Saturday, March 07, 2009

Saving money on your power bills!

A friend sent me this, because I’d bragged about unplugging everything in the house that I could before we went on our cross country trip last summer. I can tell you that it sure saved us a bunch of money. The only things we left plugged in were the refrigerator and stove, and the stove only because it is too big to move to unplug, LOL! Our power consumption went down considerably, enough so that our annual budget was paid in full for December, January and part of February too!
I’d like to tell you where this came from, but I don’t know, but based on personal experience I think it is pretty accurate.

It's well-known that most electronic devices in our homes are sucking up energy even while they are turned off. But for all the information out there, many questions remain. I got hundreds of reader questions after writing the post What's wasting energy in your home right now.

Which electronic devices waste the most energy when they are turned off but still plugged in?

Set-top cable boxes and digital video recorders are some of the biggest energy hogs. Unfortunately, there's little consumers can do since television shows can't be taped if boxes are unplugged. It also typically takes a long time to reboot boxes.

However, some of the other major consumers of standby power are more easily dealt with: computers, multifunction printers, flat-screen TVs, DVDs, VCRs, CD players, power tools, and hand-held vacuums. The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) measured standby power for a long list of products.

While it's true each individual product draws relatively little standby power, the LBNL says that when added together, standby power can amount to 10% of residential energy use.

Why do electronic devices use energy when they are switched off?

Electronics consume standby power for one of two reasons, says Chris Kielich of the Department of Energy. They either have an adapter that will continue to draw electricity, or they have devices (such as clocks and touchpads) that draw power. Anything with a remote control will also draw standby power, she says, since the device needs to be able to detect the remote when it's pushed.

Does everything suck energy when it's plugged in and turned off?

No. If your coffeemaker or toaster doesn't have a clock, then it's probably not using standby power, says Kielich. Chances are your hair dryer and lamps (although they may have a power adapter for the dimmer) are not drawing standby power either, she says. Devices with a switch that physically breaks the circuit don't consume standby power.


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Thanks for understanding
Marge