipes, but not sure if we have that on ours. Can you tell me anything about this? It would be a big help so I will know more how to prepare for this.

  • #8651


    Hey little sister,

    I’m not a plumber but I have some experience with my own plumbing. As to your question, whether you would have a sewage back up or not depends on top many variables like your elevation in regard to the sewage plant, sewage pumps in use or not etc. or

    If you’re really concerned about the possibility, you can invest in compressible rubber plugs used to plug drains in areas that anticipate flooding. They do require the removal of toilet and sink drain fixtures to seal the drain.  You might give a call to someone in the local water/ sewage department and see what they say.

    hope that helps.

  • #8656


    Thanks igotspurs. That does help. We used to be just on city water and septic and when a tornado took out the pumping station in the next neighborhood, some of them that was on well water and septic had no water for 14 days as well as electric gone. It was during a hurricane. We were still on septic but did not loose water as it was city water. We did loose electric for 14 days as well. We still have the septic tank and I am thinking we might be able to hook back up if anything happens a seal off the plumbing from the street. Something we need to check on and also to see if septic lines would still be any good or not. My daughter who lived in another city lost her city water for 14 days. But they did have a pool and was able to flush toilets. They came to our house for showers and take back water for bathing, drinking and doing dishes. They had bottled water for drinking. Newborn baby and 2 older children as well when that happened to her. We all made out good though.

  • #11757


    lil sis,

    I imagine if your home is at a level high enough  above the downhill manhole covers, the fluid would naturally flow out at its lowest point if the cover is off (if there is even access to the sewage lines).

    converting back to septic may not be easy (not impossible),  your  septic field might be filling in with roots ,like mine. (mine is uphill)  some root killer in the tank with a ton of water might help. HTH

  • #30837

    KV Prep

    Hello, this is my first post out here and this topic got my immediate interest.  Igotspurs, I appreciate you sharing your knowledge.  My husband and I are considering selling our suburban home (empty nesters) and want to buy some land outside the city to build a place that is either completely or mostly off-grid.  My first question relates to land.  We live in the Midwest where ice storms, flooding, and tornadoes are the most likely disasters.  As we look for land, I would appreciate your thoughts on what we should be looking for.  We want enough acreage to put in a septic system but not too much since we wish to age in place.  What were your top 5 to 10 items when picking out land to build your off-the-grid home?  Thanks in advance.

    • #30845

      Crow Bar

      Howdy and welcome KV Prep!

      Well, IF possible, choose land that is not in area that has a history of flooding.
      I know, might be easier said than done, depending on the area.
      Icestorms, heavy snows, we get them too. Have a house with a roof that can accommodate snow loads. Well insulated. A non-electric source of heat for heating and cooking.
      For tornados, I am sure there are others on this site who have more experience with those than I.

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