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How to Maintain Off the Grid Living

Power - by Joe Weber - updated on 8/21/2023

A person carrying a solar panel toward a house

We've all heard someone say they want to "live off the grid". Whether it's to save on utilities, peace of mind during power outages or to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life. But what does it really mean to live off the grid? How do you maintain your equipment so you can continue to live off the land? First, let's answer the most important question revolving around this topic.

What Does Off the Grid Even Mean?

When most people think of "living off the grid", we picture a person living in a tiny cabin in the woods with a wood-burning stove, no electricity, and completely living off the land. No communication with the outside world, just living alone in the wilderness.

In reality, living off the grid can mean so much more, or less, than that example with many levels and extremes to choose from. Yes, you can go to the extreme and cut yourself off from the world, but most of us just want to save money on our utility bills by switching to solar power to not have to use the utility grid or to have a little peace of mind during power outages with a home backup battery.

How Can I Take My Home Off the Grid?

The most common way that people use to take their homes off the grid is with the addition of solar panels on their roofs to collect energy from the sun.

How Do Solar Panels Work?

Speaking very basically, here are the main points.

  1. The solar panels are mounted on the roof with a clear view of the sky.
  2. Solar panels absorb energy from the sun.
  3. The energy collected from the sun runs through an inverter to convert the direct current (DC) electricity to alternating current (AV) electricity to be used in your home.
  4. The converted electricity can then power your home.
  5. Any energy that is collected from the panels that is not used in your home is then sent back out to the utility grid for others to use.
  6. The ideal solar power setup will include batteries to store excess electricity collected. With batteries, you will be able to save the energy collected to use for yourself, instead of sending it back out to the grid.

How Do I Keep My Solar Batteries Healthy?

Solar energy storage batteries are extremely useful, but you do need to keep eyes on them to make sure that they are in good working order. To keep these batteries in good working condition, there are a few things you should do to maintain them, depending on the type of battery you are using.

Flooded Lead-Acid

  1. Periodically clean corrosion and grime off of the terminals and connectors using a terminal cleaning kit or a mixture of baking soda and water with a wire brush.
  2. Some flooded lead-acid batteries will occasionally need to have distilled water added to the cells to maintain healthy operation.
  3. This is more for personal safety than anything but flooded lead-acid batteries must be stored in a well-ventilated area.


  1. Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) batteries are touted as being "maintenance-free", and while it is true that you do not have to add water like some older flooded batteries, it is still a good idea to clean any corrosion periodically.


  1. The main risk with LiFePO4 batteries is freezing. Make sure that you have your batteries stored in a temperature-controlled area to make sure they don't get below freezing.

What Do I Do When It's Cold Outside?

Special care does need to be taken with all types of solar energy storage batteries in the winter months. In "How To Keep Solar Batteries Warm in Winter and Solar Batteries 101" we'll walk you through the proper ways to keep your batteries warm and healthy during the winter along with some extra maintenance tips.

Are There Other Ways to Move Off the Grid If You Don't Want to Go All Out?

Yes! Many people just want to have a little extra peace of mind when the power goes out during a storm or natural disaster. You don't need to add an entire solar array to your home for this. This can be as simple as adding a high-quality Champion generator to your home to power necessary home appliances in an emergency.

Now if you don't want the noise of a generator or the need to always have spare gas around, the Goal Zero line of Yeti Power Stations will have something for everyone. Silent, safe and easily transportable, these power stations can be small enough to provide power for your electronic devices or big enough to power your home's most important circuits during weather emergencies or other natural disasters.

Shop online or stop into your local Batteries Plus store today to see all we have to offer to help you move your home off the grid. Whether you're looking to completely disconnect from the utility grid or add a home backup battery, we are here to help.

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