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Everyone knows the frustration that comes with high utility bills, especially during financial hardship. The power bill, in particular, can get really bad in the winter or summer, depending on where you live. So what are some things you can do to lower your bills?
There are many unique and creative projects that help combat the constant struggle to reduce energy consumption. These projects range from simple to quite innovative and can help reduce the cost of energy and water. So here they are, in no particular order.
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1. Rain Barrel
A simple DIY project that reuses rainwater has made its way into neighborhoods and even big cities. Rain barrels are a great way to collect the water that runs off of your home, garage, and outbuildings.
While you can find fancy rain barrel systems or kits, you can also build your own rain barrel system using items that you may already have on hand.
The most important part of a rain barrel is the actual area that you will store the water. Many homesteaders use leftover plastic or metal drums to collect the rainwater that would otherwise soak into the ground.
You can then disperse the collected water to other areas of the homestead, including gardens, livestock, and landscapes. Another great way to use the rainwater is to keep newly planted trees saturated on the property.
2. Composting Toilet
One of the key factors that keeps homesteads from becoming self-sufficient is the sewer system. While some farms have septic tanks, others are still connected to public sewer systems.
Composting toilets are a great way to care for waste without the need for water or a sewer system hookup. Some homesteaders may choose to add a composting toilet when adding a facility on the land that is too far from the sewer system as well.
Composting toilets are also a great way to expand the living quarters on your property, which can be helpful.
3. Solar Oven
While solar ovens often are on the list of science fair projects at the local school, some homesteaders build solar ovens for more everyday use. Even using a solar oven once a day or a few times a week can reduce your overall energy consumption.
There are many different ways to build a solar oven from using cardboard boxes to metal pans. Cooking dinner outside in a solar oven is a great way to harness the sun’s energy for a great purpose.
It is often easy to move and maneuver and is a great skill to have if your home is ever without power. Solar ovens are a natural fit for more southern-based homesteads, as they can be used throughout the entire year.
4. Mini Wind Turbine
Plenty of homesteaders would love to harness the power of the wind on their land. Building your own mini wind turbine is pretty easy as long as you have the right components.
Many homesteaders already have garden windmills on the property, or can easily pick one up at the local rural supply store. You can also make your own wind turbine using a collection of pipes and blades as well.
Other items that you’ll need for a mini wind turbine include a motor and batteries to store the energy. While your home would require a lot of batteries and a larger system, you could build a mini wind turbine to help power an outbuilding, barn, or shed.
5. Animal Shelters
Homesteaders know how to repurpose and reuse materials. When deciding to expand the farm with more livestock, many homesteaders will use what they already have to serve as animal shelters.
These outbuildings can be as simple as a lean-to against an existing building. Scrap wood, pallets, plastic sheeting, and leftover materials can combine to create a shelter for livestock.
This not only saves money on building costs, but it also encourages homesteaders to raise their own meat and dairy, which saves on grocery bills and transportation costs to get to the store.
6. Dig a Well
Many rural homes and locations gather water from a well instead of a public water line. The success of digging a well all depends on your site and the water table in your area. Some homesteaders only have to dig about 30 feet to find an abundance of water, while others must dig much farther down. Digging a well also greatly depends on the soil structure of your homestead.
Access to a freshwater source is vital for the health of your family as well as becoming less reliant on utilities. Not having a water bill anymore is also a great reason to consider digging a well to become more self-sufficient.
Another great reason to consider digging your own well is that the water is your own, and you can reduce the chance of unwanted materials in your water. However, you may have to hire out the labor of digging the well, but you could install the piping yourself afterward.
7. Outdoor Wood Furnace
Another popular project that you’ll see on other homesteads is an outdoor wood furnace. This small structure sits away from the home and burns wood to create heat for the home.
Outdoor wood furnaces are great for those homesteads in densely wooded areas where wood supply is prevalent. Your home will no longer need gas or electricity to produce heat but will instead require a steady supply of wood.
Building an outdoor wood furnace is an investment, but it can pay off quickly and is a great way to become more self-sufficient.
Becoming more self-sufficient is a common goal of many homesteaders. Not only will these DIY projects help you reach that goal, but they will also reduce or even eliminate the need for energy services.
Thinking outside of the box in how your home can incorporate some of these projects will help add these elements to the homestead for little to no cost. For those projects that do require an investment, the payoff of having lower bills is usually good enough to make it worthwhile.
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