Off-grid homeowners relish their independence from traditional energy providers and high utility bills. Having freedom over your power usage lets you experiment with renewables and decide which ones work best. It's still advisable to be mindful of how much electricity you consume, though. If your rates run too high, you could run out of energy and end up in the dark.
You may have battery storage and backup generators at the ready, but there are more options for managing your energy consumption. That way, you can enjoy your off-grid lifestyle without worrying about losing power.
1. Do Chores the Old-Fashioned Way
Reduce your electricity consumption through tried-and-true methods. Handwash your clothes and air-dry them instead of using laundry machines. Give the dishwasher a rest and clean the dishes in the sink a few nights a week. Whip up homecooked meals on the stove instead of using the microwave for instant foods. If you spill crumbs on the floor, pull out your dustpan and broom rather than running the vacuum.
You don't have to do these things every time you have household tasks, but a few times a month could make a significant difference in how much electricity you use.
2. Try Efficient Lighting Solutions
LED lights are miles beyond incandescents when it comes to lighting abilities and lifespans. Replacing your current bulbs will decrease the amount of lost heat and illuminate your space more efficiently. Some farmers even use these lightbulbs to help them grow crops, which can improve growth rates for your garden. You could produce plants all year long instead of waiting out the winter months.
You'll spend less money on buying replacements for blown-out lights, and you can control the brightness with preprogrammed dimming capabilities. It's a win for aesthetics, the environment and your wallet.
3. Utilize Natural Heating
Opening the windows and letting the sun in is the easiest way to warm up a room. Check the windows and doors for drafts and plug any gaps. Proper insulation is also key to keeping a comfortable home. Fixing these problem areas enables you to make the most of natural heating solutions.
If you have a fireplace, use it instead of the HVAC. Always close the flue when it isn't in use — this prevents air from escaping. This vent is much like a window or door. It brings cold air in and lets hot air out, which makes your HVAC unit work harder and consume more power.
4. Install a Solar Water Heater
A solar water heater allows you to wash clothes, take showers and cook meals with much less power consumption. They generate electricity through sunlight, which they use to heat water and transport it throughout your house. These units can be expensive to install, but the added efficiency is worth the cost. Using a sun-powered heater can cause on-grid users' energy bills to fall by 50% to 80%. You can assume the gains for off-grid homeowners are equally attractive.
5. Unplug Unused Devices
You may have a habit of leaving things plugged in when you're not using them. You're not alone — millions do it every day. Though you may not think about it, these appliances still use electricity when they're off. This phantom energy contributes to your overall power usage and depletes your battery stores faster.
Turn off lights and appliances when you leave the room, and remember to unplug them. Setting a timer lets you do so without having to remember it each night.
6. Buy DC Converters and Appliances
DC appliances don't need to use inverters, meaning they use less energy than AC ones. Inverters produce AC power continuously and use a lot of watts to do so, which increases your electricity consumption. Each inversion results in a small energy loss, adding up to major inefficiencies. By using DC-powered devices, you'll require fewer watts and receive a fuller breadth of electricity.
Revamp How You Use Power
Consuming less power is great for the environment — and clean energy is even better. You'll do yourself and the planet a favor by managing your electricity usage. Off-grid living can be a breeze with the right tools and knowledge.