Living Off Grid - Step 1 Research and Planning

| 1/5/2012 1:03:58 PM

Tags: off grid, living off grid, modern homestead, planning for off grid, Ed Essex,

Our Entry GateIn our last blog we looked at the meaning of “off grid” and gave a brief overview of our experiences this past year in our new lifestyle. The next few articles will detail a step by step process we went through and the choices we made in order to transcend the leap from city condo life to off grid “modern homestead.”

 Research played a big part in the planning process. We talked to other people, checked out library books, read a multitude of magazines and then subscribed to the ones we felt were most beneficial to our goals. Combining research with the experiences described in the next few paragraphs will give you a pretty clear picture of the first steps we took to enter into a new lifestyle.

We each have our own set of circumstances that help determine the direction and choices we have to make. Laurie and I had purchased 40 acres of property in the east side of Washington State, 250 miles and five mountain passes from our west side condo. Our original intent was to use it for recreational purposes. I had always loved the atmosphere of a pine forest and that is what we ended up

The property already had a drilled well with a 1500 gallon holding tank, so water wasn’t an issue. The next thing we did was install a septic system for a three bedroom home (just in case) and after that we built the barn. Finally, we purchased a used 28’ travel trailer to stay in whenever we could find time to go visit our little place in heaven.
SetupThis was our first off grid set up. Power came from our generator and trailer batteries. We also used the generator to pump water into the holding tank which was located up the hill from our trailer and barn. Gravity flow took care of the water pressure into our trailer. We ran 150’ of 4” sewer pipe from our trailer to the new septic tank. We used the barn to store our trailer and other belongings (toys) over the cold winters. We now had a secure and fully functioning off grid system in place to practice and learn with.

As a homeowner since the age of 20, I had never been hooked up to a well or septic system before. I always had City sewer and water services. Power came from a local utility service. When Laurie and I decided to build a house on our recreational property and live there full time we had a lot of homework to do.

The first thing we did was to go to the county courthouse which had legal jurisdiction and look at what the property was zoned for, what building permits would be required, and what other permits might be required. While we were there we also discovered that our property had been surveyed and recorded. That was important because it meant our property corners would be recognized by the County as “official and approved” in case there was a dispute with adjoining property lines, corners, or fences.
We also discussed the rules and regulations for ‘access’ roads. Our property is located almost three miles from the nearest paved maintained road. We needed to know how wide the access road is, who maintains it (if anyone), can we maintain it and if so are there any limitations to what we could do, after all, the road belongs to all that it serves and passes through different private properties from beginning to end.

2/8/2014 2:10:44 PM

hi im hoping to get some input from people who have went off the grid im worried i started out wrong so this is my story im a recently divorced age 52 i have 3 adult kids and 3 younger adopted kids and a granddaugter everyone lives with me except for one anyways i need to move from my home of ten years so i have purchased 10 acres in wa state it as a exsitting well but no pump the electric needs to beredone and there is no septic.with all of that i have purchased 2 buildins a 12 x 40 and 12 x 32 and had them delivered to the property the place i bought them said i did not need permits to put these on my property but im pretty sure they were wrong i need to some how fix this problem but i also need to move to this property asap but both buildings need to be insulated and made liveable i want to go off the grid for now but i need alot advise on what to do now to make it confortable for my family and legal so im not getting my self into a bind.theres no going back i need to move forward with this does anyone have any good ideas for me i would really appreciate anything thanks lisa

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