Located in the western part of the country Utah, has a population of 3.2 million and the population is steadily growing every year. Most people think that Utah is just a desert and the climate is arid, the truth is that Utah actually has all 4 seasons, although the seasons are less noticeable in the areas where there is desert. Utah has one of the biggest lakes in the country which is the Great Salt Lake, you might think that with such a big lake there would be plenty of fish.
Living off the grid in Utah is legal, although there are no laws prohibiting you to live off the grid you might find some regulations and restrictions when it comes to harvesting rainwater. The cost of living is slightly higher than in the rest of the country, on the other hand, the property tax and the crime rate are a lot lower than the national average. In addition to this summers can be extremely hot and with little to no rainfall in some areas.
If you want to live off the grid in Utah then you will have to start harvesting rainwater at some point, my personal recommendation is to use a collapsable rainwater barrel that comes with a filter spigot overflow kit Click here to check it out on Amazon.com
The problem is that the lake is salty and not a lot of fish live in it as in some parts it is even saltier than the oceans, in addition to this the lake is polluted. During the wintertime, you will be able to notice a thick fog above the lake, this is due to inversion which traps all the polluted air on top of the lake. Under certain conditions, this pollution can be blown by winds towards the cities, and let me tell you that it doesn’t smell good.
When it comes to off grid living, the state of Utah isn’t that bad, you just need to find the right place to live, and as there are a lot of deserts this might be difficult although not impossible. Even though some of the areas are considered deserts, there are still plenty of good locations to live off the grid, it has several rivers and mountains which cool off the area noticeably. One thing you might want to do is to wear suncream, as the state of Utah has one of the highest numbers of people with melanoma, which is skin cancer. Although Utah is not the best when it comes to off-grid living, but it is definitely better than Maryland, for more information check out my recent article Off grid living in Maryland ( Good or Bad? ).
Utah’s climate is considered to be dry, semi-arid, even though you might notice all 4 seasons in some parts of the states, but generally speaking, the summers are hot, dry, and long, and the winters are cold and short. Don’t get fooled by the high temperatures during summertime, as in the nighttime the temperatures might fall even below freezing. During the summertime, the average temperature is around 85°F, and during the wintertime 40°F, although in some parts of the state the winter temperature can fall as low as 0°F.
The climate is not so great for off grid living, and you will see that most houses have air conditioning units, not just to cool of their house but also to humidify the air. Generally speaking in the southern part of the state the climate is dryer and in the northern part, it is a bit more humid, although not a lot. If you are not a big fan of the semi-arid climate then you might want to check out what Kentucky has to offer, for more info check out my recent article Off grid living in Kentucky ( The Bluegrass State ).
Best Crops To Grow Off The Grid In Utah
The most common crops that grow in Utah are barley, wheat, and maize, maize is basically corn. Although the corn is not grown for human consumption but for feeding cattle. In addition to this, you can also grow fruits like apples, cherries, and peaches among others, and you will probably have great results as the summers are so long, provided that you have enough water for your crops. As you can see the state of Utah isn’t the best when it comes to growing crops, but you could always raise livestock. If you want to check one of the neighboring states then take a look at my recent article Off grid living in New Mexico ( Land of Enchantment ).
Freshwater Availability In Utah
A lot of people think that harvesting rainwater is illegal, mostly because most states with arid climates do have strict regulations when it comes to harvesting rainwater. The good news is that harvesting rainwater in Utah is legal, and it has been so since 2010. Even though it is legal to harvest rainwater, you probably won’t be able to harvest enough rainwater in certain areas due to the limited rainfall.
Finding groundwater is a hit and miss adventure, in some areas you won’t have problems while in others you will simply not find any groundwater. The local rivers and streams are already stretched to their maximum due to human consumption. The salt lake is shrinking fast, and some say it is due to climate change while others claim it is due to the rising population of the state consuming a lot of fresh water from streams and rivers which should flow into the lake.
In Utah, there are several larger animals which you will find, from wood bison, elk, moose, badger, and even wolves. When it comes to fish you will find black bullhead, bear lake whitefish, bonneville cisco, and arctic grayling among other fish. Permits for hunting and fishing are fairly cheap and you can find here how to get them.
Generating Power Off The Grid In Utah
- Solar power: The state of Utah is a great place for solar power, the sun is almost always shining, clouds are not that frequent and you will have no problem generating power even during the wintertime. The tax credit for solar power in Utah is somewhat smaller than in other states which is around 25%, although this is limited to a maximum cost of $2000.
- Wind power: Although generating power with solar panels would be highly recommended in Utah, but if you want you can also generate power with wind. The state gives several incentives, and these will be different from one county to another, in general, you could get it 50-60% cheaper with the incentives.
- Hydroelectric power: You will have a tough time generating power from streams and rivers, these often shrink during the summertime a lot, just stick with solar or wind power.
Utah Off Grid Laws
Although there are no laws prohibiting you from harvesting rainwater and living off the grid, it is still a good idea to check with your local authorities. In some areas, the people are not that friendly and they really dislike outsiders, although you can legally live in that area off the grid but the neighbors might make your life extremely difficult. So before you buy a piece of land make sure to check if there are any other new people in the area living, and maybe ask them about the neighbors.
Utah Road Access
Most of the state is somewhat flat, and you will have no problem with road access both during the summer and wintertime. Even if your desired land is not linked to a road you will still have no problem with an offroad vehicle or an ATV, just be careful as the drivers in Utah are not that good, and that is saying it mildly.
Utah Price Of Off Grid Land
One of the main reasons why the population of the state is increasing is that the price of land is cheap, even when you compare it to neighboring states. In some areas where the land is closer to deserts the land is dirt cheap, although I wouldn’t recommend you to get land in that area as it will make your everyday life extremely difficult. The best lands for off grid living are near the mountains and rivers, these will cost you a little bit more but they will still be a lot cheaper than in some other states.
Utah Property Tax
Utah’s property tax is 0.66% although not the lowest in the country but it is definitely lower than the nationwide average. Low property tax and cheap land are what attract so many people to this state, and if you want to set up your homestead in this state then you can do it with a fraction of the cost when compared to the neighboring states.
Utah Cost Of Living
The cost of living is around 10% higher than the countrywide median average, although this increase is mainly due to the housing sector as this is actually 40% more expensive when you compare it to the national average. You might be confused now as before I said that the land is cheap in this state and now I am saying that it will cost you 40% more. So let me explain, the high cost of housing is in the urban areas, and not because the property is so valuable but because there is a shortage of houses and apartments in the area.
If you are looking to settle in Utah and live off the grid, then this will not affect you, as you will see that land is in fact almost dirt cheap the further away you go from the major cities.
Utah Crime Rate
Utah’s crime rate is fairly low, in fact, it is around half of the countrywide median average. On average 2.3 violent crimes occur per 1000 people, and the national average is 4. Although the crime rate is low you will find that Utah had and still has several cults, so you might want to take a look into that before you buy a property.
Utah Natural Disasters
There are several natural disasters that can occur in this state like, floods, earthquakes, landslides, wildfires, heatwaves, and even avalanches. Although most of these natural disasters do not occur frequently except one, heatwaves are present almost every summer. So if you have heart problems or otherwise do not have a good resistance against heat then this state is not recommended for you.
The state of Utah can be a good place for off grid living, in fact, there are several communities that live off the grid here. The two biggest problems you will face are the heat, especially during summertime, and the lack of rain, if you can handle these two then you will probably have a good time living off the grid. On the other hand, if you come from the northern part of the country you might find the dry air and the constant heat unbearable.