DIY Energy-Saving Ideas for the Cabin

Save both money and the environment with these three few often-overlooked energy-saving ideas you can DIY.

So you’ve added insulation to get your attic up to R-38, purchased Energy Star appliances, and even installed a low-flow showerhead that spits out water at an efficient 120 degrees Fahrenheit. But the energy costs on your cabin can likely be squeezed just a bit more, saving both money and the environment. Here are a few often-overlooked tips:

1. Unplug Your Appliances 

Unused but plugged-in appliances still draw electricity, sometimes up to 10 percent of your total electrical usage. Since manually unplugging some appliances might be a pain, consider using power strips to simultaneously shut off several energy-sucking items at once. Or, if you’re going to be gone from the cabin for an extended period of time, just flip the breaker off when you leave. Just make sure essential appliances and devices – like a fridge full of perishables or your sump pump – still have juice.

See also Tips for a More Energy-Efficient Cabin

2. Check Your Fridge Door Seal

While most people know it makes sense to keep the coils dust-free on fridges and freezers, a lesser-known evil is a leaky door seal. Place a dollar bill between the door and the appliance, and then try to pull it free. If your bill slides out easily, it’s a safe bet other dollars are slipping away as well – via your monthly electrical bill. You can order replacement seals from your local appliance dealer or online, usually for under $75. For big savings, you might consider replacing your fridge entirely.

3. Put Outdoor Lights on Timers

Landscape lights are a great way to illuminate dark cabin patios and pathways, but artificial moonlight comes at a cost. Installing timers on your outdoor lighting not only saves money, it also reduces light pollution for your neighboring night owls.  Simply set the timers so your lights are active only from dusk until midnight – or whenever it’s usually time to hit the sack. Another energy-saving idea is to use solar-powered lights. Some options to look for in solar pathway lights: on-off switches so you store the charge, high-low power, colored lenses and timers.