Off Grid Cabin And LifeStyle? Here's How To Create Your Own
off grid cabin

Ever Thought About Creating Your Own Off Grid Cabin and Lifestyle?

Having your own off grid cabin is something many people fantasize about from time to time.

I suspect we all do every time we go to pay another water or electric bill. Here's the steps you need to think about before you dive in and bite off more than you can chew...

Why Create An Off Grid Cabin?

Some people create their own off grid cabin as:

•          a good financial decision. Save a ton on utility companies whose prices only seem to go one way

•          a step towards self –reliance and independence

•          preparation for a global calamity - Create your own underground shelter- just in case

•          environmental and “save the fossil fuels” reasons

Whatever your reason, it is certainly a growing trend and while it is not for everyone, it may be worth some consideration.

“Off-Grid” One Step At A Time

In fact this is recommended. There is a lot to learn and manage at first. In cases cases set up costs can be significant and it may take a few years to see pay back.

Firstly just focus on supplementing your energy requirements one at a time. Implement one source of power, learn it, make sure you understand what can go wrong and how to trouble shoot.

Or try renting an “off the grid cabin” for a week and see how you feel. Start learning the questions you did not even know you should be asking. Learn about all the systems and how it all works.

A typical house is connected to power, natural gas, water and telephone lines. It is hard to imagine life without all these services that we take for granted.

Check out these 10 Off Grid Cabins that might give you inspiration on the possibilities available.

It's is difficult to estimate how many people in the US live off-grid, but in 2006, Home Power magazine estimated that at least 180,000 homes were supplying their own power. No doubt that is a lot more now.

Another 27,000 homes use solar and wind energy to offset their grid-connected life [source: USA Today]. Some do this to move away completely from dependence on government utilities. Others are just looking to reduce their bills.

What Is The First Thing To Sort Out In My Off Grid Cabin?

Power is the best one to focus on first.

Many people choose solar.

If you live somewhere with a lot of sun year round or are thinking of buying land in a sunny place like Nevada or Arizona, this makes sense.

If you live somewhere windy, then be sure to harness this natural energy around you. A turbine sits atop a 50-120 foot tower. When the blades move, wind energy is converted to usable energy.

off grid cabin

Some people in developed areas, use solar or wind energy and if they have excess supply, can sell their energy back to the grid.

However if you go off the grid completely, you will cut all ties with energy companies and store your own excess energy in a system of batteries in a nearby shed.

Wind power is the cleanest and cheapest energy technology in the world. The average cost per kilowatt hour for coal-burning electricity was 10.4 cents in 2006 [source: Energy Information Administration].

Wind energy can be generated for a scant three cents per hour in optimum conditions [source: Earth Policy Institute]. Add to this that there are no greenhouse emissions produced, and it's no wonder that wind power is growing so fast.

What About Water In My Off Grid Cabin?

There is usually plenty of water underneath us as groundwater.

There are more than 17 million homes in the United States that get their water from private wells [source: The Groundwater Foundation]. The principle is simple -- a hole is dug or drilled deep into the ground and a pump draws out the water.

There are many regulations that apply to private wells, so you should only use a licensed well driller. It's easy for harmful contaminants to leak into your well if it's not installed properly. The cost of a private well ranges from $3,000 to $15,000, depending on how deep you need to go.

If you are looking to buy rural land in places like Nevada, you will need to dig a well for water. Here is what to think about when you consider whether to drill a well

The deeper the well, the more likely you'll find clean water. Install a filter for better-tasting water.

Another way you can provide your own water is by harvesting the rain with a cistern. A cistern is basically a tank that holds water. Home cistern systems have large aboveground or underground tanks made from concrete, steel or fiberglass. The water from your rain gutters is channeled into the cistern and then pumped back into your home as you need it.

If your cistern is above ground and higher than your faucets, you can use the weight of the water as pressure to get it into your home. Below ground cisterns require a pump to get the water to you, much like a well.

If you want a cistern, you need to live in an area that gets enough rain. If you live near a major source of pollution, like a major expressway or factory, then you should avoid going with a cistern.

If you want drinkable water, it's best to have a metal or clay roof because it's cleaner than a shingled one. Shingled roofs can be used, but they require a pre-filtering system before the water is deposited into the tank. If you're interested in harvesting rainwater, consult your local green building professional.

What To Do About Sewerage At My Off Grid Cabin?

The best way to get off the grid's sewer line is to install a septic system. A septic system is basically a large metal tank that collects and releases your wastewater. Bacteria in the tank break everything down causing it to separate naturally into a top scum layer, bottom sludge layer and middle liquid layer.

As new wastewater flows in, the liquid in the tank flows out into a series of buried perforated pipes that release the water over distance into a drain field.

Soil acts as a biological filter, keeping the harmful bacteria buried beneath the ground until it's eventually absorbed as nutrients. The tank should be emptied and serviced by a professional once a year.

Will My Off Grid Cabin Have Enough Energy? 

It is always important to be prepared and have back up energy sources in your off grid cabin. What if it is not windy or sunny for 3 weeks?

You'll most likely need a few other things in place as well to ensure that you stay warm, cool and have enough energy and water supply. Many people use propane as their source of gas. You can go all electric with your water heater and range, but that will use a great deal of your manufactured energy.

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