Tag Archives: energy conservation

Using a Portable Charger to Save Money

I purchased a portable charger battery off of Amazon recently.  The reason for my purchase was to have a back up charger for my smartphone when travelling, playing golf or on a day of hiking. It has also proved handy during a power outage we recently had. Then it dawned on me that I can use this battery to save money and here is how.

Using a Portable Charger to Save Money

What do people who power their house with solar energy do? They charge batteries during the day to build power banks for later use. The same thing can be done with portable chargers and I have been doing this.

I live in an area that has time of use energy charges. The on peak hour rate is quite high compared to the off peak hourly rate.  Why charge my electronics during this high rate time if I don’t have to. Game controllers, tablets and phones all require daily or charging every other day.

I charge my portable charger in a few ways. I charge it over night when the rates are lower, I take it to work with me and charge it during the day or I charge it with my car when I am driving. I don’t feel bad about charging it at work because I do use it for charging work related electronics when working remotely or on the road.

Either way I charge the battery as cheap as possible and then use it to recharge my gadgets when they require it during the expensive hours. I realize this is not a major savings and that you have to buy the charger. Every bit counts and you can get a pretty inexpensive power bank on Amazon.

This is one that I am currently using to charge my electronics and gadgets. It’s small enough to pack away for travelling and it easily holds enough charge to keep you up and running and it’s pretty inexpensive.

Anker PowerCore+ mini, 3350mAh Lipstick-Sized Portable Charger

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DIY Storm Window Projects Saves Money

One sure fire way to save money on your energy and heating bill is through the addition for storm windows. Leaky windows let the cold air in during the winter months and let the hot air in during the summer. Either way you are just throwing your money out the window with your heating and cooling bill. That is why I decided to try a DIY storm window project to help save money on my heating bill.

A couple of notes on this project. I am not very handy at all. It really looks like a bigger project than it really is. Trust me. You just need a couple of tools like a miter saw, square, measuring tape and drill. Pretty basic stuff. Most instructions I found on-line involve using plexi glass, this method uses shrink wrap and is easy to build.

I estimate that each window probably cost around $30 at a maximum to make. To save money I bought a bulk package of the plastic shrink wrap as I was making a few windows and you can save by buying larger pieces of wood and cutting them yourself into the fitted pieces. The more expensive item was the weather stripping which you shouldn’t cheap on but I will talk about that in a bit.

Finally this is by no means my creation. I just basically followed a five part youtube series which was easy to follow and easy to reproduce. I will link the series after I go over my process a bit.

The process basically involves building a wooden frame, adding shrink wrap to each side of the frame, using the blow drier to tighten it, tape down the edges and add weather stripping.

Here’s the finished project fitting nice and snug in my basement window. This window is warm and dry. No leaks and no condensation on the window at all.

Here is a photo showing the open cell weather stripping. I used the foamy type that can squeeze in order to fit. I tried the closed cell type and there is no play on it meaning you have to be exact in your measurements.

Here is the link to the start of the series on Making Storm Windows. It is a five part series of instruction and you can find each link to the next video in the index. Follow along it’s really easy.

A couple of tips:
1. The double sized tape will pull and maybe pull off the wood frame a little. Just make sure you use a packing tape on tape down the frame where the double sized tape it. He goes over taping the corners down. I tape the entire frame down.

2. Leave yourself lots of overlap when cutting and applying the plastic wrap as it pull and shrinks. If you don’t it will pull and shrink right off of your frame.

3. When he says to drop an inch on each side so your window fits, do it. You will be filling any gaps with the weather stripping and you want to make sure it fits. I put my frame together and tested it to make sure it fits loosely before adding the wrap.

4. He uses a dowel to put the frame together. Too much for me. I used Gorilla glue and then a nail gun and let it sit for a couple of hours for the glue to dry. This was easier for me. I also pre-drilled holes used a small screw on one of my windows.

Have fun saving money on your heating bill. My basement has never been warmer and drier. Before putting these windows up I would get ice on my windows. Not any more.

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Quick Tips to Save On Your Winter Energy Bill

Of course we all want to lower our energy bills this winter. It’s not a hard thing to do but take a little bit of elbow grease but with a bit of effort your can lower your winter energy bill.  Follow these steps to save money on your energy and heating bills this winter.

Quick Tips to Save On Your Winter Energy Bill

    • Turn down the thermostat at night or when you’re not home.
    • Add a programmable thermostat to control the temperature for home and away times. Check with your energy company, some offer them for free to help you save energy.
    •  Open blinds and curtains in the day to let the sun heat your home and close them at night to keep the warm air in and cold air out.
    • Lower the temperature on your hot water heater to 120 degrees. We are on a plan that lets the Utility company control our water heater and it saves us money.
    • Consider buying and insulation wrap for your water heater. They are relatively inexpensive and easy to put on.
    • Clean your furnace filter monthly, we just vacuum ours out and replace it annually.
    • Check your outer doors to see if you can see light coming through, if so add weather stripping.
    • Consider buying a plastic shrink wrap kit to cover breezy windows or patio doors.

These are just a few quick tips that will help your save money on your winter energy bill. They are for the most part inexpensive to do and you will see results on your heating and hydro bill. On the reverse they will also help you with your air conditioning bill during the summer months.

Room Thermostat

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Insulated Electrical Outlets Save Energy

One thing people notice when they enter my house is that all of my electrical outlets on the outside walls have safety plug covers in them. They find them odd because we do not have any small children so they ask why do I use them?

It’s simple, energy conservation to save money on my electric and heating bill.  Older houses were not built with the same kind of conservation in mind as they do today. You will often find that you can feel quite a breeze coming through the outlets of your outside walls. Try it and see if you can feel cold air coming through. If so then you are wasting heat in the winter and wasting cool air if you have air conditioning in the summer. There are two things you can do which are easy to install and fairly cheap to purchase.

The first is the safety plug covers.  They stop the cold or warm air from entering your house when you don’t want it to. They are a simple and cheap way to save on your heat and hydro bill. I just checked and you can get a 12 pack on Amazon for under $1.  Mommy’s Helper Outlet Plugs 12 Pack

The next is to add foam gasket insulators to all of your outlets. They are simple to install. You just take off the cover plate and add the gasket to the outlet and put the plate cover back on. In a matter of seconds you are on your way to stopping drafts from entering your home.

You can see the open  space from the photo below which illustrates how cold or warm air could be penetrating your home.

electrical outlet photo

Photo by Sery Content Development

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Easy Energy Saving Tips

Our energy company recently sent us a little gadget that monitors our electricity use in real time. It shows you spikes when certain appliances are in use and not in use. It was certainly telling to me how the spikes rose when my refrigerator and air conditioning were kicking in. In light of this I present a couple of easy energy saving tips that may save you money as far as your air conditioner and refrigerator are involved.

Easy Energy Saving Tips – Air Conditioner

1. You have to have the right air conditioning unit for the size of space you are trying to cool. If you have too large a unit for your space then you may be wasting electricity.

2. Make sure any appliance you purchase has an energy wise or energy efficient sticker and rating. Most newer items you purchase these days will have an energy star rating which adds up to savings. You might want to consider replacing that old unit.

3. Make sure you regularly clean the filter. A clean filter will mean that your unit doesn’t have to work as hard pushing air through.

4. Use a timer. If you have a standalone unit you can purchase an inexpensive timer from any hardware store. I use one that over 20 on/off times and it was less than $15 to buy.

5. Placement. Make sure your air conditioner is in an open spot where it can easily cool your areas and keep it away from other warm appliances like lamps or entertainment units. They may confuse the unit into thinking the room is hotter than it actually is.

Easy Energy Saving Tips – Refrigerator

1. Do not overstuff your refrigerator. The air needs to circulate to work properly. Overstuffing will make it work harder to keep things cool. Conversely, you should overstuff your freezer. If you have frost building up on the sides you should defrost it and then stuff it. I put a pillow or old blanket in my freezer.

2. It may sound simple but leave your food out to cool before you put it in the fridge. You wouldn’t put a heater in your fridge so why put hot food.

3. Keep your fridge away from any walls or obstructions. They need air to circulate behind them to operate efficiently. It can get warm behind a fridge and you don’t want the heat to build up, it will make your compressor work harder.

4. Clean and dust out underneath your fridge and around the compressor area. Just make sure you have the fridge unplugged.

These are a couple of easy energy saving tips that require little or no work at all but will save you money.

Image by jurek d.

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