Prepper friendly states: Is going off the grid legal where you live?
11/04/2019 // Grace Olson // Views

Some preppers want to live off the grid, but they often forget one important thing: paperwork. Going off the grid requires you to read laws, submit permits, and process all the relevant documents related to utilities you'll need. If you want to try living off the grid in your state, you have to start reading on local and state policies. (h/t to

Rules and regulations – things to look out for

Living off the grid is not outright illegal in any of the states. However, there are laws and regulations that vary in each, which can be advantageous for preppers.

Before tackling the laws, you need to have a basic idea of what to look out for. Aside from off-grid laws, consider the things below:

  • Population – For most preppers, the fewer people there are, the better. Stay away from the cities and other urban areas. (Related: The top 5 prepper-friendly states: Factors to consider before going off grid.)
  • Weather and climate – You need alternative energy sources to break off the main power lines. This includes solar energy, generators, etc. If an area is windy, you can set up wind turbines. You also need to consider the weather conditions for your crops. It's best to live in an area with a long growing season.
  • Water availability – Aside from drinking water, you need to ensure that there’s enough water for everyday use. Consider water needs for gardens and livestock as well.
  • Crime rate – Overall, it’s simply better to choose areas with low crime rates. Still, crime happens everywhere. Learn self-defense and appropriate weapon use just in case.
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  • Background check – Make sure to go to the local government office first and gather information on the property. It might have been a hazardous waste dump in the past, or there may be plans to make a road across it. While you’re there, take the time and ask about local homesteading policies.

These are the basic items to consider when choosing a place to live off the grid. Once these are covered, it’s time to deal with the paperwork. Make sure to consider the following when choosing a place to live off the grid:

Sewage disposal

Sewage disposal is the biggest obstacle when it comes to off-grid living. The health department has strict rules on plumbing, putting up septic tanks, and the disposal of raw sewage. U.S. building codes often require that flush toilets be connected to a septic or sewage system approved by the government.

There are also other specific rules that vary per state, county, and municipality, like rules on using compost toilets. Make sure to check the lengthy guidelines on their websites.

Rainwater collection

Most states allow residents to collect rainwater on their private properties. Some states, like Hawaii and Alaska, even encourage their residents to collect.

However, setting up a rainwater barrel collection system is a different story. Building one may require you to secure a permit first, depending on the ordinances of the state and local area.

Alternative energy sources

Some preppers are generating their energy by investing in solar power, wind turbines, and hydropower.

Solar panels have become a lot cheaper since 2008, and more and more Americans have installed them since then. However, not all states allow their installation or more oftentimes, require a permit. Some states, like Nevada, require a fixed fee for using solar energy.

If you plan to use wind power as a primary energy source, you need a large wind turbine. Building such an infrastructure requires you to check with local officials first. You can also build smaller, DIY wind turbines at home. They don’t generate a lot of electricity, but can be useful in times of emergency.

Hydropower, like wind turbines, is highly dependent on location. You need to be near a water source, like a river or a stream. Make sure to check federal and state regulations first because some areas prohibit them.

There are a lot of considerations to make if you want to live off-grid, but it’s not impossible. Make sure to read up on state and local policies to find the right property for you. Learn more about the states that are ideal for off-grid living at

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