Can You Live Off the Grid in California? (Find out now!)

Can You Live Off the Grid in California
Can You Live Off the Grid in California? –

Are you thinking of adopting an off the grid lifestyle in California? Finally ready to cut the cord with the convenience that technology offers and start living a simpler life closer to nature? Living off the grid is a bold move that shouldn’t be taken without adequate preparation. It’s crucial to know what to expect and how to make the shift.

Living off the grid in California is a definite possibility, but it’s not for the faint of heart. Nonetheless, it comes with a plethora of benefits. From self-sufficiency and savings to environmental sustainability, the pros of living off the grid outweigh the cons.

But how exactly do you take this bold step? Do you give up your current comfortable lifestyle and move to a remote house? Not exactly. With adequate preparation, it can be a smooth transition. We’ve provided a comprehensive guide and tips to help you make an effortless transition. Let’s dive right in.

Also see: Where Can You Live Off-Grid in Texas? 5 Great Locations

Is Off the Grid Living Illegal in California?

Before you pack up and leave for an off the grid home, it’s crucial to know if you’re breaking any rules. Living off the grid in California isn’t illegal. The problem is staying within country regulations. Many people who’ve decided to live an off the grid lifestyle have faced challenges with the county government on the grounds that they’re violating restrictions.

Take Jacques Dupuis for instance. When he started living off the grid in California, he set up a water tank that was deemed fit and in line with county regulations. Later, he was forced to leave his home because the same tank was no longer considered code conforming. Jacques and his wife had to spend their life savings to relocate due to this.

There are also instances where individuals have been forced to plug into county utilities because their sources of energy and lighting are considered a fire hazard. Therefore, it’s essential to know some of the challenges you may face when you start living this kind of lifestyle. What’s more, ensure everything you do in your home is code conforming lest you’re forced to move out.

Also see: Is Off The Grid Living Dangerous? Here’s What You Should Know

Adopting an Off the Grid Lifestyle in California

You’ve weighed your options and an off the grid lifestyle seems like the best next move for you and your family. How do you make it happen?

There are several things you can do to make the transition smooth and comfortable. Consider the following tips.

Install Solar Panels

Solar panels have made living off the grid a possibility for numerous people worldwide. With solar panels, you can power your home with energy from the sun and stop relying on power companies completely.

Besides, solar energy allows you to test the off-the-grid waters because it doesn’t affect your lifestyle too much. You can do everything you’re currently doing at a far lesser price compared to dealing with electricity companies.

Another advantage of using solar energy is the fact that you only have to deal with the initial cost. Once the panels are up, there’s no cost of running them because the energy comes directly from the sun. Talk about affordable living! However, you’ll only enjoy this benefit if you buy your own panels instead of leasing them.

Can You Live Off the Grid in California
Can You Live Off the Grid in California? –

Purchase Remote Land

If you’re planning to pull the plug and start living off the grid, you should consider moving away from the city if you’re currently living in one. You see, it may be a challenge to adopt this lifestyle if you’re living in rental apartments or in areas where you must be connected to the county’s utilities.

A better and more affordable approach would be to purchase land in a remote area. There are several benefits to doing so. These include:

  • Land is cheaper away from the city. Therefore, you’re in a better position to purchase a big piece of land.
  • You’re better positioned to set up the different systems you need to live completely off the grid.
  • You’re less likely to run into regulation challenges when you’re not interfering with others’ lifestyles or posing a danger to them.

Live Off the Land

As we mentioned, living off the grid is no easy feat. One of the challenges you’ll face is getting access to food, especially if you’re living in a remote area. Therefore, it’s advisable to consider growing your own food and rearing livestock.

With accessible food and dairy and meat products from your livestock, you should have an easy time living in a remote area. However, to pull this off, you’ll need adequate space for the animals and your food garden.

If you’re on a tight budget, it may help to scout different remote areas in California and compare prices before parting with your money. By doing so, you improve your chances of getting a favorable deal.

Set Up Rainwater Collection Points

Living off the grid also means you’ll be pulling the plug from the country’s water supply. Therefore, you need a smart way to generate water. The best way to do this is to set up rainwater collection points on your property. This can be challenging in California considering the limited rainfall, but it’s not impossible.

To set up:

  • Ensure your roof has a gutter that can easily collect rainwater.
  • Set up a water tank in the shape of a barrel just below the gutter where the water will fall from. Ensure the tank is big enough because you need the water to last until the next rainy season.
  • Set up a filtration system between the gutter and the water tank. This way, the water gets into the tank clean and ready to use.

You’ll have to use the water responsibly to ensure you have enough for the days when you need it the most.

Build Composting Toilets

Due to the shortage of water and the need to conserve what you have, flushing toilets are not a great option when you’re living off the grid. You need something more convenient.

Composting toilets are great for off the grid living. These toilets don’t require a waste-holding tank, and you have the option of building one that requires zero water.

Can You Live Off the Grid in California
Can You Live Off the Grid in California? –

Downsize Your Shelter

Off the grid living is all about maximum efficiency. More space to heat and cool means you’ll still be spending a lot on such utilities. If you currently have a lot of space you’re barely using but still need to maintain and keep in tip-top condition, consider downsizing.

Tiny homes are fast becoming the go-to for most people thinking about pulling the plug and living off the grid. However, weigh your options and consider if it’s the right move for you depending on your circumstances.

For instance, if you have a big family, a tiny home may not be the best option since you need more space for everyone to feel comfortable. Check this beginner’s guide.

What to read next:

Are You Ready to Pull the Plug?

As you can see, there’s more to living off the grid than pulling the plug on your utilities. You should prepare adequately to make it a smooth transition. The good news is that it’s legal and possible to live off the grid in California. However, don’t expect it to be without challenges. Regulations change from year to year.

What may be acceptable when you start living off the grid may be the reason the country’s government is at your throat a few years later. Therefore, weigh the pros and cons and decide if it’s a move worth taking.


Hello friends, I am Altiné. I am SO excited you are here! I am the person behind Off The Grid Planet. Off The Grid Planet is about off-grid living, homesteading, and self-sufficiency: learning self-reliance, sustainable homes, gardening, survival, preparedness, and renewable energy and inspire you to live a simple life. I do my best to bring you the most correct, up-to-date, and comprehensive information on these topics.

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