Every year there are new gadgets on the market that will help you increase the efficiency of your home. These can make the perfect gift for those impossible-to-buy-for family members as they directly address one of our most basic instincts: the need to rise to a challenge. Our top picks list focuses on items that can be easily installed. Best of all, they range in cost starting from just $19.99 so if you know someone who is ready to rise to the challenge, we have something on this list just for them.
Eco Alkaline batteries
LEI Electronics has managed to keep costs competitive while still maintaining the quality of their batteries. Every year, the equivalent of more than 296,120,000 car kilometres of CO2 are created by the manufacture, distribution, use and disposal of alkaline batteries in Canada. Eco Alkaline batteries are the ONLY carbon-neutral alkaline battery brand in the world. When you are buying batteries this season, give these a try. They’re available at all Future Shop and Best Buy locations.
HydroRight Dual Flush conversion kit
Thinking of replacing your old toilet with a newer watersaving model but just can’t justify the waste created by disposing of your old toilet? This kit may be your answer. It’s easy to install, very inexpensive, and according to a plethora of product reviews it works best with older toilets that waste a tremendous amount of water. Not convinced? Just check out one of the many YouTube videos dedicated to the installation and usage of this gadget. $19.99 at Home Depot.
6-volt solar charger
This portable and pocketable solar charger has the capability to charge up your gadgets without plugging them into a wall socket. About the size of an iPhone, the 6-volt solar charger can sit in the sun during the day and be ready for use whenever you need it. A full reserve charge (after the sun has gone down) will allow you to charge your phone or any other gadget for approximately 60 minutes. $40.99 USD from Solar Charger Pro.
Tripp Lite energy saver
The Tripp Lite is unlike any other traditional power bar. With a smart technology system, the Tripp Lite will not only protect your electronics during a power surge but also protects your bottom line by automatically stopping ‘vampire’ power drain when your electronics aren’t in use. In addition, the Tripp has a backup battery that will allow you enough time to power down your computer properly in case of a full power outage. Available on Amazon.ca for $63.99.
Logitech K750 solar wireless keyboard
It doesn’t get more hassle-free than this. This keyboard charges itself whenever there’s light and stays charged for at least three months in total darkness, so you can say goodbye to battery hassles. Only 8 mm thick with sleek lines and a thin profile, this streamlined keyboard adds style to your workspace, whether you have a laptop or desktop. Logitech also offers a Mac version. $89.99 at Best Buy.
Also known as The Energy Detective 5000, the TED 5000 is a whole house energy usage monitoring system that provides usable consumption data on the console, loaded to your PC, and even through an app on your phone. It is one of very few home monitoring systems that not only looks at the overall usage of your home but also imports solar and wind generation data. The TED 5000 comes very highly recommended for anyone looking to better understand and reduce their energy consumption. Starting at $203.30 CDN from TED5000.ca.
Velux Sun Tunnel
A Sun Tunnel skylight is the perfect solution for hallways, bathrooms, kitchens, walk-in closets and anywhere else that would benefit from more natural light. They are easy to install yourself or can be installed by a professional for a small fee. They also have an optional light kit that allows you to use the tunnel as a light at night. Best of all, the Velux Sun Tunnel is eligible for the ecoENERGY Retrofit homes program. $399 and up at Home Depot.
Drain water heat recovery pipe
The Power Pipe is a forward-thinking piece of equipment that is attached to the drain pipe in your shower and uses the heat from the water running down the drain to heat the water going into your hot water heater. You should either have some plumbing knowledge to install the pipe or hire a professional. It can reduce your water heating costs by up to 40%. If your goal is to make your home as efficient as possible, this is definitely a gadget you should look into. $543 and up at Home Depot.