Looking for your next DIY project? Perhaps you need some inspiration on how to make your house a home? Our growing library of how-to's, DIY tutorials, and home improvement articles are here to guide you through your DIY adventures.
Home Improvement & Renovating
The energy of the sun has long been harnessed to power many things in our world. Over time, solar technology has progressed and become more affordable for the home. You can harness the free energy of the sun for use in a variety of ways to make your life easier. Here are a few tasks that solar power can do for you.
You’ve seen them on the rooftops of neighbours' homes, out in the country and even on the tops of RVs and trailers – solar panels soaking up powerful energy, converting sunlight into electricity. Solar electricity is probably one of most common uses of solar energy and is fairly straight-forward to install in your home, cottage or cabin. Solar panels can provide power to appliances and functions in your home while reducing your electricity bill and emission output.
It can be dangerous fumbling around in a dark backyard. Protect yourself and your home by installing solar security flood lights. These easy-to-install lights gather and store solar energy during the day to illuminate entire areas at night. To increase the effectiveness and life of the solar charge, install lights with motion-sensing capability. These will turn on whenever they sense motion from you or anyone else – allowing you to see what you need to and scaring away anyone who shouldn't be there.
Solar energy can provide more than just functionality. It can also be used to make your space aesthetically pleasing with little effort and cost.
Solar lights to light up the front walkways of your home continue to be popular. And as technology advances, new avenues of style and design emerge. Instead of the standard solar stake lights, consider in-ground solar lights. These round lights sit flush with the lawn, almost unnoticeable during the day. They are even low enough that you can mow over them!
If you prefer something higher off the ground, consider solar outdoor lanterns that hang from a post or fence. Or, if you're really looking to create a mood, solar lights can imitate flame on a torch.
Losing power in your home is something you never want to experience, but it's still a possibility when a storm rolls through. Instead of a backup generator running off diesel fuel, you can use a solar generator to help get you through.
Since home backup generators are still cost prohibitive for the general population, solar generators are there in a pinch to help you out. They are smaller and more portable than larger generators. This may save an entire fridge or freezer's worth of food from spoiling if you lose power in a heat wave.
Of course, the portability of a solar generator lends itself extremely well to situations like road trips and camping. They have more than enough power and versatility to charge phones, laptops, cameras, and any other equipment or comfort items you need on the go.
When you think of ways you can use solar energy, cooking food may not be one of the first things that comes to your mind. But harnessing all that energy can make cooking outside efficient and cost effective.
Consider a solar-powered grill for your backyard or next camping trip. These all-in-one units don't look like your traditional grills, but they can actually do the work in less time and without traditional fuel sources.
The design is pretty simple. The food is put in an internal metal tube that slides out from the middle of the grill. A flexible, reflective piece of metal is then folded around the inner tube, reflecting the sun's rays to cook what's inside. Because the heat of the sun is focused so intensely, food can be cooked in a shorter time than with a traditional grill. There are varieties of solar grills that will control the temperature of the energy if you want something to cook slower.
A lot of water flows into your house on a day-to-day basis, some of it passing through your hot water tank in the process. It takes a lot of fuel to heat this water for your showers, dishes, and laundry. Why not look into heating your water with solar power when you're looking for your next hot water heater?
The technology to heat water with solar energy has been around for a long time. Because of this, it has become readily accessible to homeowners and a great alternative to using gas.