Heating and cooling costs account for about half of residential utility bills in American homes, especially if the home is located in a region known for extreme temperature fluxuations. Rising energy costs have been prompting homeowners to convert their homes and lifestyles for decades. However, these costs are not the only reason to consider taking your home appliances “off-the-grid”.
1. Tiny Homes
The “tiny home” craze has taken the nation by storm. These mini-versions of traditional houses are providing easy relocation, minimalist lifestyles, and lower energy bills. Many tiny homeowners are committed to a life off-the-grid and, for this reason, they are finding new and inventive ways to power the various on-board appliances such as water heaters, HVAC systems, and electricity.
2. Recreational Vehicles
While most RV parks provide access to local utilities, many vacationing families have no interest in staying in these small spaces. Luckily, innovations are making this an easy task. For example, keeping the interiors of recreational vehicles cool can be difficult during the hot summer months. Small air conditioning units have proved helpful in combating high temperatures and many owners are now installing alternative means such as solar panels to power these appreciated appliances while on the road.
3. Older Residences
Installing new sources of energy in existing structures can be a costly and time-consuming process. While beautiful in their antiquity, old homes are often without indoor plumbing and access to modern electricity. For this reason, new buyers of these older residences rely on the sun and wind to power their new homes. One such buyer recently reported that solar panels are providing her home, built in the 1800s, with up to 1,500 watts of power on sunny days.
4. Rural Locations
Sometimes, an individual just wants to live far away from the rigors of society and chooses to move out of town and into a more rural area. In these instances, building a new, traditional home, may not be so difficult. Instead, the problem with these homes lies in the attempt to access public utilities. Owners of rural homes are often forced to rely on propane tanks, windmills, and solar panels to run their refrigerators, laundry machines, and HVAC systems.
5. Energy Savings
While most people choose to live off-grid in order to live a healthier lifestyle and reduce their environmental footprint, this is not always the case. By utilizing self-sustainable options, homeowners are also hoping to save money on their energy bills. Depending on where you live, going solar can pay for itself in as little as four years, meaning that powering those expensive appliances may, one day, operate nearly free-of-charge.
In other words, don’t let rumors of expensive installations and mind-boggling upkeep cloud your judgment about the off-grid life. Simply think long and hard about the type of lifestyle your family would like to live and consider taking one or two of the more expensive appliances, like dryers and heating and air conditioning systems off of public utilities.