If you’ve ever wondered what it was like living off the grid and decided to look up guides on how it is done you’ve quickly discovered that it takes a lot of dedicated long-term planning to pull it off. Self reliance can be a great thing, but before even starting the setup for self reliance on a property, a water survey can help you narrow down where to build things and ensure a good quality drought-resistant source of water for your off the grid living.

What is Self Reliant Off the Grid Living?

When most people think off grid living, they mostly consider generating their own power on the property to run everything in the home. True off gird living, however, would go much further, where you would also ensure you have your own reliable water source, have a way to heat your home, a method to deal with your sanitation needs, and possibly even grow your own food.

Building a Shelter

There are several options when it comes to building a shelter. Once you know a good source of underground water from a water survey, and where you can set up power and heat, then you can decide what kind of shelter you want to live in. So, you want to build a small log cabin? Full sized house? RV, or a yurt? The size of your shelter will decide the amount of electricity and heat you need to be generating.


There are a lot of options when it comes to heating a self reliant home. You could go with a more traditional option of wood heating, although you can kick that up a notch with a rocket stove, which produces heat much more efficiently. Geothermal is also a very popular option for self-reliant homes, running tubes of water deep underground that get heated up from the earth and come back up to circulate in your home (you’ll still need electricity to pump the water and power your fans).

Powering Off the Grid

The three most popular forms of off the grid power include solar, wind, and water. You could do any combination of them, or all three. If you have a good constant water stream or river on your property, then a hydro generator may be your best bet; however, it could be susceptible to drought. Do a water survey to locate the water table on your property so you can also drill a well. Wind will need just a good open place to put a turbine, and decent wind rates in the area. Solar will also need a decent open area, or at least the roof of your home. Both wind and water will need a good battery array to store power.

Safe Water Sources

A good water survey is important for living off the grid. You need to know where you can find a good quality and safe supply of water for your home, ideally a dug well. You also need to know where you can safely place septic tanks for human waste (you’ll need to get them emptied every few years), and pipe grey water to be reabsorbed into the ground that won’t affect your well water supply, or contaminate streams and rivers.

If you plan on self sufficient living off the grid, then one of the first steps is to get a full water survey. American Water Surveyors can help. Click here to learn more.