Thursday, November 14, 2019

About being off-grid


I've been thinking about writing a blogpost about being off-grid for a while, but somehow I just can't find the right way to write about it. There's so much to say, but I don't want to get too technical about it. Also, how boring can it get? Very boring, I think.
But... Carole's Three on Thursday saves the day. Listing three things about living this way sounds completely doable.  So here we go. Three things I want to share about us being off-grid.

1. We're completely off-grid (for electricity only, we do have water), but that was not exactly what we wanted. Our plan was to have enough solar panels and batteries to get us through the day and night, but with net electricity as back-up for cloudy days or days that need just a little bit more electricity. But that didn't happen. We found out that we need to get our wiring certified (after they told us we didn't have to), but can't afford the cost of the survey right now. So we're making do with being off-grid, even though it wasn't the plan. It was frustrating at first, but we love a challenge.

2. I actually like being very aware of how I use electricity. I can't just switch on the washing machine whenever I want (have to wait for the batteries to be fully loaded again, or ask T. to run the generator). I can't use (and therefore don't even own) a dishwasher, a coffee machine, a slow cooker, a microwave, a toaster or any electrical appliance like that. Well, I could during a sunny day (and we have lots of those), but I'm so used to doing without now, that I don't want to invest in luxury I don't really need.
We do have a refrigerator and can charge our laptops and phones whenever we need to. We have (LED) lights throughout the house (and outside) and can run (ceiling) fans when we need to. I find that's enough (T. would like an air conditioner as soon as we get connected to the net because he gets too hot most nights, but I'd rather do without).
I love being mindful of things I used to take for granted, while still living comfortably and being able to use some of the modern technology that I really wouldn't want to lose (internet, washing machine, sewing machine).

3. Last week, there was an island-wide power outage, that lasted 17 hours.
We didn't even realize something was going on until our internet failed. T. messaged a friend of ours that works at the provider (we had an issue with the company the week before and he thought they switched us off again) and that was when he heard there was an outage. The provider had good generators though, so six minutes later we had internet again and life went on as usual in our house. I had done some major grocery shopping a few days earlier, so there was no need to go to town. And that was great because things quickly turned into chaos all over the island. Traffic lights not working, gas stations not being able to use the pumps, atm's out of power and swiping not possible too, shops and schools closed... Oh my.
We've never been so glad we decided to invest in solar power...

12 comments:

  1. This is NOT BORING at all! In fact, I hope you do a second installment! My burning question: is your stove gas or electric?

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    1. Thanks! I'll see if I can find some more things related to this to talk about in the future (we're planning to go mostly off-grid with water too eventually).
      The stove is gas, the oven is too. We buy bottled gas to run it.

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  2. I can't decide if you're living an awesome life or a terrifying one. I'm also surprised at my own reaction and that not having a toaster and a washing machine were the 2 most scary things on your list. I had no idea I was so attached to laundry and toast. :)

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    1. Ha, I sometimes wonder too, but mostly I think it's awesome ;-)
      We do have a washing machine though, I just can't run it whenever I like. I did without a washing machine for a while, but that was really hard on my hands and I couldn't get things really clean. I do think it would have been easier with some device to spin the laundry and a wringer (I did it all in a bucket and tried to wring the water out by hand - no fun at all).

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  3. I admire your positive attitude and commitment to keeping things simple. I'm not sure I could handle things with the same grace.

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    1. Well, this is the life I've always wanted to have, so it's rather easy for me ;-)

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  4. This is an awesome post! I have a niece who is contemplating living off grid in Colorado!

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    1. Thanks! And wishing your niece luck to get where she wants to be.

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  5. I am sure I could not survive long without electricity! Mostly due to lack of AC!! LOL I wouldn't even be able to move if I was hot.

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    1. I have to move slower than I did in Holland, but I guess you get used to heat after a while. And slowing down is always a good thing, isn't it?

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  6. I didn't know you were off grid, cool! I use to lose power all the time and with an all electric house it would upset me. But I think the electric company cut down all the dead trees which were toppling and laying on the lines. Fingers crossed.

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    1. Losing power is no fun. It's common here on the island though, but not island wide like that particular day. I hope your problem is solved now!

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