7 Things You Didn’t Know About Going Off Grid That Sucks
I have been semi off the grid for just about two years now. I moved to the off grid tiny house in January 2015. There were a lot of things I didn’t know about going off grid. On a lot of the youtube videos and blogs they only tell you all the great things about going off the grid. No one talks about the parts of Going Off Grid That Sucks.
I do love my simple life in my tiny house and never want to go back. I don’t want to discourage anyone following their dreams. If you are don’t listen to any assholes on the internet telling you anything. You follow your passion to where it takes you.
This post is to make you aware of a few things that no one tells you about going off the grid. I went from living in an apartment my whole adult life to owning my tiny house and having land around me. Definitely a big change.
You have to remove your waste
Taking out the shit is one of the things You Didn’t Know About Going Off Grid That Sucks. Unless you opt to put in a septic tank and flushing toilette you will be removing your own poo. No flush and go here, guys. Most off griddrrs go with a composting toilette. Either a DIY model like myself of an expensive one you buy. With the composting toilets, you will need to empty them.
That’s just for poop you will also need to remove urine and wash water. I talked about some things you can do with the pee in my dealing with waste post. Please just try the medieval teeth whitening method, though. No really don’t.
You will have to have a place to dump the waste. For the solid waste, I use trash cans. I dump my five-gallon bucket into a 55-gallon trash can. When I fill up a trash can I seal the lid on it. The lid should be sealed for a 1-year minimum. 2 years would be better. You can check out the humanure handbook for more info. Thanks to Paul Wheaton for the trash can idea.
For liquid waste, you need to find a safe place to dump it. Not too close to your house. You can water it down in a 10/1 ratio with water for your plants.
You have to carry your water in
Bringing in your water is definitely on top of Things You Didn’t Know About Going Off Grid that sucks. This one is known by most going off grid but not really understood. At least how badly it sucks. No turning a faucet and getting water. At least until you build an off grid water system.
For most things, you will be pouring water from jugs. I have two 6 gallon water containers. I have to fill them up next door and carry them over here. Which isn’t bad. I could be carrying them miles. And that would really suck.
The jugs, when filled, are pretty heavy. I just did the math and 6 gallons of water is 50 pounds. So two of them is a hundred pounds. You will get some muscles carrying and pouring these.
My tiny girlfriend couldn’t understand why she had a hard time pouring water from the jugs. I had to explain how heavy that much water weighted. Both picking them up and pouring water. For many women picking up an oddly shaped 50# jug and pouring it into a glass on a counter almost as high as their chest is tough.
You are responsible for repairs
No landlord to come fix things when they break. You are responsible for all your repairs. Becoming a repair man is one of the Things You Didn’t Know About Going Off Grid. If you are like me and are transitioning from apartment dweller to off grid home owner this is a big difference.
No one tells you that every damn thing will break. You will be constantly fixing things that break. With a limited budget, you will be mostly rigging things to work long enough until you can really fix or replace them.
There is no calling the apartment maintenance man to come fix it or replace it. Months ago I punctured a line trying to swap my fridge door to the other side. This was a very costly mistake. Don’t rush through things when fixing them. And don’t try to use a drill to get a tiny plastic plug piece out of your fridge.
Nothing is close
For good and bad there is nothing close by. Where I live now the closest stores of any kind are 15 minutes away. Gas, sodas, and any medicine is a thirty minute round trip. With this gas shortage right now many of the fuel pumps here in the sticks are out. Once again driving home the need for fuel storage.
If you need to go to the hospital it is probably a good drive. In my case, the nearest emergency room is only thirty minutes away. Not that I ever go to the hospital, men never get sick or injured more than duck tape can fix. It is still something to keep in mind. For, you this may not be a part of going off grid that sucks.
The Internet Sucks
Bad internet goes on the list of Things You Didn’t Know About Going Off Grid That Sucks. I suffered from the worst internet for most of my off grid time. I had to go with satellite internet at first. In my off grid internet solutions post I talked about it in depth. It was the best solution at the time but sucked.
Satelite internet is like 1990’s cell phones. You get anytime gigs and nights and weekend gigs. I went from basically no data cap to a tiny one. 10 gigs of anytime usage and 10 3 am to 8am gigs. I had to get creative with scheduling things to upload and download.
You won’t be using Netflix and youtube on satellite internet. You would blow through your data in no time. HD video uses about a gig an hour.
If you need the internet for work, like me, then you have to use it. Just know it sucks.
After the move to Couch Potato Mikes land, I was able to get some better internet. No more caps and limits.
The trash needs to be taken off
Did anyone tell you when you go off grid you have to take your own trash to the dump? I knew this. It isn’t the worse thing but it certainly a nuisance. Especially in a car. Just another part about Going Off Grid That Sucks.
There is probably a convenience center near you to drop off trash. Usually within 15 minutes or so. Google searching will turn up the locations and times near you. Take note of the times. Here the trash drop off places doesn’t open on Tuesdays or Thursdays. Which for some odd reason seems to be the times I always want to take off the trash.
The drop-off center is always closed for every single holiday. Sometimes for a few days before and after. They will put up a tiny sign for you to read. Make sure you take it all off before they close. It sucks having to keep full bags of trash in your house or car. If you set it outside wild animals will rip it to shreds and spread trash all over your yard.
The ultimate worst trip I ever had to the dump was when I lost everything in my deep freezer. I had to bag up rotten decomposing meat and take it to the dump in my hatchback car. In the summer. I got sick so many times that day. Another reason to get a truck. No one tells you Things You Didn’t Know About Going Off Grid that sucks
Doing dishes is even worse
I hate doing the dishes on the grid so doing them is worse. You have to pour water into a pot to warm up. You have to fill up a sink or wash tun with water to rinse off. And when your done doing the dishes you have to go empty all the water.
You are the dishwasher off the grid. No closing a door and pushing a button. It will use up for water and cause you to go back out and fill up your containers quick.
Doing dishes this way every day is a pain. Most off gridders, like my friend Nikki at My Woodland Tribe, go with paper plates to keep from doing an endless stream of dishes. That definitely helps.
For me, I have found a few things that help with doing the dishes. I saw how people used to use salt to clean with and have used that for somethings. Like cast iron and pots and pans to scour them. Now I am using rubbing alcohol for my daily dishes. It cleans and kills germs. I use the alcohol for my plate and fork for dinner. Then once a week I will do the dishes.
Let me once again say that going the off grid was a great decision. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I love my tiny house and simple life. It is not for everyone though. I don’t want to paint unrealitic pictures. That’s why I’m telling you the Things You Didn’t Know About Going Off Grid That Sucks.
I can and will write one on all the great points to going off grid. They far outweigh the negatives. If you can deal with a tougher life you won’t regret it.
Are you off the grid? What sucks that you didn’t know about? Let me know in the comments!
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