Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Pinching Your Pennies? Make a Battery Out of Them!

So this type of project might not give you free energy, power up your TV or light up your house, it may give some extra juice to a calculator or LED.  Plus, its a fun way to teach your children about energy.


  • 10 Pennies (1983 or older)
  • Paper towels, cardboard or other absorbent material
  • Lemon juice (salt or vinegar works too)
  • Sand paper
  • Aluminum foil
  • LED
How To:
  1. Sand down one side the pennies to remove the copper outer core and reveal the inner zinc.
  2. Cut the paper towels to be the same size and shape of the pennies.
  3. Soak the paper towel in the lemon juice and blot dry so liquid is not dripping. 
  4. On top of the aluminum foil layer the pennies and pieces of paper towels like a sandwich.  It should be in this order: Copper side down, paper towel, copper side down, paper towel... The cooper side will be the positive and the zinc or sanded side will be the negative. 
  5. Wrap your new battery cell in electrical tape. Make sure it is air tight to prevent the paper towels from drying to quickly. 
  6. Connect an LED light bulb (around 6 volts) to the pennies. 
  7. Light it up! It should stay lite for about 2 weeks. Add more pennies and it should stay lite longer.
Want some history on batteries to go along with? Check this out!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Weather-stripping: A Great Solution to a Common Problem

Adding weather stripping is a great solution for those pesky drafts
Sometimes the best solutions are the simplest. For example, what could be simpler than weather stripping? Used properly, this easy to install, inexpensive material can save a homeowner or apartment owner who pays his own utility bills, quite a bit of money over the course of a cold winter or hot summer.

Here’s the idea. Since it is inevitable that the moveable components of a home, such as its windows and doors, will have small spaces at the meeting points between movable and fixed, weather stripping is introduced to seal those spaces. This seal keeps in the expensive hot or cold air produced with your hard earned dollars, and keeps out the hot summer or cool winter air that is trying to neutralize your efforts at staying comfortable.

Choosing the correct weather stripping for the task it is needed for is crucial for good results. Take care to make sure the stripping under a door does not overly drag on the floor or carpet, which can cause it to erode and become ineffective. Window stripping must be able to withstand the sliding movement of the panes.

There is a large selection of weather stripping types to choose from:

Tension seal
Reinforced foam
Rolled or reinforced vinyl
Door sweep
Tubular rubber and vinyl
Reinforced silicone
Door shoe
Bulb threshold
“Frost-brake” threshold
Fin seal
Interlocking metal channels

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

6 Unusual DIY Lamps

The weather has cooled off and and it might be time to move your DIY skills inside.  As energy nerds, we like projects that involve energy and lamps were right up our alley.  Plus we like saving money, so DIY projects are kinda our thing.  We found 6 cool and unusual lamps that you can create at home. Would you take on a project like this? Or have you already?

Auto Part Lamp 
This lamp is made from a car air filter and other auto parts. 
Find it here!

 Combo Lamp
Plug in or charge up with this lamp. It's both and outlet and a lamp!

Find it here!

Lego Lamp
If you have a little boy or girl that loves to build with legos this lamp is a fun activity to do together!

Find it here!

Teacup Lamp
Have some old china you aren't quite sure what to do with? Or a dainty room that needs some light?

Find it here!

Toy Lamp
The below picture has it with different action figurines and toy soldiers, but we thought it would also be cute with trucks & cars or ponies!

Find it here!

Colander Chandelier
 Looking for some rustic charm in the kitchen? Something useful and decorative? We think you could even take of the kitchen utensils if you have an over crowded dinner party. 

Find it here!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Favorite Fall Crock Pot Recipes

Fall is a great time to break out the crock pot. We have pinned some of our favorite recipes but check out our top 5 foods below!

1. Buffalo Chicken Wing Soup

One word - Yum! Buffalo Chicken Wing dip is a staple at many football parties, but have you tried the soup version? If not you are in for a delight. There are a number of different versions so we pinned a few on our Energy Efficient Foodie board. But the key ingredients are Franks Red Hot Sauce, chicken, mozzarella cheese and milk. We also really enjoy this in a bread bowl!

2. Candied Sweet Potatoes

This is great for Thanksgiving, easing up some of that precious oven space. It's sweet and yummy, plus who doesn't like marshmallows in their dinner?  Plus with around 3 main ingredients and a few kitchen staples, it doesn't require a huge chuck of your budget.

3. Chili - Chicken Style

Fall and chili almost go together. Ground meat and tomatoes all stewed together with some great spices and maybe beans... our tummies are doing grumbling. But least we forget traditional chili's favorite sibling - White Chicken Chili. A bit different take, but oh so satisfying.

4. Hot Apple Cider

It's apple season. Apple pies, apple crisp, apple sauce and one yummy beverage - apple cider. Your crockpot isn't just for food, but beverages too! Sure you can just heat up some apple cider and call it a day, but if you want to add a little extra yum to it, try it in a crockpot. Apple cider + cinnamon + whole cloves = amazing.

5.  Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Pasta

Yet another shout out to our Buffalo foodie customers, but we couldn't pass up this pasta recipe with our favorite hot sauce. We haven't tried it ourselves yet, but it just looks to good not to! Check it out.

Happy Friday!

Monday, October 06, 2014

10 Energy Saving Tips for Fall

The nights are cool, and the days are warm - Fall is here!  While the leaves change and the trees prepare for cooler temperatures, it's time to prepare your house to keep the heat in and cool air out.

Here are 10 tips to make your house more energy efficient for the winter:

  1. Schedule a tune up for your heating system. Not only will this help your furnace run more efficiently, but it may help prevent a break down in the cold winter months. 
  2. Replace your furnace filter. Continue to replace it once a month while in use. 
  3. Find and seal any air leaks caused by pipes or lines entering your house. 
  4. Add caulk or weather stripping to leaky doors and windows. 
  5. Check your fireplace damper to ensure it is closed when not in use. 
  6. If you never use your fireplace seal the fireplace flue damper and make it as snug as possible. 
  7. Add caulking to the fireplace hearth.
  8. Take advantage of the heat from the sun - open the drapes during the day to allow the sun to come in and close them at night to keep the warmth in. 
  9. Use a heavy-duty, clear plastic sheet on a frame or tape clear plastic film to the inside of your window frames during the cold winter months. 
  10. Your water heater can account for 14%-25% of your heating costs. Turn down the setting on your hot water heater to warm - or 120 degrees. 
For more ways to save check out www.IDTEnergy.com

Friday, October 03, 2014

Fall Tailgating Tips - Energy Nerd Style

Football season is in full swing! Are you planning on tailgating with your favorite team this year? Here are some tips to put your tailgate yards head of your neighbors - energy nerd style:
  • Freeze water bottles instead of dumping ice into your cooler. It will keep things cold, plus it's a refreshing beverage after it melts!
  • Amplify the sound. Forgot the speakers? Use a toilet paper roll and two cups
  • Use your cooler to cook the corn on the cob in larger quantities
  • Turn your cooler into a food warmer. Keep your food warm for hours!
    • How to: 
      • Wrap 4 bricks (the kind used to build walls) with aluminum foil. 
      • Heat the bricks in a 350° oven for an hour. 
      • Using potholders, carefully place them on pieces of cardboard in the bottom of a cooler. 
      • Cover with more cardboard and use cloth towels for stability. Pans of food, straight from the oven will stay hot for hours.