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Is Texas a Good State to Go Off the Grid?

Updated on July 8, 2015

Texas, the Lone Star state, has a reputation of being an independent, freedom loving state. So you would think that Texas would be a good state to go off the grid but do the facts live up to the reputation? Here are 13 categories that reveal if Texas is, in fact, a good state to go off the grid or if it's all just blowin smoke.

1. Weather:

Texas is a huge state and therefore the weather varies across the state. The Gulf Coast has a maritime climate whereas the inland climate is more continental. It is drier in the west and wetter along the eastern side of Texas.

Average high temperature is 93 to 96 degrees farenheit during the summer.

Average low temperature is 66 to 72 degrees farenheit during the winter.

Hurricanes and tornados are not uncommon.

2. Precipitation and Snowfall:

Average annual precipitation is 28.9 inches and ranks 34th when compared to other state's rainfall percentages.

Average annual snowfall is a little over 1 inch in Dallas.

3. Building Codes Alternative Housing Materials:

Cob housing and alternative housing is very popular in Texas. While each county will have it's own requirements and you should check and make sure that alternative housing is allowed in your county there are an awful lot of people who do build using these materials in Texas. Furthermore, currently, Arizona, California, Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, and Texas are the only states with local jurisdictions that have adopted straw bale building codes. So it would seem that alternative housing materials are accepted in Texas.

4. Cottage Businesses:

Texas allows cottage food operations that are direct to consumer only sales. The products must be non-potentially hazardous foods. There is no registration, permit or license required. There is a sales limit of $25,000 and labeling is required.

5. Homeschooling laws:

Texas is one of 11 states that require no state requirement for parents to initiate contact or give any notice to the state whatsoever that they are homeschooling their kids.

6. Rainwater Harvesting:

Texas actually encourages rainwater harvesting and has even passed a law protecting the right to do so!

7. Taxation:

  • The tax burden in Texas is very low.
  • Texas has a 6.25% sales tax although city and county officials have the option of increasing that to 8.25%.
  • Texas has no income tax.
  • Texas does not tax social security benefits
  • Property taxes are very high in Texas although they were lowered in exchange for increasing cigarette taxes and some business activities.
  • Texas does not have an inheritance tax or an estate tax.

8. Gay Marriage:

Same sex marriage is banned in Texas by law and by the Constitution but a Federal judge, appointed by President Clinton struck down the ban in February 2014, while nothing has happened yet it may only be a matter of time.

9. Gun Laws:

Permit to Purchase Rifles, Shotguns and Handguns: NO

Registration of Rifles, Shotguns and Handguns: NO

Licensing of Rifles, Shotguns and Handguns: NO

Permit to Carry Rifles and Shotguns NO, Permit to Carry Handguns: YES

Tenxas is ranked 15 out of 50 in the best state for gun owners poll (#1 being the best). 35.9% of Texas citizens own guns (I thought it would be higher than that).

10. Garden and Food Laws:

Raw milk is legal in Texas only through a retail store if the producer owns and operates the store. I could not find any regulations against having a garden in your front yard in Texas and I did find several articles that encouraged it.

11. Raising farm animals:

Farm animals can graze year round in Texas which can save a lot of money since you don't have to buy extra feed.

12. Property Prices:

Cost of Living
United States

Our cost of living indices are based on a US average of 100. An amount below 100 means Texas, TX is cheaper than the US average. A cost of living index above 100 means Texas, TX is more expensive.

Overall, Texas, TX cost of living is 90.30.

Median home values as of 2012 were $169,800, the national median is $135,900. The cost of living index for Missouri is 90, the national cost of living index is 100. In every area the cost of living is lower than the national average in Texas. However the homes in the Austin area sold for a median of $210,200 and in San Antonio, the median home price is $156,200.

Would You Go Off the Grid in Texas?

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13. Growing Season:

Most of Texas has a very long growing season. The southern parts of the state enjoy continuous year round gardening while the northern areas might have to deal with some winter weather.

Texas is the largest state other than Alaska. The pros to going off the grid in Texas are the high level of educational freedom as well as the low cost of living, however Texas has a high crime rate, high property taxes and is located in a hurricane zone. Also, water can be a problem in certain areas of Texas. I have mixed feelings about going off the grid in Texas. A lot of people have done it and there are definite benefits but there are also a lot of problems. While I don't think that Texas is the best place to go off the grid, it's not the worst (by far) either. Do you have any experience living a self-sustaining life in Texas? Tell me, maybe that will sway my view, but for now I would have to put Texas in the middle, not the worst but not the best until further notice.


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    • Brie Hoffman profile imageAUTHOR

      Brie Hoffman 

      3 years ago from Manhattan

      Great..little by little is a great plan.

    • gracenotes profile image


      3 years ago from North Texas

      I would agree. You have to have something like propane for backup, or a wood stove with automatic kick-in in very cold climates. That's what my cousin does, as she is off the grid.

      More recently (this year), I replaced all of my windows with thermal windows. That did make a difference in energy costs. I guess that's my contribution. Maybe next will be a radiant barrier.

    • Brie Hoffman profile imageAUTHOR

      Brie Hoffman 

      3 years ago from Manhattan

      No one should ever depend solely on one type of alternative's best to use all the methods available.

    • gracenotes profile image


      3 years ago from North Texas

      We're not the best place in the US for this, here in Texas. For one thing, there are states, or parts of states, that get more sunshine year-round, and are better for building passive solar homes.

      Right now, we have not seen the sun in the last 6 days. It happens sometimes.

      I had a former colleague at work who researched off-grid living years ago. He became something of a local expert, put solar panels on his house, and even loved to demonstrate solar ovens to people. But even he would tell you that the technology had its limitations, and it may have something to do with our unique situation here.

      Glenn Beck may be overly emotional or dramatic at times, but he lives around here (not too far from me), and he said recently on his radio program that, after outfitting his home in Westlake to use less energy from the grid, and getting some of the best contractors around to do the work, the results fell far shy of his expectations for solar power. He said he spoke to some very smart people in this area of sustainable living, and they told him he was trying to get ahead of the technology too much, and waiting would have been better. Lesson learned, I guess. There are always going to be the pioneers!

    • Brie Hoffman profile imageAUTHOR

      Brie Hoffman 

      4 years ago from Manhattan

      Thank you so much, I just wish google would show me the love ;)

    • brakel2 profile image

      Audrey Selig 

      4 years ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

      Hi Brie - Excellent article about Texas. It is my neighboring state, and has many advantages. I know that jobs pay well, and tourists love South Texas. After noticing other articles about off the grid, I believe you have good information and good research. Thanks for sharing, and I will share. Blessings. Audrey

    • Brie Hoffman profile imageAUTHOR

      Brie Hoffman 

      4 years ago from Manhattan

      Thanks You "grand old lady", I'm glad I could be of some help.

    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 

      4 years ago from Philippines

      Off the grid living sounds like a good way to go, and your information about Texas is very thorough for people who are interested in pursuing this option. Although I live in the Philippines, reading about the option of living off the grid is interesting, and your hub has give some very practical pointers for doing so.

    • Brie Hoffman profile imageAUTHOR

      Brie Hoffman 

      4 years ago from Manhattan

      Good to know. Thanks for providing the additional information about Texas, "Country-Sunshine".

    • Country-Sunshine profile image

      Country Sunshine 

      4 years ago from Texas

      I happen to have been born & raised in Texas. While I've lived a couple of other places, I always come back here. As for going off the grid: West Texas has become one big wind farm, and many of the power companies are being powered by wind. Many of us who live in the country have wells, and don't rely on city water. We grow our own food, raise our livestock, hunt for food (yes, I have guns!) and barter for a number of products and services. In our community, we believe in doing business with our neighbors instead of national / international corporations.

      On the other hand, Texas has many large cities, filled with people who wouldn't consider going off the grid. It can be really hot in the summer (over 100), but rarely does it stay below freezing for extended periods. Tax breaks are given to large corporations, which cause the average citizen's taxes to be higher.

      Like any other states, there are pros and cons. I'd live in Texas, even if I had to stay on the grid!

    • Brie Hoffman profile imageAUTHOR

      Brie Hoffman 

      4 years ago from Manhattan

      Thank you, "Marina7".

    • Marina7 profile image


      4 years ago from Clarksville TN

      Nice hub and well researched!!

    • Brie Hoffman profile imageAUTHOR

      Brie Hoffman 

      4 years ago from Manhattan

      Thanks "billybuc".

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I've never been there. Maybe some day, but honestly, there are a lot of states I want to see before Texas. :) Good information as always.


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