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8 Clever Hacks to Make Your Home Energy Efficient

8 Clever Hacks to Make Your Home Energy Efficient

Having an energy-efficient home isn’t good for just the environment. Because, let’s face it: Earth is going down to the gutter. Between the ozone layer being destroyed and letting the sun melt glaciers all over the world, and all the air-conditioning/furnace-warming things we do, day in, day out, every single day…

It’s time for a change. It’s time to make our homes more energy efficient so we can stop relying on environment-harming resources so much!

…Plus, following the following tips save you hundreds of dollars a year!

1. Steel is a Steal!

60% of the steel used in steel-framed homes is recyclable. All that “plastic garbage” and cardboard you’ve been recycling over the years? Turns out that it’s actually helping you. Whaddya know?

Plus, steel isn’t susceptible to termites, pests, mold, or anything else that affects traditional wood-framed homes.

Metal roofs can keep your home a comfortable 50 to 60 degrees cooler in the hot months. (Letting you cut down your air conditioner usage.)

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2. Upgrade Your Lightbulbs

According to this report, living rooms and dining rooms need more energy to heat up. The lighting levels in these rooms make it possible.

One thing you can do to cut down on heating, if you haven’t already, is to switch from your traditional incandescent bulbs to CFLs (Compact fluorescent lamp).

CFLs take up considerably less energy to heat up – and they are relatively inexpensive once you figure in savings.

And with those savings, later on down the road you can make an even healthier leap by switching from your CFLs to LED bulbs! (Why? Because LEDs take 12.5 watts to light up the bulb. 8 watts less than a CFL. This means lower electricity bill for you, and less greenhouse gasses for the environment.)

Plus, LEDs last more than double the life-span of CFLs. (That’s tens of thousands of hours longer!)

3. Not Using It? Unplug It!

This is a huge pet peeve of mine! Keeping electronics plugged in when they’re not being used.

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According to a U.S Department of Energies study, the average household (in developed countries) spends more than $2,000 a month on energy costs.

The thing is that some appliances (like microwaves) use minute amounts of power when you keep them plugged in 24/7. I’m talking 8 or 10 cents on your bill. Not a big deal.

And obviously, unplugging your washing machine and fridge/freezer, just to save money, is a no-no.

There are some things that should and shouldn’t be unplugged. For the sake of convenience, a few of energy-suckers that should be, according to AOL.com, are…

  • Desktop computers
  • Televisions
  • Modems
  • Air conditioners
  • Stereos and radios
  • Coffee machines

4. Use Power Strips

Power strips (aka surge protectors) are a dynamic force when it comes to powering off excessive devices and plugs. Some energy hogs never really “turn off” when you turn off their switch. Like PC desktops.

Plug them into a power strip, then just flip that strip off, and all those hungry devices will stop eating energy simultaneously.

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5. Shorter Showers Are Your Friends

Your hot water heater, believe it or don’t, is an energy-hogging MONSTER. Those 10-20 minutes you spend in the shower, pondering life, can be spent lying in your bed. Your luscious, comfortable bed.

As a bonus, taking a shower uses a considerably less amount of water than a bath! Can you talk about a double win-in-one?

6. Cold Water in Washes Are Your Friends, Too!

See previous hack. This is also the hack many “go green” enthusiasts cherish. You’ve probably heard this one before – that’s because it’s so EFFICIENT for making your home energy efficient.

7. Clotheslines Are Chic (Again)

In the days of old, when smart watches were sci-fi, you saw clotheslines everywhere. The logic is simple: reducing electricity usage! The less electricity you rely on, the more of an efficient, cost-saving person you’ll become!

8. (Seriously) Reconsider Steel

Hands down, the most efficient energy-saving method is building a steel frame home. A lot more than building a metal roof, steel framing is a lot more durable. Than nearly anything you can think of.

But, and this is a big one… Unless you have the right, rigid type of insulation wrapped around your steel frames… Using steel frames without insulation, thinking it’d be more energy efficient than wood, is a big mistake.

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Yes! With insulation, steel framing is more cost effective than lumber – with wood prices going up, steel is a savvy alternative.

Last Thoughts

These are just several, quick ways you can make your home energy efficient. Sure, there is a plethora of things you can do – today, tomorrow and right now. But these hacks are a good place to start!

Bonus hack: Use a spray tap on your faucets. You can get a cup of water in this, that you’d get a bucket from an ordinary faucet!

Featured photo credit: 8 Clever Hacks to Make Your Home Energy Efficient via lifehack.org

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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