Getting off-grid and energy independent is really appealing, but can also be pretty intimidating. It’s hard to know where to start when you’ve lived your whole life reliant upon a municipal grid, and as I wrote recently about homesteading in general, it’s OK to make mistakes.
But, you can always learn from the mistakes of others! There are common mistakes a lot of people make when first getting off the grid, and here are some of those mistakes and how to avoid them.
1. Aiming too high
Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s great to have goals and aim for the sky. However, when you’re thinking about going off grid, don’t expect to have satellite TV, a dishwasher, run a crock pot, a video game console, curling iron, etc. all at once. When you get off-grid, you will have to scale down your life…drastically.
2. Wasting energy
This is obviously a broad category of mistakes, and there’s many ways in which you can waste energy. Running a gas generator to watch a movie might be a good example, or using solar power to use a light during the day when natural light would work fine. You’ll need to conserve and constantly think about the most efficient way to use you resources.
3. Buying gimmicky products
There are a ton of products out there to generate electricity off-grid, and some are really great, while others are probably a waste of your money. A lot of small solar products to charge small devices, for example, just straight don’t work unless there is direct sunlight on them for several hours at a time, so they could fail frequently. Do your research, read reviews, and again…
4. Failure to Prioritize
As mentioned in #1, you will need to take a cold, hard look at what you really need electricity for. We are accustomed to so many gadgets and gizmos these days, we don’t even think about how much we require electricity for the simplest of tasks. You will have to seriously reassess how much you really need an electric coffee maker or if you can make it in a percolator, if you really need a food processor or if you can mix things by hand, if you really need lights in every room or if you can use a lantern, etc.
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