Investing a solar system to power your entire home can cost you thousands of dollars upfront, and while it will certainly pay for itself within just a few years and continue to benefit you as time goes on, a whole-house system is not the only way to take advantage of free power. Here are four affordable home improvements you can make with the help of solar power:
Implement a Water Feature into Your Landscaping
Water features improve the eye appeal of landscaping and help to support wildlife (such as dragonflies, frogs, and even squirrels) that can be enjoyed throughout the year. A pond or bird-bath that holds standing water might attract mosquitoes to lay larvae in it, but when you add a water fountain to the equation, mosquitoes become a minimal problem.
There are a variety of solar powered options on the market that make it possible to add a fountain to anything from small water features sitting on a table to huge ponds holding hundreds of fish. They typically come with a small panel that can be placed near the water feature, and that will store enough power to run the feature even at night when the sun isn't out.
Change out Some Lights around the House
Solar powered lights aren't quite as bright as typical house lights, but they can come in handy when you don't need intense lighting at night in or around your home. They'll also decrease your energy consumption during evening hours and save you a little money. Try one or more of these options:
- Use solar powered lanterns in the bedroom to create a romantic look and feel.
- Incorporate solar LED lights in the home office to make reading and writing easy at night.
- Include solar tube lighting in the bathroom to brighten up the vanity.
- Install solar lanterns or strobe lights in outdoor porches and lounge areas to brighten things up.
You can also protect your home by implementing a solar-powered motion sensor and spotlight that will shed plenty of light on people or animals that shouldn't be on your property. These lights come with their own solar panels, which makes it easy to install them separately or in the same vicinity depending on your needs.
Replace Your Traditional Refrigerator
If you're like most homeowners, you'll find that your refrigerator is the second biggest power "hog" in your home. And of course, you can't very well turn it off in order to save energy on any given day. One effective answer is to replace your traditional refrigerator with a solar-powered option. Many solar fridges use only a third of the power a traditional one uses, and they don't need a lot of solar power to stay running either. You'll need anywhere from 40 to 200 watts of power to run your fridge depending on the size and type you purchase, but after the initial investment you won't have to worry about paying to keep your food cool again.
Switch up the Way You Heat Your Water
Replacing your old water heater with a solar-powered variety will not only save you money, but it will help to optimally regulate how often and how much your water gets heated up so you always get the perfect temperature. Solar hot water heaters are typically designed with an electric or gas backup so you're never left without hot water even on days when the sun doesn't want to cooperate.
Just one of these options should be enough to save you a little money on your energy bills, but incorporating all of them should make a significant difference and may even increase the value of your home. Check out sites like http://www.dpwsolarelectric.com/ for more information.