Re: Simple ways to 'find' money

tangerine_z6March 14, 2008

Chelone, I am very interested in the idea of having regularly used items like the computer and stereo on surge protectors that are switched off when not in use. You seem to have saved quite a bit of money that way. I have always been confused about whether or not to leave the computer on when not in use, having heard a hundred different arguments for each side. Is the reduction in electricity because things draw a certain amount just by being plugged in? Thanks for any light you can shed on this. Tangerine

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Yeah, basically. When I was a little kid, TVs had to "warm up" before you could see the picture; they introduced "solid state" appliances shortly thereafter and when you turned them on, voila! instant picture. Why? simple! the TV was constantly drawing electricity to keep it "warmed up". The only thing that was actually "off" was the picture.

Fast forward to today. Same thing, basically. Think about every appliance in your home that has a clock or a timer on it... it's electricity that keeps those clocks working, keeps the LCDs lit, keeps everything ready to go when you "turn it on".

I read more than a few articles about saving electricity and "killing the vampires" was the central focus in every article ("vampires" are appliances that are ON even when you think they're off). So we decided to give it a whirl for a month/two. Every thing electrical associated with our computers was plugged into a "strip". So was the TV, DVD player, stereo equipment, so was the helpmeet's musical equipment. We made a concerted effort to shut off the strips when we were finished with the equipment. We unplugged the toaster, too! And our electric bill went down by nearly 50%!

Interestingly, we did it initially as a way to demonstrate respect for our environment... a way to cut down on the amount of fossil fuels OUR home consumes. Imagine what a difference we could make if we ALL gave it a whirl? And it isn't hard to do, you just have to THINK about doing it.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2008 at 3:32PM
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Thank you chelone. I am embarking on a program to reduce my electricity use right away. Very interesting about the vampires.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2008 at 8:58AM
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I always unplug my coffee maker, as it has a clock and this clock gets warm, so guess how much wasted electricity is used by just one coffee pot. Very very sad.

The stove and microwave above it both have clocks, these two are not that easy to switch off when not in use :(

    Bookmark   March 16, 2008 at 9:15AM
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This is good information from Chelone.

We've been switching our incandescents to CFLs. Our entire kitchen (except under counter, which are few; and the rangehood halogen) is now on CFL. Additionally, because they are brighter with a tiny amount of wattage, I don't have to turn on as many lights.

Our entire master bath is CFL.

Our reading lamps that we use every evening are CFL. Our "night light" built in to the stairwell wall is CFL.

My husband said that we used 30% less electricity in February 2008 compared to February 2007. It's hard to measure about the climate differences for heating between last Feb and this Feb ...we have a dual-fuel heating system with natural gas and, we don't know how that impacted the figures.


    Bookmark   March 16, 2008 at 2:14PM
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tishtoshnm Zone 6/NM

I just started switching to CFLs. I did the ceiling fan in the office where I work and I will do one area each month. I have to say though, I am not crazy about the change in light quality. I am focusing on the room where lights are left on for extended periods. I am hoping to see a little change next month. I would unplug the coffee maker but Dh hates resetting the clock and alarm every night. I just found some more surge protectors so I will be placing the TV and other electronics on one this week and the microwave too. Our ovens are hardwired that clock will continue to be on.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2008 at 6:10PM
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One thing to remember about fluorescent fixtures and CFLs is that they last longest when not continually switched on and off. We have a utility closet with a door-controlled fluorescent light fixture. That function would have been much better served with a regular incandescent light source.

Thanks to reading this today, I'm going to start unplugging my notebook computer whenever it's hibernated or turned off. This one is so easy - I can just unplug the power cord from the computer, I don't even have to reach down for the floor or wall plug.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2008 at 12:39PM
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