We’re always being bombarded with sales pitches that say “Save 40% on your energy bills!” or “Cut your electric bill in half!” Consumers are frequently misled and confused by the various gizmos designed to save energy in the home. Consumer advocates warn homeowners to look out for products that don’t live up to the hype. Watch out for transient voltage surge protectors, black box devices for appliances, power factor correction devices, insulated paints, power-filtering devices and other energy conserving devices that promise hard-to-believe guarantees. Yet despite all the frauds out there, a number of legitimate devices are being widely used for saving energy in the home.
Since heating and cooling system expenses count for the largest portion of your overall home energy consumption, we’ll first look at this realm of home energy saving devices. Programmable thermostats allow homeowners to set specific room temperatures for certain times of the day, without needing to manually adjust the dial. For instance, many people program their thermostats to turn down at night or while they’re at work and not using the heat. They can also program the heat to automatically turn back up just before they come home at night.
For the forgetful, there are also remote control heating systems that let you change the temperature even after you leave home. With a quick phone call, you can change the temperature of your home. Centralized heating and cooling also helps households with individual thermostats to maintain better consistency.
Another way to save energy is with water heating system devices. Reducing water consumption will also save on electricity. For instance, a low-flow showerhead can save up to 40% of your water consumption, thus taking the burden off your heating system. Similarly, a multi-setting showerhead (with pulse, spray, pause, turbo pulse, etc.) can save water. A water saving toilet lets homeowners save up to 25% of their water consumption. Energy experts say you’ll see the energy savings from these devices after they pay for themselves within the first few months.
Solar battery chargers are great devices to save energy using off-grid power. For instance, the “solar egg” can reach over a 90% charge in just four hours of sun, which can be used to power up mobile phones, computers, digital cameras and other electronics. Not only can these save you money on your energy bills at home, but they can also be extremely helpful when you need power outdoors, far from electrical outlets, and they produce no pollutants to boot! The Voltaic Systems Solar Backpack is another amazing invention. One hour of sunlight will charge your phone long enough for you to make a few calls. However, a full 10-hour charge can provide up to 55 hours of stored energy! With several different adapters, you can easily plug in your MP3 player, computer, cell phone or other electronic device. Some of the more expensive $500 bags can even charge laptops, but you can find more basic versions for $75 to $250.
By Cyndi Wagner