8 more ways to get some energy savings DIY style

Um, check this out. You can save even more money just by applying some thought to these 8 items. Added up over a year it’s not inconsequential, so come with me on a  journey to financial empowerment by plugging some of the leaks in your financial system!

1) Hustle your city’s time of use plan. Cost: $0.00.

Imaging that your local gas station gave out half price fuel for 4 hours a day. There would be a line around the block to fill up. If you’re electricity company has a time of use program, it’s a lot like getting to fill up your tank for half price. You crank down the AC or heat during the cheap times, storing up the heat or cool air, and then ride that wave for as long as you can before it needs heat or air conditioning to turn on again. A programmable thermostat is your best friend when it comes to this strategy.

2) Upgrade to LED lightbulbs. Cost: $20-ish

depending on how many bulbs you need. Remember when CFL bulbs (The curly ones that look like a pigs tail. Don’t act like you haven’t seen Charlotte’s Webb) first came out? No? Well one of the big selling points was that they use almost half the electricity of an incandescent bulb (The Benjamin Franklin kind). Well times have changed and now there are LED bulbs as well. These marvels of technology only use half the power of a CFL bulb and last almost forever. They don’t even get hot. For every one you change, depending on how much you use that particular light, you save about $18/yr. Ok, I know some of you are thinking ‘Yeah, but the light color always looks weird’. This is usually because of the color rating not the bulb. The spectrum ranges from roughly 1500k (Yellow or orange like a lounge singers house….or..well you get the idea.) to 5600K (White light like daylight). Just check this rating pick according to your personal taste. No offense to lounge singers. I’m sure your house’s are nicely lit. Pick the lights that you use the most first (Porch, dining room, Kitchen, your bedroom, bathroom, closet, etc.) and wait for the savings to roll in? Who couldn’t use a couple hundred dollars in savings every year?

3) Western shade tree. Cost: $45-$75 for a young tree.

This one works best if you already have and existing tree you can capitalize on. Let it grow out in the summer to shade your house and trim it back in the fall to let the light through. Don’t have a tree? Plant a quick growing variety for your region and place it so it will cast an appropriate shade canopy on the west side of your house. While you’re at it, why not make it a fruit tree and get some free super healthy food out of it. Don’t plant it too close though or you’re be nervous about it falling every time there’s a storm.

4) Low flow shower heads: Save $10-$20 a shower head. How many people do you have in your household? I’m assuming all of them use the shower? That’s good. I’ve got some great news for you then. You are going to save a decent chunk of change from this tip. A regular shower heads flows about 2.5 gallons per minute (GPM). If you were to replace your shower head with a 1.5 gpm unit you would save 1 gallon for every minute you’re in the shower. That’s about 30 gallons a day for a family of 3, assuming a 10 min shower each(I know some of you are laughing at that). That’s about 600 gallons per month if you shower 20 times a month. That’s also a decent amount of energy to heat 600 gallons of water. I’ve been using one for years and yes, there’s still enough pressure to get the shampoo out of your hair. While you’re at it, add on even more energy savings by picking a shower head that also……

5) Hot water automatic turn off shower head. Ever notice how the hot water takes a minute or two to get to the shower? I’m guessing you don’t just jump in, tough out the cold water, and wait for it to warm up? Neither do I. Like most people, I turn it on and find something else to do for a minute or 3, sometimes 5 while it warms up. Then I come back at check the temperature to reassure myself that I will not feel anything cold when I enter the shower, but during all that time, water was just running down the drain. If only there was a butler or something that could stand there and wait for the exact moment the water was the right temperature and then turn the water to a trickle. What’s that you say? There actually is such a device? I won’t need to hire a butler? Ok thank goodness. Here’s a link to this piece of water and money saving brilliance.

6) low flush toilets: Cost: free. Just adjust your existing flapper or use this hack instead (link to 2 liter soda bottle in tank). Viola! You just saved 20-50% less water on each flush depending on how far you adjusted it. If you find that it’s not flushing hard enough, just tune it back a little until you find the right balance.

7) Energy star dishwasher/fridge. Cost: Less that $200 on craigslist or you can buy a new one for 1000-2500. Something tells me you’re leaning toward the craigslist list one. If you’ve still got one of those yellowish 80’s or 90’s fridges, it might be time to upgrade to a newish model. The efficiency difference has really come a long way since back in the day. Just find your favorite friend with a truck, and start bribing. Don’t have a friend with a truck? I’ve found that some people are willing to deliver if you offer them an extra $20 or so.

8) End vampire Power Cost: $0.00. Ever notice how your cell phone charger has a tiny green light to let you know it’s on. What about that small area heater? What about your tablet? Coffee Maker? Computer power cable? TV? Basically, anything you see that is not turned on, but still has a light letting you know that it has power to it, is sucking a tiny amount of power. Over the course of a year, this is a less than tiny amount that comes out of your wallet. If you’d prefer to keep that money and, oh I don’t know, invest it, you might find you don’t mind flipping a tiny switch twice a day. Just put items like that on 1 or 2 power strips and viola, with the flip of a switch, no more vampire power drain!

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