Off-the-grid cabin living or giving yourself a long road gap between you and urbanization can be a little challenging. Cutting yourself off and being stowed away in a cabin that’s sitting on a nice acre of land surrounded by trees and tireless singing birds is one the greatest way of living. However this can come with its own growing challenges.
If you’re going to be miles apart from the nearest petrol station or road-able terrain then you might as well have suited up for this kind of living. Water is life. But clean drinking water is essential for good living. Have you ever lived in a place where it is difficult to access clean water?
Did you feel all right? We’re sure it was more than just a bore. There was stress which turned out to be more than just your companion and so many limitations because water was inadequate or simply lacking. Inadequate clean drinking water or lack of it is one of challenges faced when living in a cabin, especially if your cabin sits hidden away from the rest of world.
Travelling miles every weekend to get clean water, or renting a big truck to fetch clean drinking water although are options, just aren’t great. Limiting the use of it either makes your cabin life more like cabin hell especially when you’ve a family to look after or have friends who come over every couple of weeks.
However, effective ways of getting clean water does exist, as the sources of water around you can be astonishing if you look hard enough, getting drinking water from rainwater, buying water from nearby city, digging a well, storing water from nearby streams and boreholes are the prominent and reliable options. However the best; is the conjunction of two; digging a well and installing a electric well pump. You can go further by installing a manual pump just in case electricity fails.
More details on them will be dived in and explained below.
How to Get Clean Drinking Water for Your Off-Grid Cabin
If you are going to turn yourself into an off-gridder cutting off yourself from the rest of the world, secluded in a hidden area, then you have to be prepared to live off public facilities.
This means you will no longer enjoy public facilities like electricity, waste management, water etc.
Getting affordable clean water is often a part of the few problems off-gridders face when they shroud themselves away from the buzzing energy of town and city living.
While this can seem like a mountain you’re thinking you can’t overcome, it can be easily solved. And there is no way you wouldn’t be here if you’re not looking for ways to get clean drinking water to your cabin. So cheer up.
Below are some amazing tips and suggestions:
Capturing, trapping or collecting rainwater is one of the various ways you can get clean drinking water to your off-grid cabin or homestead.
But this only works if you are tucked in some temperate areas where rain is very common. If that’s where you’re settled then brace yourself up because you are in luck.
Capturing rainwater is a one of the few great ways that will dampen down the crisis of a getting clean drinking water.
It is easy to get big water holding containers and lining them up just outside your off-grid cabin. But that would only waste your time and effort as you won’t capture much rainwater that way.
An effective and efficient approach is to collect them from the roof of your off-grid cabin. Collecting clean drinking water from the roof of your off grid cabin is the most effective way to get all that cascading water into a storage tank.
However, before doing this, you need to install gutters on your roof, to collect the run-off. Put gutter guards in place to protect your gutters. This will help improve the quality of the drinking water you collected and keep the gutters on your roof tidy.
Instead of guiding the rainwater all the way to the floor where you container is–as there is a high chance splashes can cause dirt to bounce into your open container–use downspouts, and pipings attached to their ends of these downspout to direct drinking water to your water containers.
The captured rainwater can be used for a number of purposes like drinking, washing, bathing etc. It is okay to use it to bathe and wash, however, you will need to have it properly filtered before drinking it due to debris, bacteria etc.
Purchase a rainwater barrel to filter the water directly from the gutters installed on your rooftop.
Some gallons like the Good Ideas RW 50-OAK Rain Wizard Rain Barrel 50 Gallon, on Amazon comes with an installed anti-debris system that helps to screen out debris and other impurities in the rainwater.
Connect a hose to the brass hose bibcock of the barrel that will transfer the water to a larger storage area with the use of a transfer pump.
But, if you can’t get a filtration system like the one we mentioned right off the bat, you can make a few barrels of your own. One filled with gravel, another filled with sand, and another with an active carbon filter. Let the rainwater run through this barrels in this order to get your clean drinking water ready.
Pay for City Water
If your off-grid cabin is secluded on an acre of land where the rains never bother to visit, but it’s not too far from your city water mains, then you might just be in luck.
Having clean drinking water delivered to you without having to count the next few months until the rains gather, or sit down every time to catch the next weather reports is a tad bit of a relief right?
Even though that’s not entirely “self-reliant”, it could be for the moment until you are able to cut the cord off city supplies.
Dig a Well
Been having that at the back of your mind? Well you are not wrong to think that.
Actually, digging a well is just about the best thing you can do for yourself as an off-gridder to get clean drinking water.
Its known that digging one will drain plenty of your savings, but it is perhaps the best way of saying: “finally I am on my own without any public aid.”
A well comes in handy if you’re sitting very far away from the city and the pouring rain is little or none.
A well gives you the luxury and flexibility to get clean drinking water on demand to your sink taps or faucet. This will make living in a cabin very enjoyable. At least, you or your family won’t have to line up water containers to collect rainwater.
If you are settled in a mountainous or rocky area, you may have to dig a well as deep as 200 ft to increase your chances of getting that gold under the ground.
Store Water from Springs and Streams
If your off-grid cabin is on a good spot where there is a spring or stream close by, then bang on. You are in standing on gold.
Water collected from this surface and ground water may not be the cleanest water you can find–how to purify this will be addressed later–they are however another great way to get clean drinking water for your cabin.
For most parts, water collected from streams or spring properties can be used to wash clothes, dishes, bathe–like rainwater. However, you may need to have them filtered a little more to have them drinkable. So how do you collect water and use from a stream or spring?
It’s not that hard. Basically what you need is a few hose pipes, an electric pump (submersible pump most preferably), a booster pump if needed and storage tanks (depending on how many you’re rooting for)
Dig a hole in the stream wide enough to fit a bucket where you can put in a submersible pump. This will pump the water to your storage tank. Make sure the tank is large enough to store large gallons of water.
You can have an extra tank uphill too. This works well with pressure. Since water runs well at good pressure when pumped from a considerable height.
A transfer pump will aid in moving the water from the lower tank to the one uphill. A big plus for having two tanks is that you have enough water to use overtime especially when the springs or stream dries up.
Install a Borehole
In some parts of the world, installing a borehole is the easiest way of getting water in the middle of nowhere. A wonderful geotechnical achievement
Water collected from boreholes is typically clean depending in the water table, depth of the borehole and structure of the aquifer (under water storage). Typically; the deeper it goes; the cleaner water you get.
Installing a borehole is quite expensive, but can be more reliable in terms of getting quality water when compared to the well and streams as sources.
The price differences between one another are also not too extravagant, so exploring this option is suggested. Ofcourse, you’d need a tank to complement and store water.
How to Generate Electricity for Capturing and Storing Water with Pumps
Alright, now we have an idea of how to source water; how about getting them to the cabin. That’s the main point, right?
Out of many, let’s look into the most comfortable ways of getting that done
Use Wind Energy
If you have decided to opt for a well–great choice by the way–then you must know pumping clean water out of wells requires an electric well pump–electricity.
If you have one already then it means you are all set to an amazing cabin life with on demand water. But, sometimes things can just happen out of the blue–we are just saying.
A power cut due to bad weather or just some random accident at the powerhouse means you may not be able to use your well without electricity unless you have a generator big enough to power a well pump.
Having a backup plan in one of these awful cases is good. And one of them is owning a wind powered system that can generate electricity for you.
If you live in a flat area wind power is a good backup option.
Use Solar-Powered Systems
Okay, let’s say you are not living in a wide area and you are already considering buying or installing a wind power system. Scratch that. Change of plans. Your area is nowhere near flat.
Well, it doesn’t matter.
With solar powered system already dominating other forms of renewable and non-renewable energy, who needs wind power. Just kidding on that last word.
As long as the sun keeps shining which it will, you can never run out of solar energy or power. This translates to constant clean water all year round.
Use Fuel-Powered Generators
A common choice to most off- gridders; it has a right balance between cost and serviceability as it also serves as an alternative source of stable electricity to the cabin. It is dispatchable, easily replaceable but requires constant refueling on like the others mentioned in this article.
The generator can be used to power the suction and transfer of water from its source to the storage tank and is not affected by climate as the others are.
Get a Hand Pump
A very old school conventional way of pumping water, it doesn’t go with the context of this category but having a purely manual backup against the rest is healthy for any process and anything. Installing a simple solar plant or wind plant that can serve your entire cabin, especially your well can be expensive.
If that’s the case and you are looking for something to rely on until you can do something about backing up your electricity in case of an emergency hand pumps are also efficient.
Yes hand pump may be old-fashioned but they still work. Some come with an instruction manual on how to fit them to an electric well pump.
Simple and Effective Off-Grid Water Filtration: 3 Techniques
Sourcing for clean drinking water when staying in an off-grid cabin can be a little challenging but if you use any of those tips and suggestions we mentioned, you can give yourself a great head start.
Just make sure to apply any of these effective filtration techniques to avoid falling sick because of contaminants or bacteria.
Boiling the water from your well, streams, or springs, or rainwater containers is a remarkable way of purifying your water for drinking.
Boiling may kill the germs and viruses in the water, but it won’t filter out the debris or settled particles. Pass the boiled water through a strainer. Then, use a carbon filter to remove any other tiny particles.
The drawback about boiling is that you will have to wait until the drinking water get cold before you can drink it.
Apply small amounts of chlorine to you water before drinking it will make it safer and cleaner.
But, adding chlorine to your drinking water will however leave a faint taste of chlorine in the water. Studies may have shown chlorine to be possibly harmful.
However, it’s an option we once explored, gave no harm but we suggest you reduce the in-take to least quantity.
3. Water Filtration System
Water filtration systems are perhaps the best way to purify your drinking water when living in an off-grid cabin. Apart from destroying viruses and bacteria completely, they keep essential minerals that are needed for your development.
They are very handy and useful. On the back of that, they are very effective and highly recommended by health experts if you’re secluded and disconnected from your city’s water system.
You never know what is swimming in your water even if your electric pump has got a filter in place to stop them which is why they are a must-have as an off-gridder.
In conclusion, there are varieties of way to get clean drinking water to your off-grid cabin.
Deciding factors like the kind of terrain, climate should be on your consideration list.
A good and reliable filtration system should also be in place to help screen bacteria, viruses and metals that ordinarily escape the filters in electric well pumps and traditional filtration systems.
If in the end you can afford to transport drinking water to your off-grid cabin and the bite of spending excessively won’t hurt a bit, by all means do.