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10 Easy Hacks That Could Save You Energy and Money At Home

10 Easy Hacks That Could Save You Energy and Money At Home

Electricity is a utility that we take for granted. There are a lot of places around the world that don’t have good electrical infrastructures and the fact that we only lose power during natural disasters is actually pretty awesome. That said, electricity can also be expensive. In 2012, the average U.S. household uses 903 kilowatts of electricity every year. That’s a lot. Here are some easy hacks to help you save money on energy.

1. Insulate your windows

Your windows can be the bane of your existence. During the summer, the heat will come in almost unimpeded and in the winter, the cold will do the same thing. You can fix this! You can create your own plastic window covers or simply use blankets or other items in your house to cover them up. It won’t let as much sunlight in but it will help keep the heat and cold out. These can help save you money on your electricity bill and gas bill because your heating and cooling won’t have to work so hard to keep your house at a comfortable temperature. Another good idea is the draft stopper.

2. Pack your freezer more tightly

easy hacks

    When you open your freezer, all the freezing cold air is going to come out. That means when you close it the freezer has to produce more and that can get expensive over time. A way to prevent this is to pack your freezer full of stuff. You can do things like bags of ice or even newspaper if you have it laying around. When your freezer is packed, it keeps the cold air in. That means your freezer works less and uses less electricity.

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    3. Air dry your cloths

    There really isn’t an efficient way to wash your cloths by hand (nor has there ever been) so telling people to not use a washer is kind of hard to do. Dryers, on the other hand, can be removed from the equation entirely and it’s all good. By air drying your cloths, you’re essentially cutting out all of the electricity that the dryer uses. Dryers use a lot of energy thanks to its heating element and we’re sure the mechanism to spin the drum is using a bunch too. Save money and energy by putting up some cloths lines and hanging up wet cloths to dry.

    4. Use compact fluorescent light bulbs

    easy hacks

      Light bulbs are among the most energy hungry things people use. They don’t use a lot of electricity on their own. However, when you have half a dozen lights on all day and night, things start adding up. According to Energy Star, compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL bulbs) use up to 75 percent less energy. That means every four days a CFL bulb stays on it uses as much energy as a regular light bulb does for one.

      5. Turn off your power strip that your electronics are connected to

      Even if your electronics are turned off, they’re still sapping energy. They’re called “vampire devices” because they keep a little bit of electricity going so they can respond more quickly to things like being turned back on. By turned off the power strip you effectively cut off all electricity to your electronics so they don’t use electricity without you knowing.

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      6. Wear more cloths and turn down the heat (and vice versa)

      easy hacks

        In the winter, put on that hoodie and turn your heat down a few degrees so that your heating doesn’t have to work so hard. Likewise, in the summer, wear less cloths or more flowy cloths so your AC doesn’t have to work so hard. By turning your thermostat up in the summer and down in the winter, you can save literally hundreds of dollars a year in utility expenses. Heating and cooling is easily the most expensive thing in your house if you use them constantly. By turning them down (or off when you can), you’ll save a bunch of money.

        7. Get solar panels

        One of the best ways to save electricity is to produce your own. There are grants available to get solar panels put on your house for cheap or even for free if you qualify. If you get the free panels, they’ll be contributing back to the electric grid and you won’t pay an electric bill at all. If they’re not producing enough, you’ll just use the electric as normal. Harnessing the power of the sun is a great way to save money and go green. If you get them there’s a good chance they’ll also be installed for you so there’s actually very little effort on your part.

        8. Manage your ceiling fans

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        easy hacks

          If you use your ceiling fan right you can save a lot of money. When the air blows down, it helps cool the room and keep you comfortable. Using this and turning your AC down you can save money that way. In the winter you turn the fan the other way. Then it pulls cold air up and away to help keep you warm. Admittedly, it’s more effective in the winter than in the summer but every little bit helps, right?

          9. Plant trees!

          According to sources, planting trees near the south and southeastern parts of your house can save you a ton of money every year. During the summer, the sun will beat down on your house which heats it up. With the trees in place, the sun’s harsh rays can’t make it to your house and that helps keep things cooler. It’s been estimated that you can save up to 25 percent during the summer months. Plus, trees look nice.

          10. Wash your cloths in cold water

          easy hacks

            Our last hack is really easy. Just turn the washer to wash using only cold water. Studies have shown that 90 percent of the energy a washer uses comes from heating up the water to use in the wash. If you wash in cold water you can avoid pretty much all of the energy cost. There aren’t many benefits of using hot water to cold water anyway (unless you have some seriously dirty cloths) so you’re not missing out on much. It’s been estimated that a load of laundry on cold settings cost about $0.03 in energy.

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            None of these hacks are going to save you all that much money on their own. However, if you combined all of them and keep an eye on the obvious stuff (turn off lights when you leave a room), you can save a pretty substantial amount of money. The most important thing is consistency. If you’re gong to try one of these, keep at it! It doesn’t help if you only do these things once or twice.

            Featured photo credit: Reflective ES via reflectivees.com

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            Joseph Hindy

            A writer, editor, and YouTuber who likes to share about technology and lifestyle tips.

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            Last Updated on July 28, 2020

            14 Low GI Foods for a Healthier Diet

            14 Low GI Foods for a Healthier Diet

            Diet trends may come and go, but a low-GI diet remains one of the few that has been shown to include benefits based on science. Low GI foods provide substantial health benefits over those with a high index, and they are key to maintaining a healthy weight.

            What is GI? Glycemic index (GI) is the rate at which the carbohydrate content of a food is broken down into glucose and absorbed from the gut into the blood. When you eat foods containing carbohydrates, your body breaks them down into glucose, which is then absorbed into your bloodstream.[1]

            The higher the GI of a food, the faster it will be broken down and cause your blood glucose (sugar) to rise. Foods with a high GI rating are digested very quickly and cause your blood sugar to spike. This is why it’s advisable to stick to low GI foods as much as possible, as the carbohydrate content of low GI foods will be digested slowly, allowing a more gradual rise in blood glucose levels.

            Foods with a GI scale rating of 70 or more are considered to be high GI. Foods with a rating of 55 or below are considered low GI foods.

            It’s important to note that the glycemic index of a food doesn’t factor in the quantity that you eat. For example, although watermelon has a high glycemic index, the water and fiber content of a standard serving of water means it won’t have a significant impact on your blood sugar.

            Like watermelon, some high GI foods (such as baked potatoes) are high in nutrients. And some low GI foods (such as corn chips) contain high amounts of trans fats.

            In most cases, however, the GI is an important means of gauging the right foods for a healthy diet.

            Eating mainly low GI foods every day helps to provide your body with a slow, continuous supply of energy. The carbohydrates in low GI foods is digested slowly, so you feel satisfied for longer. This means you’ll be less likely to suffer from fluctuating sugar levels that can lead to cravings and snacking.

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            Let’s continue with some of the best examples of low GI foods.

            1. Quinoa

            GI: 53

            Quinoa has a slightly higher GI than rice or barley, but it contains a much higher proportion of protein. If you don’t get enough protein from the rest of your diet, quinoa could help. It’s technically a seed, so it’s also high in fiber–again, more than most grains. It’s also gluten-free, which makes it excellent for those with Celiac disease or gluten intolerance.

            2. Brown Rice (Steamed)

            GI: 50

            Versatile and satisfying, brown rice is one of the best low GI foods and is a staple for many dishes around the world. It’s whole rice from which only the husk (the outermost layer) is removed, so it’s a great source of fiber. In fact, brown rice has been shown to help lower cholesterol, improve digestive function, promote fullness, and may even help prevent the formation of blood clots. Just remember to always choose brown over white!

            3. Corn on the Cob

            GI: 48

            Although it tastes sweet, corn on the cob is a good source of slow-burning energy (and one of the tastiest low GI foods). It’s also a good plant source of Vitamin B12, folic acid, and iron, all of which are required for the healthy production of red blood cells in the body. It’s healthiest when eaten without butter and salt!

            4. Bananas

            GI: 47

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            Bananas are a superfood in many ways. They’re rich in potassium and manganese and contain a good amount of vitamin C. Their low GI rating means they’re great for replenishing your fuel stores after a workout.

            They are easy to add to smoothies, cereal, or kept on your desk for a quick snack. The less ripe they are, the lower the sugar content is! As one of the best low GI foods, it’s a great addition to any daily diet.

            5. Bran Cereal

            GI: 43

            Bran is famous for being one of the highest cereal sources of fiber. It’s also rich in a huge range of nutrients: calcium, folic acid, iron, magnesium, and a host of B vitamins. Although bran may not be to everyone’s tastes, it can easily be added to other cereals to boost the fiber content and lower the overall GI rating.

            6. Natural Muesli

            GI: 40

            Muesli–when made with unsweetened rolled oats, nuts, dried fruit, and other sugar-free ingredients–is one of the healthiest ways to start the day. It’s also very easy to make at home with a variety of other low GI foods. Add yogurt and fresh fruit for a nourishing, energy-packed breakfast.

            7. Apples

            GI: 40

            Apple skin is a great source of pectin, an important prebiotic that helps to feed the good bacteria in your gut. Apples are also high in polyphenols, which function as antioxidants, and contain a good amount of vitamin C. They are best eaten raw with the skin on! Apples are one of a number of fruits[2] that have a low glycemic index. Be careful which fruits you choose, as many have a large amount of natural sugars[3].

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            8. Apricots

            GI: 30

            Apricots provide both fiber and potassium, which make them an ideal snack for both athletes and anyone trying to keep sugar cravings at bay. They’re also a source of antioxidants and a range of minerals.

            Apricots can be added to salads, cereals, or eaten as part of a healthy mix with nuts at any time of the day.

            9. Kidney Beans

            GI: 29

            Kidney beans and other legumes provide a substantial serving of plant-based protein, so they can be used in lots of vegetarian dishes if you’re looking to adopt a plant-based diet[4]. They’re also packed with fiber and a variety of minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and other beneficial plant compounds. They are great in soups, stews, or with (whole grain) tacos.

            10. Barley

            GI: 22

            Barley is a cereal grain that can be eaten in lots of ways. It’s an excellent source of B vitamins, including niacin, thiamin, and pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), fiber, molybdenum, manganese, and selenium. It also contains beta-glucans, a type of fiber that can support gut health and has been shown to reduce appetite and food intake.

            Please note that barley does contain gluten, which makes it unsuitable for anyone who is Celiac[5] or who follows a gluten-free diet. In this case, gluten-free alternatives might include quinoa, buckwheat, or millet.

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            11. Raw Nuts

            GI: 20

            Most nuts have a low GI of between 0 and 20, with cashews slightly higher at around 22. Nuts, as one of the best low GI foods, are a crucial part of the Mediterranean diet[6] and are really the perfect snack: they’re a source of plant-based protein, high in fiber, and contain healthy fats. Add them to smoothies and salads to boost the nutritional content. Try to avoid roasted and salted nuts, as these are made with large amounts of added salt and (usually) trans fats.

            12. Carrots

            GI: 16

            Raw carrots are not only a delicious low GI vegetable, but they really do help your vision! They contain vitamin A (beta carotene) and a host of antioxidants. They’re also low-calorie and high in fiber, and they contain good amounts of vitamin K1, potassium, and antioxidants. Carrots are great for those monitoring their weight as they’ve been linked to lower cholesterol levels.

            13. Greek Yogurt

            GI: 12

            Unsweetened Greek yogurt is not only low GI, but it’s an excellent source of calcium and probiotics, as well. Probiotics help to keep your gut microbiome in balance and support your overall digestive health and immune function. Greek yogurt makes a healthy breakfast, snack, dessert, or a replacement for dip. The most common probiotic strains found in yogurt are Streptococcus thermophilus[7] (found naturally in yogurt) and Lactobacillus acidophilus[8] (which is often added by the manufacturer). You can also look into probiotic supplements for improving your gut health.

            14. Hummus

            GI: 6

            When made the traditional way from chickpeas and tahini, hummus is a fantastic, low-GI dish. It’s a staple in many Middle Eastern countries and can be eaten with almost any savory meal. Full of fiber to maintain satiety and feed your good gut bacteria, hummus is great paired with freshly-chopped vegetables, such as carrots and celery.

            Bottom Line

            If you’re looking to eat healthier or simply cut down on snacking throughout the day, eating low GI foods is a great way to get started. Choose any of the above foods for a healthy addition to your daily diet and start feeling better for longer.

            More Tips on Eating Healthy

            Featured photo credit: Alexander Mils via unsplash.com

            Reference

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