Off grid living in Ohio ( The Buckeye State )

Ohio is located on the shores of Lake Erie, with a slowly growing population of around 11.9 million people. Although there are almost 12 million people living in Ohio, the vast majority of people live in smaller towns and cities. Currently, there are only 6 cities which have a population of over 100k people, the largest city in Ohio is Columbus with around 870k people, followed by Cleveland 390k, Cincinnati 300k, Toledo 280k, Akron 200k, and Dayton with 140k people.

Ohio is an excellent state for off grid living, living off the grid is legal, the cost of living is well below the national average and the price of land and housing is around 40% lower than the national average. Although the property tax is higher than the national average but the cheap cost of housing and land makes it quite affordable. Combined with the cheap cost of living, low crime rate, generous rebates, and incentives for generating your own power make the state of Ohio one of the best states for off grid living in the eastern part of the country.

If you want to live off the grid in Ohio then you should definitely harvest rainwater, my personal recommendation is to use a collapsable rainwater barrel Click here to check it out on Amazon.com

Ohio is well known for its excellent health care and education systems, and during the past years, this state has attracted plenty of people due to its job market, even though statistically speaking it is one of those states from where people tend to move out. If you have ever visited Ohio then you probably noticed two things, potholes and road works, there is simply no way of escaping them and if you will have to commute to work then the first thing you should do is to check if there are any road works in your route.

Ohio can be a good off living state but only if you can handle the local climate. Weather in Ohio is unpredictable, to say the least, one week you could be swimming in a lake and the next week you could be ice skateing. From a geographical stand of point Ohio is almost at the sweet spot, the climate is fairly moderate and the state does have all 4 seasons, although spring and fall are getting shorter every year.

From an off gird living perspective, most of the states located in the east are not the best, the reason is not due to the climate but because of higher prices across the board, simply put the closer you get to the east coast the higher the prices and living costs will be. If you are looking for a state which doesn’t have such a high living cost and is located on the east coast then check out my recent article Off grid living in North Carolina ( Old North State ).

Ohio climate

Ohio has two different climates, in most of the state the climate is humid continental and in the southern part of the state, the climate is humid subtropical. This basically means that the growing period for crops in the southern part of the state is a bit longer, although you can still grow most of the crops no matter in what region of Ohio you are. During the summertime, the average temperature is around 80°F – 90°F and during the wintertime, it is around 15°F.

One thing which you should know about the humid continental climate is that the difference in temperatures between night and day is fairly high, and you will definitely notice this difference both during the summer and winter. If you want to take a look at one of the neighboring states then check out my recent article Off grid living in West Virginia ( Mountain State ).

Best crops to grow in Ohio

Ohio is well known for two types of crops, corn, and soybeans, although there are plenty of farms growing wheat and even oats. Due to its somewhat limited growing period, you will see a lot of greenhouses set up in Ohio, most of these either grow vegetables and nursery products. People who live off the grid in Ohio also raise livestock, mostly because feeding them is extremely cheap as most of the corn grown in this state is actually for animal feed. If you want to know if the neighboring state Indiana is better for off grid living than Ohio then check out my recent article Off grid living in Indiana ( The Hoosier State ).

Freshwater availability in Ohio

As Ohio has a humid continental type climate there are no shortages when it comes to water, and the average rainfall in this state is around 38″. From an off grid living perspective, this means that you can get water fairly easily both from below and above the ground. In areas where it is not financially viable to make a well, most people simply harvest rainwater from their roofs and store it in water cisterns.

Ohio wildlife

The wildlife might cause some problems if you have to commute to work, not because of predators but because of the white-tailed deer, it is fairly common to see deer in suburban areas grazing. If you are not a big fan of cicadas then you probably not going to like it in Ohio, in some areas of the state the number of cicadas can be fairly high. The most common animal found in Ohio is the white-tailed deer, although you can also find shrews, foxes, and muskrats.

Ohio has seral rivers and lakes in addition to Lake Erie, here you will find walleye, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, flathead, and several types of catfish. You will need a license both for fishing and hunting http://wildlife.ohiodnr.gov/fishing/fishing-regulations/licenses.

Generating power off the grid in Ohio

  • Solar power: Most people who live off the grid in Ohio will use solar power to generate electricity, you can apply for the federal tax credit which is 30% and on top of this the state also offers several rebates and incentives for setting up a solar system. The types of incentives and rebates you can use will depend on when you did set up the solar system and the rules might be different in some counties.
  • Wind power: On top of the federal tax credit of 30% you can also apply for federal wind energy rebates, although the percentage of this will be different in every county but you will save around 20-30% more on top of the federal tax credit.

Ohio off grid laws

It is legal to live off the grid in Ohio, currently, there are no restrictions or laws prohibiting you from harvesting rainwater, although if you have a larger farm or you have livestock then you will have some regulation on how you store the rainwater. Homeschooling laws are fairly relaxed, you will need to send a couple of notifications to the local authorities, in fact, there are a lot of people in Ohio homeschooling their children even if they do not live off the grid. If you want to know the best places for off grid living in this state then check out my recent article Best Places To Live Off The Grid In Ohio ( Top 7 Counties ).

Ohio road access

The main problem with road access in Ohio is not the lack of roads but the poor infrastructure, the closer you get to the cities the more potholes you will come across. Although you can easily avoid these potholes in the summertime but during the wintertime, they can pose a serious threat. People who live off the grid either use 4×4 vehicles or snowmobiles during the wintertime.

Ohio price of land

The price of land in Ohio is fairly cheap when you compare it to the rest of the country, you can expect to pay around 40% less for housing and land than in the rest of the country. There are a couple of states that also have similarly cheap land but most of them are fairly undeveloped and located in the southern part of the state. If you want to live as frugal as possible then the cheap price of land and housing alone is well worth it in Ohio.

Property tax in Ohio

The property tax is fairly higher in Ohio than in the rest of the country, currently, the property tax in Ohio is 1.57% and the national average is at 1.08%.  Although the property tax is higher than the national average but the low cost of housing and property makes up for it easily. The county with the lowest property tax in Ohio is Licking county at 1.42%.

Ohio cost of living

In general, the cost of living is around 18% lower than the national average, most notably the price for housing is around 40%, healthcare 13%, and transportation is around 17% cheaper than the national average. In addition to this, you will also pay around 4% less for groceries and the utilities will cost you around the same as the national average.

Ohio jobs

The unemployment rate in Ohio is around 4.2% which is a little bit higher than the national average which is 4%. The minimum wage is at $8.55 which is higher than the national average which is $7.25. The biggest industries in Ohio are aerospace and defense, healthcare, agriculture, education, manufacturing, and the auto industry.

Ohio crime rate

The crime rate in Ohio is significantly lower than the national average, currently, the crime rate is at around 2.8 crimes per 1000 people and the national average is at 4 crimes per 1000 people. The cities with the lowest crime rate are New Weston, Clifton, Waite Hill, and Rockford. The areas with the highest crime rates are Logan, Newark, Heath, and Cincinnati. Generally speaking, the northern and the northwestern parts of the state have the lowest crime rates.

Ohio natural disasters

The main natural disasters in Ohio are flash floods, floods, tornadoes, heavy rain, and snow. By far the most destructive natural disasters in Ohio are the flash floods and tornadoes, although Ohio is considered relatively safe when it comes to natural disasters as these do not occur that often.

In conclusion

Ohio has all the features some would need to live off the grid as frugally as possible. Not only the prices are lower than the national average but it also one of the safest states in the country, with excellent, affordable healthcare and education systems.