We all want to save more money around the house and DiY projects are a great way to accomplish that goal. For example, if you know how to refurbish furniture, you can buy thrifted pieces, fix them up and either use them yourself or sell them for cash to reduce your home’s overhead. Sewing your own new clothes using older clothes’ fabric is another great way to save money. Growing your own veggies, making your own food from scratch, etc. It’s all great.
What about when you want to save on utilities, though? If you’re lucky enough to live in a deregulated market like Alberta, you can simply shop around for a less expensive rate by surfing sites like AlbertaEnergyProviders.com and calling local utility companies to try and renegotiate your deal. If your market is still regulated and there’s no competition you might feel like you’re stuck paying whatever rate they want to charge. Guess what: you don’t! You just have to get creative about saving power, water, etc. And, as a DiY-er, you have plenty of skills to help you accomplish this goal.
Here are some great DiY ideas for people who want to save money on their utility costs.
Low-Flo is the Way to Go
Installing low-flow shower heads, toilets, and faucets in your home is a fantastic way to reduce your home’s water consumption and can be done over the course of a weekend. You can buy the supplies you need at a local home improvement store for relatively low cost and then do the installation work yourself. Obviously, if you’re changing out your toilet, you’ll want to hire a plumber to help you but the showerheads and faucets are easy-peasy.
For even more savings, combine a military style shower with your low-flow showerhead.
Harvesting Grey Water
Don’t just let your shower and sink water run down the drain! Switch to an eco-friendly soap and save the grey water for use around your house and yard. Grey water can be used for many different projects (though it is not recommended for cooking).
In addition to the gray water you save in your sinks and tubs, you can also build your own rain collection system. The simplest way to collect rainwater, of course, is to simply put an open-mouthed receptacle out in your yard during a rainstorm. For better collection, though, you can install rain collection barrels on your gutter system. The cost for supplies is minimal and you can install the barrels yourself in about a day. Collecting rainwater, in addition to reducing your water consumption, also prevents landscape erosion and other problems.
Paint Your Roof
This is going to sound weird, but you should paint your roof white. White roofs or “cool roofs” have been used for eons in places like Greece to reduce the temperatures within a home. This is because cool roofs reflect the sun’s heat instead of absorbing it. Buy some highly reflective white paint and paint your roof! Alternatively, install reflective sheeting or switch out your standard shingles for reflective shingles.
Install New Lighting
Ditch the CFLs and use LEDs instead. LED lights are more expensive at the outset but save you more over the lifetime of the bulb. This is because they use a fraction of the energy that CFLs require and have a longer lifetime than CFL bulbs. Most of the lighting in your house can easily be traded for LEDs, as the switch is simply a matter of switching out a bulb. In some cases, like with track lighting or special fixtures the project might take up more time, but it’s worth it for the long term savings.
Seal Your Ductwork
While the number varies, experts say that as much as 30 percent of the heat pumped into a home via furnace duct work is lost through cracks around that same ductwork and machinery. Duct sealant is very affordable, one DiYer found some for $5 per can. Then get to work sealing up any cracks you find.
If you want to take this a step further, you should also look for other air leaks and seepages around your home. Look for cracks in weather stripping, seal up the gaps between pipes and outside walls, etc. In addition to helping you save money on your energy bills, you’ll have a better chance of keeping out pests like ants, mice, etc.
If you are a skilled carpenter or contractor, there are larger DiY projects you can do as well, like refurbishing your insulation, switching your windows out for more efficient models, etc. For the average DiY-er, though, it’s best to start with small projects like these and work your way up to larger improvements.