While most folks think that off-the-grid living is a life full of river dunks, outhouses, and chasing chickens, the reality is that an off-grid house can be almost as normal as a grid-tied one. Here's a few tips to avoid cutting multiple holes through your new wall.
1. PEX, PEX, PEX. Pex is a great product. For all of my previous plumbing projects, I soldered copper. Pex is less then half the cost of copper, it's flexible, and easy to fix mistakes. It also comes in cool blue and red colors, and we all know how important style is off-grid.
2. Check your local building codes. Always be sure to check your local building codes, and speak with the inspector first. If I had taken my own advice, I wouldn't have had to make the extra 4 runs to the local big box store.
3.Think about your run lengths. On a off grid homestead, water is life. Minimizing runs (especially with hot water) can help you save some of that hard earned water. Check to see how much water is in every foot of pipe for the product you are using.
4. Measure twice, cut once. Although I have mostly gone by measure once, cut twice, and then fix it after, forethought is a good thing that will save you time and money.
5. Get your water tested. Being from Massachusetts, I love that dirty water. The problem is dirty water in your house is bad, like giardia bad. Make sure you properly treat and filter your water and be sure to have it tested by someone that knows more than me.
Plumbing is a essential part to have a "normal" house off the grid. One of the main points of this project is to go off-grid without losing many luxuries. So that when friends come over, they would never know the difference between your house and theirs. Spend a little time researching before pulling that trigger. The use of jugs on the counter can easily be avoided with a couple dollars, a little research, and in my case, a lot of luck.
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About the Author
Jamie Leahy is founding mountaineer at North Ridge Mountain Guides. After a few years commuting to the White Mountains, Jamie and his girlfriend, Becky, decided it was time to move to New Hampshire’s White Mountains and follow their dream of building an off-grid, mini-homestead debt free. Follow him at White Mountains Off-Grid. Read all of his MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.