9 Ways to Reduce Your Electric Bill by using the Sun
The sun is a mighty force that most of us take for granted in our everyday, tech-savvy lives. But, should our world suffer a major catastrophe, whether through man-made or natural causes, knowledge of what the solar power can do and how to utilize it's power might be the difference between life and death. Even today using the solar power is a smart thing to do. The sun is free! Using it will save money and provide clean, non-toxic solutions to everyday problems.
The following are 9 areas that the solar power can provide alternative energy sources whether off the grid, on the grid, to simply save money or should all hell break loose.
Cleaning: The sun is one of the best cleansing agents we have. It kills bacteria and can even cause your clothes to smell better. If you are in a situation where you lack water but need to clean things, set them out in the sun. Clothes can be cleansed in the sun. Simply lay out the item in the sun for several hours or even a whole day if you can then turn them over and do the same with the other side. If you have the time turn the item inside out and repeat. This will kill much of the bacteria that hides in your clothes. Of course, drying your clothes on a clothesline not only saves you money but the clothes and sheets are softer, last longer and smell wonderful. Clothes can dry in a very short time out in the sun.
Dishes can also be cleansed using solar power. If you have no access to water, simply clean your plate (as your mother told you) as good as you can and then set it in the sun. Even containers that have been cleansed with detergent can benefit from the sun's cleansing properties. If you've ever put spaghetti sauce in Tupperware you know that it will stain the Tupperware. Leave the Tupperware out in the sun for several days and you will see a marked difference in the color of your Tupperware.
Telling Time: Everyone knows that one can purchase a sundial to give you the time of day but not very many people know how to tell what time it is simply by looking at the sun's position in the sky. Here is how you do it: During the fall and winter the sun is in the sky for approximately 10 hours a day while during the spring and summer, due to daylight savings time, the sun can be in the sky for 14 hours a day. Noon is when the sun is directly above so just look at the horizon and mentally cut it in half. Half-way between noon and the horizon would be 2:30 in the winter and fall and 3:30 in the spring and summer. If you want to know how much time is left before sunset simply face the sun and stretch out your hand with your thumb up next to the sun and your fingers closed right below the sun. Take your other hand and put it right below (with your thumb tucked in). For each time you can fit the span of your hand underneath the sun until you reach the horizon you will have an hour left before sunset. So if you can do this using two hands you will only have 2 hours left. If you can mentally fit 4 hands underneath the sun you would have 4 hours left.
Cooking: Solar cookers are the best way to cook using the sun. One can buy these or they can make one using a box, tin foil and a pane of glass. In either case you will need a good cast iron dutch oven. I have included a link on how to build one of these yourself if you are so inclined. Most solar cookers work like a slow cooker only without the electricity. It will take several hours and in some cases all day to cook your food but there are all kinds of things you can cook in these ovens including bread, stews, rice and just about anything you can cook in a regular stove.
Heat: I think most people know that the sun keeps you warm but did you know that you can cut down on your energy costs if you position your home to take advantage of the sun by building your home with a southern exposure? Solar hot water heaters are also wonderful inventions for capturing the sun's warmth to heat your water all without the added cost of electricity. I've written an article about solar hot water heaters already (the link is below).
Light: Obviously we use the sun for light. However, there are devices that you can make for pennies (if not free) that will light your home using the sun even if you have no windows. These inventions are used in third world countries and are made with plastic liter soda bottles. The link is below if you are interested. While most Americans might not be interested in using these inventions in their homes today, if we should encounter a SHTF scenario they may become quite useful.
Fire: Fire is one of the most important things you can have if you are living in a SHTF scenario. Fire can heat your food, dry your clothes and warm your body. The sun can be used to start a fire with a set of glasses. Simply point the glass at some tinder nest and wait. If you add a little water to your lens you will increase the intensity of the beam.
Solar Electricity: There are many products that use solar power to generate electricity. Some would be crucial in a crisis situation and require very little solar energy to work. For example solar panels that provide power for your phone or laptop might be your only source of communication and therefore worth having in your bug-out bag or off-the-grid. Solar panels would not be practical if they were not already installed on your home in a SHTF scenario, however, if you already have them at least you would have electricity while others would have to do without.
Dehydrators: Whether you already have a dehydrator or would have to build one, dehydrators are very useful whether you are off-grid, on the grid or in a SHTF scenario. Solar dehydrators use no electricity and will help you store food for an indefinite amount of time. Most of the things you will need to build a dehydrator you can find either at the city dump, around the house or in the neighborhood. I have included a video on how to build your own dehydrator should you want to avoid the expense of purchasing one.
Vitamin D: Finally, the sun is an important source of vitamin D. On average, depending on your skin type, experts say that 15 minutes of exposure to the sun a day is enough to get your daily required amount of vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency has been attributed to everything from cancer to heart disease. Moreover, should all hell break lose the sun may be your only source of vitamin D so remember that should you find yourself in this situation.
Today we tend to take the sun and solar power for granted as we do with the other elements needed for our survival. But, should our world take a turn for the worse it's good to know that most of the things we need to survive and thrive are really right here at our fingertips. Moreover, these tips can be used to save money right now! What is really needed is the lost knowledge of how to use the sun and solar power as well as other elements found in nature. I hope that this article helps in that regard.