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3 Off-grid ways to save money on your electric bill

by J. D. Heyes, Natural News:

In our topsy-turvy world, it’s hard to predict from one week to the next what will happen. Political unrest at home and abroad, the potential for nuclear war and even a global economic collapse loom large on the horizon.

But while those macro-issues are certainly cause for concern, most people are just trying to live their lives, often struggling financially just to make ends meet. It does seem as though many of us are working longer and harder, but have less to show for it.

One of the biggest expenditures we dread each month is the electric bill. Like everything else, it keeps going up and no matter what we do to keep it under control, nothing seems to work. If we manage to cut some costs year-on-year, the next thing we know, the electric company gets permission to raise rates again.

It’s a never-ending cycle. (RELATED: Read Off-The-Grid Couple Creates A Life Without Bills, Builds Home For $30,000.)

The good news is, there are some ways to save big dollars on our monthly utility bills that actually won’t cost you anything to implement. Even better: Now that the warmer weather of spring is approaching, it will be easier for you to begin constructing these fascinating power alternatives.

If you’re leaning towards an off-the-grid existence altogether, these ideas and innovations will really help (h/t Off The Grid News):

— Compost hot water heating system: Regardless of who developed this system – an MIT professor or a backwoods farmer – it’s pretty ingenious. The crux of the system is winding a hose capable of withstanding higher temperatures through a compost pile, then routing it to the portion of your home where the shower is.

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1 comment to 3 Off-grid ways to save money on your electric bill

  • Craig Escaped Detroit

    This is awesome, not for the few ideas that it talks about, but for the idea of getting people to think about more ways to become self sufficient!

    The compost water heater, I’ve read several articles about such things, but not many people have enough compost or yard space (not to mention “code enforcement”) to be able to do this, but it’s still awesome information.

    I’m still amazed that you can buy solar panels at 30 cents per watt. A person could spend just a few thousand dollars and get enough equipment to install a “whole house solar system.

    The ROCKET STOVE articles have been QUICK, effective, and useful. If you look up ‘ rocket stove mass heater’… you’ll find out how to make a home heating system that also stores a bunch of heat.

    There are plenty of solar hot water heaters out there. And yes, you can make them yourself too.
    One simple thing, is to lay a hundred feet (or more) of dark colored garden hose in the sunshine and those first couple gallons coming out is dangerously hot.

    My washing machine is located out in my tool shed- fairly common in parts of the deep south, and my shed only has COLD water pipe, but I sometimes do the garden hose trick and attach it to the inlet of the washing machine, and by using a “Y” adapter, I can feed HOT water to BOTH inlets and have a HOT RINSE, hot wash, etc. (It’s a smaller sized FRONT LOADER and uses only about 5-7 gallons for the entire cycle!)

    Don’t forget, you can BAKE foods in a hand made SOLAR OVEN, you can even make it from a cardboard box, reflective foil (or potato chip bags that have the reflective interior), and a sheet of glass from an old window.

    You can garbage pick, old refrigerator, chest freezer, upright freezer, and use it to make a SOLAR powered FOOD dehydrator, or as a storage box for a solar hot water tank, etc.
    There are plans out there for it.

    My “manufactured home” (mobile home- 1986), was not a premium model, and so the windows are SINGLE PANE-aluminum frames. They transmit a lot of energy in the wrong directions on HOT days, or COLD winter nights. So until I can afford better windows (double pane & insulated frames), I spent $25 on a couple sheets of 3/4″ foam insulation board w/reflective foil surface, and I cut them into the exact size to lay up against the window (on the inside of the room). They rest on the window-sill, and have just about 1/8th inch of space around them. Don’t need anything to hold them in place.

    They block all the sunlight, but they also keep the hot days outside where it belongs, and keeps the WARM air inside during the winter. It makes a HUGE difference.
    Before I did this, my winters were a lot less cozy, and on the hot summer days, my a/c used to work a lot harder (higher bills).

    Yes, I slide them off the window-sill when ever they are not needed. I have a wonderful view of open wild yard and the little forest that surrounds my modest home.
    My foam board shutters, (for disaster preppers) also act as “black-out curtains”.
    If your grid power fails during the winter, these will help to hold every little bit of heat in your home while you survive without power during a cold snap.

    For people who pay outrageous water bills, there are tricks you can use to reduce your bills.
    How about collecting rain water, and with some plumbing tricks & electric water pump, you could use rain water to flush your toilets!

    Or you could make a well (often illegal in so many areas), using a “drive point” well, you can make a shallow well (don’t worry if it’s safe for drinking, because it’s for the toilet and the garden). For areas where you can actually find water at less than 30ft, this will work, AND you can install it from inside your home’s basement (nobody will see it), or from inside a tool shed or garage. (yes, you must cut thru the concrete floor), and then repatch around it.

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