A lot of households are hooked up to the local power company’s grid and depend completely on this as their only power source. But, with the rising costs of power, a lot of homeowners are opting to find ways to live off the grid so that they can get out from under the control of their local power company.
Getting your home off the grid entirely is a huge achievement. But on the other hand, it is not as simple as you might suspect. There are a lot of elements that you must think about first before you make this huge decision.
For some, they do not have any other choice than to live off the grid because their property is in a desolate area that is not serviced by their local power company. For either situation, these are four things that you should think about before you make the decision to live on or off the grid.
1. Home Energy Efficient
A majority of homes are very wasteful when it comes to using energy wisely. This says that your home is using up both your cash and power. This is not a huge issue when you know that your local power company will supply you with all of the power that your home requires, for a price. However, this becomes a huge problem when you are responsible for generating your own energy. When you live off the grid, you have to learn how to live off of the power that you personally produce. This is the reason a lot of homeowners who finally decide to life off the grid, change their viewpoint and learn how to save as much energy as they can.
The largest usage of power for a lot of homes involves both the heating and cooling systems. Many times, this is because the house does not have enough insulation and loses a lot of its heat during the winter months and lets in too much heat during the summer months. So, for a lot of people, putting additional insulation in the walls and attic will drastically lower home utility bills.
A lot of older appliances are also inefficient when it comes to energy use. This is why it is more advantageous to purchase new energy efficient appliances instead. This is really important when it comes to appliances that are constantly turned on such as your refrigerator, furnace or water heater.
2. Consumption of Home Energy
Another step you have to take before you think about getting off of the grid is to figure out how much energy your home actually consumes. This will give you an indication of how much power you will need and the type of energy system that you must install if you plan to live off the grid. Obviously, the more power you consume, you will need a larger and more expensive system .
It is also essential that when you are figuring out how much energy you consume that you also look at the both the peak power consumption and the average power consumption. Just as you might think, the peak consumption is often more than the average consumption. This is because you will have to produce enough power to entirely hold you during the time that you consume the most, which is normally during the wintertime.
3. Size and Type of Home Energy System
When you figure out what your home’s peak power consumption is, you will have to decide which alternative energy system you will utilize and how large it will be to adequately take care of the energy needs of your home. Almost everyone who learns how to live off the grid utilizes a renewable energy system strategy that is diversified. This means that they do not depend on one kind of renewable power. For instance, generating solar energy might be limited by a number of days with clouds and rain.
This is the reason that they have to concentrate on solar power to generate most of their power and combine it with other little systems like wind turbines and solar heaters to make up the difference. These little systems are usually said to be the things that make living off of the grid possible. This is because they provide power when it is exactly needed.
4. Storing Energy
Once you have devised a strategy for living off the grid, there is still one key element that you should give some thought to. You will have to have a way to retain backup power when your solar and wind power systems are not able to produce as much power as you want at that point in time. This is where battery banks become very important. For example, your solar power system might produce a lot of power during the day, but at night it does not do a thing. So, you will have to have batteries to store left over daytime energy so that you can utilize it during the night time hours. And it is always wise to have a backup generator just in case anything limits your ability to produce power or makes you utilize more power than your system can handle. You never know when something might be needed and this would be a wise purchase indeed.