Going Off The Grid By Gary Collins First Thoughts

Going Off The Grid With Gary Collins Best How To Book | episode 138

Going Off The Grid By Gary Collins First Thoughts
Going Off The Grid By Gary Collins First Thoughts

 

Going Off The Grid With Gary Collins Best How To Book | episode 138

 

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This week I chat with Gary Collins about his new book Going Off The Grid (Amazon Link). 

Gary and I ramble a bit as we usually do. We talk about Why you would want to go off the grid. 

We dig into some troubles with finding a contractor. Some are great but many would rob their own mothers to make a buck.

Gary talks about why he hates tiny houses. And I get him to see my side of the argument and how it does work. 

The way to go is Travel trailer over a tiny house on wheels. Tiny houses are best when not on wheels. We both agree that custom fitting a shed into a tiny house is a fast and affordable method. 

Gary talks about his progress so far on building his going off grid project. 

We go off on a tangent about tools. We both love tools. And there are few ways to go about it. 

I talk about not having to own all the tools you need to build. Renting expensive tools is a viable option when building a home. 

Especially if you don’t have space to store them long term. 

Gary brings up the topic of buying new electric tools. When you buy new you have a warranty and a guarantee of quality. Buying used can be a crap shoot. 

I want to get Gary Back on to talk about much tougher questions about Going off the grid. 

  • Why did you choose to go off the grid
  • So you wrote the book on going off the grid
  • Tell us about your progress so far
  • Hardest part of the construction 
  • Tiny house hatred
 

 

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Going Off The Grid By Gary Collins First Thoughts

Going Off The Grid By Gary Collins First Thoughts Video

 

 

Going Off The Grid By Gary Collins First Thoughts

 

 

This week I got my hands on my friend Gary Collings New book, Going Off The Grid. Unlike most of my u

Unlike most of my unboxing videos, I wasn’t sent this book. You always want to support your friends so I bought this copy as soon as It was available. 

Like many of us, Gary got the bug to live a simpler life. And luckily for us, he has documented the whole process. 

In Going Off The Grid: The How-To Book Of Simply Living and Happiness, he provides a step-by-step guide for how to find a private piece of land and build a self-sustaining home. 

This doesn’t come from research alone but from experience. Gary has been building an off-grid home in northeast Washington state. 

You can watch some of the trials and tribulations on his Youtube channel.

Learning from others troubles can save you time and money. And from honest upfront people. 

If you watch many of the DIY tv shows you will have an unrealistic view of the process. Building an off grid home takes a lot of time and effort.

The reward is worth it, though. 

So if you are thinking about living a simpler less hectic lifestyle this is the book for you. Pick it up now before you need the info in here. 

Are you off the Grid? Wanting To Be? Let me know about your plans in the comments!

 

 

 

 
 

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Things You Didn't Know About Going Off Grid sucks

7 Things You Didn’t Know About Going Off Grid That Sucks

Things You Didn't Know About Going Off Grid that sucks
Things You Didn’t Know About Going Off Grid that sucks

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. 

 In Conclusion

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!

 

Want to hear yourself on the podcast? Call in with your questions at (615) 657-9104 and leave us a voice mail. 

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A Tour Of My Off Grid Tiny House

Come Join Me For A Tour Of My Off Grid Tiny House

Join Me For A Tour Of My Off Grid Tiny House

I finally did a Tour Of My Off Grid Tiny House. After several requests on YouTube to do a tiny house tour. I kept putting it off till I could clean up my house. To get it done I decided to set a deadline and shoot the video tour of my tiny house whether it was clean or not. Well, It is not perfectly clean but I’m a man and a messy one at that. 

I realized that I forgot to show the loft. Also, I didn’t talk about the walls. I’ll answer some of the things here. If I get enough questions I will do a Q&A Video on my tiny house. 

 

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How To Build An Off Grid Gravity Fed Water System Cheaply

How To Build An Off Grid Gravity Fed Water System Cheaply

 

How To Build An Off Grid Gravity Fed Water System Cheaply

 

How To Build An Off Grid Gravity Fed Water System Cheaply

 

 

An off grid Gravity Fed Water System is a great  option for  running water. Since many of us off grid dwellers and tiny house owners do not have running water.  Yes, you can live without running water. Indoor plumbing has been around a long time but mostly for the wealthy. Your average 16th century English Farmer would have to carry in water. The same still holds true for many parts of the world today.

The system I’m going to show you how to build is not a whole house solution. The principles will scale up, though. This is a cheap and easy solution to get a gravity fed water system for a sink. So this is perfect for doing a few loads of dishes, brushing teeth or hand washing.

Best of all this build is both easy and cheap. I built the system in just a few minutes. I spent the next few days tinkering with it to try to optimize it.

 

Off Grid Gravity Fed Water System
The Parts

Parts

  • Five Gallon Bucket With Lid
  • Tubbing
  • Threaded PEX connector
  • Threaded PVC Piece
  • Rubber Washer
  • Hose Clamps That Fit The PEX Connector.
  • Faucet Connector
  • PEX Faucet Shut Off

Some of the parts listed are not specific. Therefore they will vary based on your needs and availability. You can do like I did and stand in the plumbing section of Lowe’s for an hour trying pieces for a fit. Unless you are going to be reducing it’s best to get tubing the same size as your PEX connectors. I believe the tubing I used was 3/8th. That was a very snug fit on the faucet shut-off connector.

You could also just go into the local hardware store and ask for help. If you get a smart employee, yes it happens sometimes, you can be out quickly. Just tell them you’re looking to hook up a hose to a five-gallon bucket.

 

Gravity Fed Water System
Drilling the hole

Building The Bucket

Use a paddle bit to drill a hole the size of your threaded piece. In my case, this was 3/8th size hole. Be careful not to let the bit dance. If you do the hole will be bigger than the connector. Also, Plumbers tape will help to a degree.

I had to get a pvc piece that was female on one side and male on the other.  Put Teflon tape on the PEX piece and screw into the female side. Use Teflon tape on the male side. Put a rubber washer on.

For inside the bucket, I had a female threaded open piece.

Thread the male connector into the bucket. It should be a tight fit. You want the piece to go all the way into the bucket for the washer to prevent leaks.

On the inside of the bucket, I put another rubber washer on threaded side. That way there is a washer on the inside and outside of the bucket to prevent leaks.

Thread the open female piece on the inside of the bucket. Tighten it as snuggly as you can by hand. Using a wrench would break something for sure.

Preparing The Line

At this point, it’s best to place the bucket where you are going to want it. Take the tubing you have and place on one of your hose clamps. Work the tubing onto the PEX barbed end on the bucket. It will be a really tight fit. This is what we want. When the tubing is all the way on, move the hose clamp to the center of the barb. Tighten the hose clamp. Don’t go crazy tightening it down, you don’t want to crack the PEX barb.

Run the tubing to the sink. It will most likely be too long. I didn’t want to have excess tubing congesting my Gravity Fed Water System. The less distance it travels will help with the pressure. Cut it to be just enough to reach the sink.

Nest put a hose clamp on the tubing and attach to the shut-off valve. And the Shut off piece connects to the faucet connector and that screws onto the sink.

Gravity Fed Water System
Gravity Fed Water System

Set Up

At this point, everything should be hooked up for your Gravity Fed Water System. Since this is only going to feed the cold water tap on the faucet. Don’t forget to either plug or shut off the hot water side. I used a faucet connector and shut off valve on it. Therefore the water  will just pour out. Ask me how I know.

Now fill the bucket with water. Check for leaks. Also you could use silicone to seal the connector coming out of the bucket. I have not had it leak in weeks of use, though.

Then turn on you shut off valve to the faucet. Check for leaks. If no leaks turn on the faucet. Remember only the cold will work. If water comes out awesome you did it! In the event that the water won’t flow it has air in the line. So we have to get the air out of the line first.

Also you could install a check valve to get the air out. I just squeezed the tubing near the bucket. When you squeeze the tubing it forces the air inside the bucket and fills the line with water. Once the line is completely filled with water it will flow.

 

Off Grid Running Water Gravity Fed Water System
Off Grid Running Water

Conclusion

In conclusion, I have been without running water for almost 2 years, living in  my tiny house. It isn’t that bad honestly. In particular many things you take for granted are made difficult. Like doing the dishes. So you can’t just rinse off something. The first thing I did after building my Gravity Fed Water System was to do some dishes. Finally It felt great to have running water to do dished with.

I fiddled around trying to get the water pressure to be better with no luck. Also don’t expect any great water pressure. It will flow steadily. But it will flow.

This project cost less than $30 and took less than an hour. As a result,  I can turn a faucet and water comes out. For a short term disaster or for those that live off the grid this is a cheap and easy solution.  So the next step  from this system  is rain catchment and a water pump. You could possibly do that for $100. Probably not, though. As an interim to that, this Gravity Fed Water System fills the gap perfectly.

What do you do for water? Have you built a Gravity Fed Water System? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

Want to hear yourself on the podcast? Call in with your questions at (615) 657-9104 and leave us a voice mail. 

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 content and discounts!