Your Guide To Going Off The Grid In A Mobile Home

by May 10, 2019Blog, DIY, Mobile home life




Are you yearning for freedom? Do you want to live life more on your own terms?

If your answers are yes, the best choice for you could be to go off the grid. Although it can be hard work, it can also give you more control over the way you live.

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Take a look at our guide to going off the grid in a mobile home. We are going to cover all the key things that you need to address to achieve this lifestyle.




Why go off the grid?

First, let’s talk about what it means to go off grid. In its basics, it means being able to live independent from the power supplied by utility companies. But you can take it much further.

Most people who take this route try to live as independently from the outside world as possible. And as environmentally friendly as they can. This means trying to get water from other sources, growing as much of their food as they can, and producing as little waste as feasible.

Here are some benefits of going off-grid:

  • It is cheaper than ever. As more and more manufacturers are jumping on the bandwagon, everything from solar panels to batteries is less expensive.
  • Besides this, it is also more accessible than ever. There are more resources available than in the past to help you set up your home.
  • You save money. Unfortunately, it can involve quite an investment to get it all started. But in the end, you will have to spend less to maintain it.
  • Overall, you will live much more environmentally conscious. From using fewer resources, like water, to wasting less, you’ll be leaving behind a smaller ecological footprint.
  • More freedom over your life and more control over your impact on the world.

Going off the grid with your mobile home

Many people first fall in love with mobile homes because of their potential to go off the grid. According to some, this is their most significant advantage.

So what makes manufactured homes so unique in this respect?

  • Affordability: Mobile homes are much cheaper than site-built homes. As a result, you will have more money to spend on setting up your house.
  • Flexibility: In a sense, they are very versatile. Mobile homes are highly customizable, and you can arrange to connect them to utilities yourself.
  • Location: One of their best features is that they can be transported. You can park it on any suitable piece of ground. There are options to rent as well as to buy a piece of land. Many people who want to live independently prefer to live rent free too. For this purpose, they usually choose to buy a lot.
  • Construction: The manufacturing process for mobile homes has been revolutionized. Many companies now use updated methods to build their products. Some of them focus on making the process as eco-friendly as possible. Therefore, if this is one of your concerns one of these homes can be the ideal choice.

Now we can move onto the different steps you can take to living off the grid.

Power

One of the most critical issues to address first is where to get electricity from. You need electricity for all your appliances. Going without these modern amenities might be impossible for some.

Solar panels for power

But luckily, there are plenty of ways for you to produce your own electricity.

How to:

The two main factors to consider is how to generate power and how to store it.

The electricity from utility companies typically come from several sources. In the past, almost all of it was generated through burning coal and other fossil fuels. Nowadays, some of it comes from renewable sources like solar power and wind turbines.

The most effective way to produce your own electricity is through solar panels. This can be costly to set up, but you will soon see returns on your investment.

To do this, you will need to install specialized solar panels which will be able to concentrate the rays from the sun and produce power with it. However, the sun needs to shine for this to happen, so you will need to install batteries to store energy for other times.

Besides this, you will probably need an inverter combiner box, DB board, and solar charge controller. Luckily, many companies now produce and sell complete kits for your home.

It’s recommended that you consult a professional to help you get the system up and running.




Insulation:

Even when you can generate your own power, you probably still want to save as much as you can. The key to this is to make your mobile home as energy efficient as possible.

One of the biggest drains on an electricity grid are appliances which help you to regulate the temperature in the house. These include aircon, fans, and heaters.

Fortunately, it’s relatively easy to reduce the need for these with proper insulation. This can help you to keep your home cool in summer and warm and cozy in winter.

How to:

Unfortunately, manufacturers often skimp on this aspect of mobile homes. So adding insulation can be an essential upgrade that you will need to make.

Here are a few spaces in your house which need to be insulated for maximum energy efficiency:

  • Walls: They make up most of the surface area of a home. That’s why it’s essential to use them to protect you from the elements. Because they can be hard to get to, polystyrene beads and blow-in insulation are often used.
  • Roof: You need to properly seal up the roof to stop heat from escaping in the winter and the sun baking your home in the summer. People generally use blow-in insulation for this area.
  • Underbelly and crawlspace: Not only is this a vast exposed area, but most of your pipes are here. You can use wool, mats, and boards. In addition, you need to make sure that the skirting is sealed tight.
  • Doors and windows: Don’t forget to seal all the openings to your home carefully. You should make them as airtight as possible.
  • Water heater, ducts, and plumbing: It’s important to insulate all of your plumbing to keep the heat in and stop your pipes from being damaged by the cold.

Water-wise:

Some people choose to stay connected to city water. But this isn’t the right choice for everybody. If you want to be as self-reliant as possible, you might want to consider being as water-wise as possible.

Many people simply try to use as little water as possible and reusing some of it. On the other hand, some try to source some of their own water.

How to:

There are a few possible sources of water.

Countryside water pump

First, you can consider sinking a borehole or well in your property. To do this, you will probably need to own the lot. The downside of these methods is that it is quite expensive to set up and depends on whether there is sufficient groundwater in the area.

But once it is up and running, you should have enough water to run your household. You could even use renewable sources to pull up the water. For instance, you can use a wind pump or solar power.

Besides this, many people try to catch rainwater to use. If you want to drink it, you might want to install a purification system. Though this probably won’t supply you enough water year round.

For both of these options, you will need a water tank for storage.

The following are ways through which you could try to save some water:

  • Make sure to fix any leaks.
  • Reuse greywater from your shower and kitchen to water your garden or flush your toilet.
  • Choose efficient fixtures like aerated faucets.

Sewage:

This can be an uncomfortable topic for many people who are considering going off-grid. If you are used to living in a modern home, it can sound impossible to disconnect from city sewage services.

You could still make use of city sewer lines if you want. But there are alternatives available.

How to:

One way to tackle this problem is to install a septic system. This involves installing a large metal tank which is buried underground. The container is used to collect and release your wastewater into a drain field. It will need to be emptied and cleaned once a year by a professional company.

For the most part, it will feel as if you are still connected to the city sewer line.

If you want to know more about how it works, take a look at this article.

Alternatively, some people prefer to go with composting toilets. This is a type of toilet which decomposes human excretions and turns it into compost. They are freestanding and very eco-friendly. But some find them unpleasant.




Waste:

Another thing that you need to consider is what you are going to do with your trash. In cities, we are used to the city’s waste management services taking care of all that.

So what do you do with your trash when you want to go off the grid?

How to:

To begin with, most people try to reduce the amount of waste they actually produce. A quick way to do this is to stop using single-use plastics. So whenever you go shopping try to bring your own containers and try to visit plastic-free stores.

Here are a few more tips for going plastic free.

But what should you do with the trash that you do have?

First, you should start recycling. You can recycle almost anything. This includes plastic, paper, metals, and electronics. Also, try to reuse your old possessions by selling or gifting them to someone who might find them useful.

Secondly, much of the waste we produce is actually food waste. You’d probably be surprised by the number of peels, cut-offs, and leftovers that you throw away. The best way to deal with this is to start your own compost heap. One benefit of this is that you can use it to fertilize your own vegetable garden.

However, once this has all been done, there might still be a little bit of trash left. People who try to live off the grid might still have to haul some waste away to a landfill.

Eco-friendly appliances:

Throughout the guide, we’ve mentioned that it’s crucial to try to be more energy and water efficient. This will make going off the grid much more manageable than it would otherwise be.

One of the crucial ways to do this is to choose better appliances to use in your mobile home. It can make a world of difference.

Laundry hung outdoors

How to:

Importantly, you should take note that older appliances typically use more water and more energy than newer ones. Manufacturers often try to design their new models to be more eco-friendly. Therefore, one solution could be to replace your old appliances.

However, this can be expensive. And you might want to save even more electricity and water than this would allow.

Here are more measures you can take to make your appliances more efficient:

  • Cooking: You should use gas stoves. Many people who live off-grid also cook much of their food on fire. In addition to this, some use solar cookers.
  • Refrigerator: You could use a gas refrigerator instead of an electric one. This is one of the appliances which typically use the most energy.
  • Water heater: Install a gas heater instead of one powered by electric. Alternatively, you could use solar panels made to heat water.
  • Washing machine: Only wash your clothes with cold water and use its economy settings.
  • Drying clothes: Avoid using tumble dryers. Instead, go old school by hanging your clothes to dry if you can.
  • Lights: Use energy efficient bulbs for all your lighting.

Change your mindset

Hopefully, this guide will help you with the specific aspects you need to be able to go off-grid. Mobile homes can be the ideal property to do this with. They offer you alternatives to traditional ways of living with their flexibility, size, and transportability.

But it all starts with your mindset. You need to change how you think about consumption whether that be power, water or food. Only then can you change your lifestyle.

As you can see, going off grid involves making changes in every aspect of your life. This includes both the interior and exterior of your house. Read our eco-friendly solutions for your mobile home garden. And if you are in the market for a new property read our guide to the 7 most energy efficient mobile homes on the market.



 

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