If you want to cut your energy bills and reduce your reliance on grid power from your utility company, you’ve probably already looked into some options for harnessing wind or solar power. There are a lot of guides out there that promise to teach you how to build your own homemade energy saving systems; here are some basic points you should consider before committing your financial resources.
Be Suspicious Of All-In-One Package Deals
When you Google “homemade energy saving systems,” you’ll find a lot of impressive educational products that promise to unlock the secrets of building wind and solar systems cheaply, easily, and quickly. All you have to do is spend a “modest” fee on an ebook or a video. The truth is, by digging deeper and gathering your own information, you can find all of the instructions and details you need for free. Pricey all-in-one guides are rarely worth the cost. They also tend to be deceptive about the resources (time, money, and work) you need to invest in order to build a working system on your own.
Consider The Credentials Of Authorities
The great thing about learning how to build your own energy system is that you’ll run into a lot of passionate people who are eager to share information with you. In fact, you may get too much of a good thing when you go looking for advice! Always take the source of your information into account. People who point you towards a pricey program like those described above can safely be ignored. Other homeowners who’ve constructed their own systems are worth listening to, though. Finally, you can often find actual solar and wind professionals (e.g. a NABCEP-certified solar tech) sharing their experience and education on renewable energy sites. These experts can hook you up with highly trustworthy and useful information.
The Most Effective Do It Yourself Energy Savers
If you want to generate useful amounts of power, you have three main options for home-built systems: Wind turbines, solar power, or solar water heating. Of the three, you’ll find a solar water heating system to be the easiest to construct. You’ll need to build a solar collector and buy or modify a water heater to work with it. Building your own wind turbine or solar power array will require greater investment and a lot of work. You should also keep in mind that unless you want to go through the paperwork required to tie your system into the utility grid, you’ll need to build a battery storage system to take full advantage of the electricity you generate. This is often the priciest and trickiest part of any home-built energy system.
Know The Limits Of Recycled Equipment
In order to build a working system without putting an enormous hole in your bank account, you’ll likely look into the possibility of using discarded or pre-owned equipment. As long as you keep in mind the limitations such equipment has, you can save money by buying up used solar cells and batteries. All solar cells lose efficiency over time. This means that a five-year-old cell will not be able to produce the same amount of power it was designed to create when it was new. Batteries suffer a similar efficiency loss, although they can often be reconditioned. (Forklift batteries are particularly favored for home-made energy storage systems, as they’re designed for a twenty-year service life.)
Building your own energy saving system can be fun, rewarding, and educational as long as you keep your expectations realistic. An effective system won’t be cheap, and you’ll have to educate yourself thoroughly to assemble it. The skills and knowledge that you’ll gain have a value of their own, though, and at the end of the process you’ll have a system that can significantly reduce your home’s need for utility power.