Every home requires steps to be taken to prepare for the harsh realities of winter. For off-grid dwellers, preparation begins long before the first snowflakes start to fall.


Generators and Battery Banks

Most generators get their heaviest use in the colder months. Despite inactivity in the summer and fall, it is a good idea to pull the generator out and start it up at least once per month. Conduct a thorough investigation in early fall to check connections and other components for wear and disrepair.

Batteries need attention, too. Refill low batteries with distilled water and make sure they are still in good working order.


Water Lines and Tanks

Closer to wintertime, double-check water lines and outdoor fixtures for potential leaks and signs of overuse. Any water line exposed to the elements should be insulated before temperatures dip below freezing.

At the first sign of freezing temperatures, ensure all uninsulated outdoor fixtures are turned off, and excess water is drained to prevent burst pipes. Turn off the water supply to unheated structures.


Wood Supplies

Check the woodshed or whatever structure stores wood for heat in the winter. Make any needed roof repairs to ensure that the woodpile stays dry. Wood should be stacked neatly and stored off of the ground.

If firewood is the primary heat source, begin storing the wood months before it is needed. Wood burns more efficiently when it is allowed to age and dry. It is also a good idea to have a plentiful supply of timber already split to avoid splitting wood in freezing temperatures.


Around the House

Take a hard look outside the home for any vulnerabilities. Be sure solar panels are cleared of leaves and debris. Check doors and windows for air leaks and gaps around the frame.

Depending on how far out the home is located, make sure roadways and paths are clear of brush and other obstacles before the first snow hits. Check any snow removal equipment and repair or replace it before the snow comes.

Check that outdoor livestock areas are safe from harsh winds and winter weather. Double-check that water tank heaters and indoor heat sources work before freezing temperatures come.

Off-grid living has its challenges. Preparation before the extreme weather conditions hit ensures a worry-free winter.

John Shramko