Why You Might Want to Unplug and Live Without Electricity
Living without electricity can seem daunting, but it has some benefits. Here are a few reasons you may want to unplug appliances and live without electricity:
- Save money on your electric bill
- Reduce your carbon footprint
- Become more self-sufficient and less reliant on public utilities
- Learn new skills like cooking from scratch and getting by without modern conveniences
- Slow down and enjoy a simpler lifestyle
Unplugging from electricity allows you to focus on the essentials and find joy in the simple pleasures of life. It can be refreshing to take a break from the constant stimuli of technology and artificial lighting.
How to Identify and Unplug Major Appliances
The first step is to take stock of which appliances and devices in your home use the most electricity. The major energy hogs are:
- Refrigerator – Unplugging this is tricky since food will spoil. Consider getting a small propane-powered fridge.
- Electric stove – Switch to cooking on a wood-burning stove or outdoor grill.
- Dishwasher – Hand washing dishes takes more time but saves lots of power.
- Clothes washer and dryer – Use a clothesline to air dry laundry instead.
- Television – Unplug TVs and gaming consoles. Entertain yourself without electronics.
- Lights – Switch out LED or fluorescent bulbs and rely on natural sunlight. Use candles or oil lamps at night.
Also be sure to unplug small appliances like microwaves, toasters, coffee makers and anything else that won’t be essential.
How to Live Without Electricity in Your Home
Once you’ve limited your major electricity usage, it’s time to adapt your lifestyle and daily habits to function without power. Here are some key tips:
- Cook from scratch over a fire or camp stove outside. Perishable foods like meat and dairy will be limited, so get familiar with dried, canned and preserved foods.
- Wash dishes by hand immediately after use to prevent bugs. Boil water on the stove to sanitize.
- Keep warm using wool blankets and thermal layers vs electric heaters. Close off rooms to insulate heat.
- Entertain yourself by reading, playing acoustic instruments, board games, writing, drawing, singing, dancing, birdwatching and other hobbies that don’t require electricity.
- Light homes using window placement, mirrors, and reflective surfaces to maximize natural light. Candles and oil lamps also help at night.
- Bathe by heating water on the stove and sponge bathing from a basin. You’ll use a lot less hot water this way.
- Stay cool by seeking shade during the hottest parts of the day. Open windows at night and use fans to circulate air. Evaporative coolers can also help.
It takes some adjustment, but becomes more natural over time. Enjoy reconnecting with simple living!
Challenges of Going Without Electricity and How to Address Them
While living without electricity can be rewarding, it also comes with some key challenges:
- No refrigeration – This makes storing fresh food difficult. Canning, smoking, curing, and pickling preserves food. Cooler root cellars also help.
- Limited lighting – Your days will align more closely with sunrise and sunset. Candles and oil lamps prevent total darkness.
- No climate control – Extra layers and blankets help in winter, while seeking shade and airflow is key in summer.
- Lack of access to information/entertainment – Books, board games and conversations become sources of entertainment. Stay up to date during monthly trips into town.
- Difficult housekeeping – Sweeping, mopping, laundry and cleaning take more time and effort without vacuums and machines. Staying tidy is important.
- Isolation – Consider partnering with like-minded families nearby for bartering and community. Plan trips to town to stay connected.
With some clever solutions and shifting expectations, the challenges fade. Many people find the benefits of living simply outweigh the struggle.
Tips for Easing the Transition to Life Without Electricity
If going completely off-grid seems too harsh, there are steps you can take to slowly unplug from modern life:
- Try a weekend unplugged now and then to test it out. Have a camp-out in your living room.
- Identify and unplug your most frivolous uses of electricity like TVs or computers you rarely use.
- Install solar panels or other renewable energy sources to produce your own electricity and run essentials like the fridge.
- Choose passive climate control like shade trees, awnings and operable windows to reduce reliance on heat and AC.
- Eliminate phantom loads by unplugging any devices that still draw current even when “off” like phone chargers.
- Line dry clothes, hand wash dishes, use cooler showers, cook from scratch and other small habit changes to cut back.
With some adjustments, it’s entirely possible to thrive with far less electricity than we’ve grown accustomed to using. Be creative and find the balance and lifestyle that suits your family. The less dependent we are on external systems, the more empowered, self-sufficient and free we become.