One can never save enough electric. Yet, the growing concern over the cost of utilities coincides with the growing concern for the health of our planet. This enables a household to cut utility costs while "going green" in ways that are easier than ever before. (But honestly, what comes easier than turning off a light?) Put out your left hand to embrace green living and put out your right to embrace cheaper living; you are going to make the connection between the two.
We all know to turn off the lights and let our computers go into sleep mode when not in use, but seemingly dormant appliances use a great bit of energy. One magazine editor recently noted that by unplugging his TV, his stereo, and his unused cell phone charger he saved the equivalent of one continuously burning 100 watt bulb each day.
This power is known as "standby power", and by understanding it, you'll better be able to combat it. Unless your electronic item is a complete paperweight when it's off, it most likely is pulling a little standby power from the wall socket. If it uses one of those bulky boxes on its power cord, known as a transformer, it definitely is using standby power. Count the number of those box cords in your home and you'll be surprised.
It's probably impractical to plug and unplug your TV every time you use it. However, when it's off, there is some power drawn into it so that when you press the ON button it responds quickly. (Think about it; the ON button is an electronic button rather than a toggle switch, right?) Older sets use more standby power than newer sets. Most newer sets use less than one amp, and older sets use closer to 5 amps. It's not a huge electrical usage, but it does account for 5% of the yearly household budget once all of the television sets, stereos, VCRs, microwaves, and chargers are taken into account.
Light pollution is a serious problem that is just coming into the public's awareness. On a dark night, count how many decorative lights are burning in your neighborhood. One porch light or a driveway spotlight is a safety addition; solar powered walkway lights also fall into this category. But, what about the candles in each window to give a home a colonial feel? Floodlights that wash the front of a home in light are appealing but a heavy burden on the electrical usage. Don't forget the white twinkle lights that are strung year-round for added charm. Wouldn't it be more charming to receive a smaller utility bill each month?
Try to get over the idea of "mood lighting" and set the trend for the neighborhood to be energy efficient without flood lights and candles. Then, install motion sensors for your outdoor lighting. That way, the lights are on when you need them (either when you or an unwanted stranger enters the property) and off when you don't.
Try to replace items with more energy efficient items as often as possible. Washing clothes in cold water rather than hot can save more than $150 a year for the average household. Hanging clothes to dry rather than using a clothes dryer will save an additional $150. Meanwhile, cooling a room with ceiling fans instead of a central air conditioning unit can save $600.
It's a small savings, but cooking meats in a crock pot rather than an oven can save money and make tastier dishes. A crock pot can cook for 3 hours and use only $0.03 while an electric oven uses $0.20 each hour. Using the crock pot for two meals a week can save $18 a year. It's minimal savings, but it's yummy savings!
About The Author: Kelly Ann Butterbaugh is a freelance writer who regularly contributes to a variety of magazines and has written a history book for middle readers. Visit her website for writing help, lesson plans, history fun, or work for hire at http://www.kellybutterbaugh.com
Great ideas, but we've tried those new light bulbs that are supposed to last longer and be more efficient and they don't last any longer than traditional bulbs. Plus, they are about twice or three times the price. What gives?
I replaced all my bulbs with those expensive new ones and none of them lasted as long as the old ones did! I am really disappointed with them.
And those new light bulbs have mercury in them and should not be thrown in the trash but brought to a store that accepts them for recycling. In 50 years we are going to hear all about how the landfills are filled with mercury.
In upstate New York our power company is now charging us a fee if we don't use as much energy as we did last year. They say this is because they counted on us using that much and if we don't they have to store it. It also costs more to deliver the gas and electric than in what we actually use.
I'm trying, I really am, but I wonder why sometimes.
Beth, I can relate! So true about the mercury. I'm glad I'm not the only one wondering what the heck is going on. Who comes up with these ideas and then forces them onto us? I've read that in the UK, it's just as bad re: CFLs being required.
I have started turning off my power strips at night. I have my computer, printer, etc on one. The TV and vcr are on another. I have one with the shredder and pencil sharpener. I only turn that one on when I need one of those things.
My bulbs are lasting a long time, but what I really need to know is, our regular range oven went out, and we couldn't afford to replace it, so we got a tiny convection oven, and a roaster oven. We can use our roaster oven for anything, as long as it fits. It's a GE model--it's the type that people used to only use to cook turkeys in, but this one has an oven rack, and I can make about anything in it with electricity. It's model number:169221, how do I find out about it's efficiency? The UPC number is 681131692212. We are using it all of the time now instead of the regular oven, and we love it. We have used oven safe dishes in it with no ill effect.
With just the two of us, we don't need to "fire up" a regular size range oven. So we are finding the smaller roaster oven and the small convection oven quite convenient, but I'm still not sure about their efficiency. The Rotisserie Convection Oven is also GE Model number 169220 17 with a upc 68113169220, even though they are smaller than our range oven, how do I find out that they are more efficient?
Also, because we are using both of these ovens, the Rotisserie Convection Oven, and the Roaster Oven, I can't use them at the same time because they are on the same circuit. And that means shutting one off, then sometimes preheating the other. If that makes any difference, other than letting the meat sit for a half an hour while making biscuits in the other. Even though our range stove is out, we can still use the gas stovetop. I'm just not sure it's okay with the new electric Roaster Oven, and the new Rotisserie Convection Oven. I haven't done a rotisserie chicken yet. How do I know?
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