As with everything in life, there are some pros and cons, and this is also true for living off the grid. While you might watch some videos of people living off the grid you might think that it is paradise, but this paradise has to be built and if you are not used to working outdoors all day long then living off the grid might turn into a nightmare. Far too many people jump on the bandwagon of living off the grid, but very few actually take a look at what are the disadvantages of living off the grid.
Living off the grid can have its fair share of disadvantages, like the initial costs which can add up quickly, and the renouncing of the everyday comforts like power, water, and flushable toilets. Some people consider these disadvantages while others consider them as challenges. Living off the grid is not meant to be comfortable, its main goal is to live as self sufficiently as possible, and this comes with some disadvantages.
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Living off the grid is not all sunshine and rainbows, especially if you want to be as self sufficient as possible. It takes a lot of dedication, time, and even money to live off the grid, and the initial investment can be fairly high. One of the great benefits of living off the grid is that you have to do amounts everything yourself, while this sounds excellent for some, but there are a lot of people struggling off the grid.
By living off the grid you will have to think of everything, and by that, I do not mean that you have to keep in mind to buy bread. Instead, you will be thinking about how long your batteries will last if you hook up an additional device, if the firewood will be enough for the wintertime, or simple things like what will you do if your phone gets damaged or your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere.
Although living off the grid is a lot about improvisation, but the truth is that most people are so used to having cell phone reception, hot water, power, and a toilet that is connected to the local sewage system that it will be extremely difficult for them to live without these luxuries. If you want to know how to prepare to live off the grid then check out my recent article How to prepare to live off the grid ( In 14 Easy Steps ).
The biggest disadvantage of living off the grid are the initial costs
While living off the grid tends to be extremely cheap but you will need to make a significant investment in order to get to that point. There are a lot of people living off the grid who can go months without spending any money, they grow their own food, harvest rainwater, and generate their own power. With that being said it will take a couple of years if not decades until the off grid homestead becomes self sufficient.
You will need to buy your own land and build a house on it, and these will be your biggest upfront costs for living off the grid. Solar panels tend to be fairly expensive, although as technology is getting better they will cost less, on the other hand, the batteries will probably cost even more than today. From there on you have to think about what kind of toilet you will be using, as composting toilets are not legal in all states, for more information check out my recent article What states allow composting toilets? ( Top 8 States ).
Laws regarding off grid living can be a disadvantage
There are a lot of myths surrounding off grid living like it is illegal in some states, the truth is that living off the grid is legal in all states. Some states and counties do have restrictions and regulations when it comes to living off the grid, but for the most part, you should not have an issue. As long as you follow the local building code you should be fine, although you have to check the regulations and restrictions regarding rainwater harvesting, composting, composting toilets, raising livestock, and what kind of crops you can grow.
One of the main reasons why a lot of people think that living off the grid is impossible in certain states is because they think that they can not harvest rainwater legally, the truth is that harvesting rainwater is legal in all states, but some do have regulations and restictio9ns for more information check out my recent article Collecting rainwater illegal? ( Laws in all 50 States ).
Renouncing every day comforts to live off the grid is a disadvantage
We live in a world where we are used to having power, water flowing from our tap, the garbage is taken away, and flushing down the toilet. Although these might seem like small things but you will definitely miss them once you live off the grid. You can simply not use as much power as you want, as you have limited power in your batteries. The garbage will not be taken away so you will have to come up with some solution, and most importantly you have to manage the waste from your toilet.
Maintaining an off grid house can be a disadvantage
A lot of people tend to forget that once the off grid house is built it also has to be maintained, sooner or later things will get damaged by nature, wild animals, or by simply designing it incorrectly. Maintain an off grid house is not like maintaining a normal house, you can not leave today’s problems to be fixed tomorrow, as tomorrow it will cause more problems. If you have a leak in your roof you will have to fix it as soon as possible, and calling somebody to fix it will not be an opinion for most people living off the grid.
This is why people who have DIY skills tend to thrive off the grid, while others who rely on somebody else to fix their problems will struggle until they learn how to maintain the off grid property without calling for help.
Living off the grid needs a lot of work which is a disadvantage for some people
I often tell people who are asking if living off the grid is for them that they have to keep in mind that living off the grid is a lot of work. People who are not afraid of hard work will have no problem living off the grid, and by hard work, I mean manual labor and not spending 12 hours in a comfortable office. As living off the grid is about self-reliance you will have to do most of the work, like building a shed, fence, chopping firewood, and so on.
In addition to a lot of work, you will also have to wake up as soon as the sun is up, and you have to use the daylight as best as you can. Even people who live off the grid and generate their own power will wake up at dawn and will go to sleep once the sun goes down, this way they use a lot less power.
Loneliness is a disadvantage for living off the grid
Loneliness and isolation can be a massive problem for some people living off the grid, and even if they have everything that they need to live off the grid comfortably some people do crave the ability to socialize with other people. We are all social creatures, although some can handle being alone for months on end, while others will get depressed in a matter of weeks after not seeing another person.
This mostly depends on what kind of person you are and how you were raised as a child, people who are determined and independent tend to be able to not feel the effects of loneliness as much. Do note that loneliness can come even if you are not living off the grid alone, but if you are living alone then you will feel the effects of loneliness sooner or later.
Logistics of living off the grid is a disadvantage
If you are living off the grid in a remote area then you will have to carefully calculate how often you go to the nearest town to get some supplies. You will not be able to get everything from nature, some things cost money and you will have to go to the nearest town. For the most part, people who live off the grid have limited road access if they live in a remote area, oftentimes they will only have a forest road or a dirt road.
These roads can be unusable during the wintertime or after heavy rainfall, and venturing out on these roads during this time will most likely end up with your vehicle stuck in the middle of the road. Make sure that you know what is the average yearly rain and snowfall in the area. In addition to this, it is a good idea to get a weather radio as well.
Emergency situations while living off the grid are a disadvantage
One of the biggest cons for living off the grid is that you can not reliably ask for help, if something happens then you might find yourself alone. In some cases, you will manage without a problem but in worst case situations an emergency off the grid can become extremely dangerous. If you have moved to a new off grid location and you do not know the area then the last thing you want is to get lost.
Spending the night in the middle of the wilderness during the night is ruff, to say the least, I have been there and it is no cakewalk. Make sure to have a couple of devices that you can use to call for help such as a phone, flashlight, or even something as simple as a mirror can save your life one day.
As you can see there are some disadvantages to living off the grid, however, no matter what you do in your life there will be some disadvantages and you should focus on the bigger picture. Living off the grid is not for everybody, most people will never be able to live fully off the grid, but that doesn’t really matter you have to do what is good for you.