Saving Electricity – Things that make you go DUH

by Stacy Taylor

You probably never thought this would be about utility conservation did ya? Well, this post will hopefully enlighten you on just how much electricity can be wasted. My wife started me on this adventure a while back when she read an article about electricity vampires. You’ve all probably heard of them, but some of these are going to make you go duh! Yep, we all know about those little phone chargers. When they’re plugged in, whether charging a phone or not, they are drawing electricity. But, again we all knew that one.

Saving Money On Electricity: A Guy's Perspective.  Everyone's trying to save money these days, but when it comes to electricity there are some ways you smack your head and say "DUH, why didn't I do that??" #TaylorMadeRanch

Did you know that your stereo and T.V. are also a constant power draw, even when they’re turned off? Absolutely, they draw power while on stand-by for whenever you’re ready to point that remote to turn it on. The conservation solution? Plug these into a power strip and turn it off when you go to bed and back on at night when you’re ready to watch the news.

Guys, what about those cordless power tool battery chargers. Yes I love my DeWalt and Ryobi cordless power tools, but that charger is always pulling power, even when not charging a battery. Unplug ’em until you need them. Power strips are cheap and easy to use, most have a switch that makes it easy to turn on and off. Start with one power strip and plug all your little chargers into it. Then instead of unplugging 4 or 5 chargers, simply turn off one switch.

Saving Money On Electricity: A Guy's Perspective.  Everyone's trying to save money these days, but when it comes to electricity there are some ways you smack your head and say "DUH, why didn't I do that??" #TaylorMadeRanch

Here’s one I’ll bet you never thought about. How many of you have a built in oven and microwave? That’s TWO clocks running all the time, one on top of the other. What a waste. And appliance manufacturers, what’s the point? In our house the oven doesn’t get used as much as the microwave so we turn off the breaker when it’s not in use. It only takes a matter of seconds to stroll out to the breaker box and flip a switch. Most boxes have the breakers labeled already.

Now lets talk about lights. We all need them, but do you really need 2 bulbs in that covered fixture. And do they need to be 75 or 100 watts. Try a single 60 watt bulb, especially in places like the closet or pantry where you don’t need a lot of light. Open windows shades to light up a room instead of turning on the light switch. It takes little natural light to brighten a room, and you would be surprised how much better you feel with natural light.

Skylights are great and can be installed during home construction.  Or you handymen can help light up a room by adding a tubular skylight. They’re surprisingly easy to install and are available at most home improvement stores. One of the best ways to conserve electricity is not to use it. I know you think that’s impossible but ask yourself this: When you go into another room to get something or walk into the closet or pantry to grab some chips, are you turning on that light because you need it to see or strictly out of habit? Think about that, this was one of my big “DUH” moments.

Saving Money On Electricity: A Guy's Perspective.  Everyone's trying to save money these days, but when it comes to electricity there are some ways you smack your head and say "DUH, why didn't I do that??" #TaylorMadeRanch

Sometimes we just have to re-train ourselves to doing things differently. It’s not difficult, but it does require a conscience effort to change. F.Y.I. our monthly electric bill averages just under $75. Honest! One person can change the world, but only if they tell someone else what they’re doing.  So it’s your turn to weigh in – what are your tips & tricks that work to lower electric use in your household?

~TMR~

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47 thoughts on “Saving Electricity – Things that make you go DUH

  1. Terri Presser

    Thank you for sharing these great power saving tips at Good Morning Mondays. The reminder to conserve energy is great and as you show there are many ways to do this. Thanks and blessings

    Reply
  2. Lana Popejoy

    We moved in March to an older home. One of the first things I did was call the electric company and set up an appointment for an energy audit. It cost me $100 but was money well spent. The audit uncovered things that needed fixed like wrapping the pipes from the hot water tank, discovering places where air is coming in, and giving lots of hints about ways to cut energy waste. Also, got a box of free stuff to help with the fixes like weather stripping and caulk.

    Reply
  3. Lisa @ Fun Money Mom

    I had to read this because my husband is always after me to turn off the lights (I’m trying to get better, I swear). I never thought about some of this things, especially the phone charger. I found your post very informative!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      LOL – I hear ya Lisa. But by being mindful of our electrical usage our monthly electric bill is just a tiny fraction of our neighbor’s so there’s some real savings to be had. ~TMR~

      Reply
  4. lin rader

    JUST FOUND YOUR BLOG…LOVE IT! I GREW UP IN THE COUNTRY IN A LITTLE WOODEN HOUSE WITH A COAL STOVE FOR HEAT. LOVED IT…I NEVER FELT DEPRIVED. MY MOM GAVE US SO MUCH LOVE THAT LITTLE HOUSE WAS FULL! SHE MADE EVERYTHING…CLOTHES, CANNING, GARDEN SEWING. WE HAD SO MUCH FUN, THEY NEVER SEEMED LIKE CHORES. THE ONE THING SHE NEVER MADE WAS HONEYSUCKLE JELLY! I CANT WAIT TIL NEXT SPRING TO MAKE IT. NEVER KNEW YOU COULD! I HAVE LOTS OF HONEYSUCKLE OUTSIDE. YUM! THANKS FOR THE RECIPE. YES, CORNBREAD IS NOT THE SAME UNLESS IT IS MADE IN A CAST IRON SKILLET. I HAVE ALL MY GRANDMAS AND WOULD NEVER LET THEM GO. LOOKING FORWARD TO BROWSING MORE IN YOUR SPACE. GOD BLESS!!! LIN

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      So glad you stopped by. I love your story about the wooden house with a coal stove. And yes, do try the honeysuckle jelly – it’s AMAZING. ~TMR~

      Reply
  5. Barb @ A Life in Balance

    Thanks for linking up at Fabulously Frugal Thursday. Your post is being featured on this week’s party.

    Reply
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  7. Lynn H @ Turnips 2 Tangerines

    Thanks for sharing on Four Seasons Blog Hop! My hubby and I were talking about this over the weekend~ Great tips~ Lynn @ Turnips 2 Tangerines

    Reply
  8. CTY

    About 2 years ago I began more aggressive steps to reduce the amount of electric I use. I do many of the suggestions mentioned in the post & comments. I will look into the Solatube (never heard of it before this post). But is there a way to “turn it off”? Two things I do: Reach for the hand kitchen gadgets and forgo the electric ones as much as possible. Like grabbing the whisk instead of the immersion blender. I also grab a screwdriver in place of the power driver when ever I can get away with it. Second thing I do is utilize fans. A slow fan moves the heat around so it doesn’t just hang at the ceiling. And a fan on our patio drawing cool air into the house reduces our dependence on the AC when the weather gets warm. We have had people over & they say–WOW that really keeps the house cool. To me it is a no-brainer because I grew up without AC (in NJ with very hot, humid summers). When I do a lot of cooking I have been known to turn the fan around and draw hot air out of the house. Here is a thought about the power strips that we use. Flipping the switch absolutely stops the usage; but it stops the surge protection ability too. I don’t want to leave items unprotected so I unplug the strip from the wall. I still use the strip because I like only unplugging one thing & I do want the surge protection when the items are in use. Thanks for the post–now on to saving electric, money & the planet 🙂

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Good for you for your creative ways to save electricity – I loved reading about them. Once you change your mindset, it’s an easy habit to remember to do those little things that add up to a lot. ~TMR~

      Reply
  9. Ashley @ PioneerMomma.com

    Love this. It’s amazing to see how much electricity we really use on a daily basis. Something I like to do is use candles around the house in the evening, instead of all the bright lights. It saves energy, and helps create a calming mood for everyone winding down from their day.

    Reply
  10. Rebecca | LettersFromSunnybrook

    I got myself an electricity measuring device for Christmas. I can plug it into an outlet and then plug any appliance into the device to get information on its electric use. I started a spreadsheet tracking the results. My husband looked at me like I was nuts and asked if I was really going to measure the electric use of everything in our home. Yep! I find this kind of thing strangely fascinating.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      I’ve read about those measuring devices Rebecca, how cool. It seems if people knew how much electricity some of their electrical things were using they’d certainly be turning them off when not in use. Knowledge is power! Good for you. ~TMR~

      Reply
  11. Becca @ The Earthlings Handbook

    Great article! I have given a lot of thought to minimizing lighting, and that really helps cut the electric bill. Another big power-saver is line-drying all the laundry.

    Reply
    1. Becca @ The Earthlings Handbook

      Oops! Your comment system says it allows href tags, but it does not actually publish the links. Here’s what I was trying to link to: Minimizing lighting: http://articles.earthlingshandbook.org/2008/10/17/tips-from-the-lightbulb-ninja/ Line-drying: http://articles.earthlingshandbook.org/2013/10/16/a-laundry-line-drying-system-that-will-work-for-you/

      Reply
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  14. Anny

    We have a Belkin surge protector with switch for the tv and its components. When we are done with the tv everything gets shut off but the DVR so it can record things. I also have a Belkin switch on the microwave. Its a little device that gets plugged in between the wall socket and the microwave with a switch on it. When I am done with the microwave I just turn it off.

    Reply
  15. Amy Thompson

    http://alabamachanin.com/journal/2012/06/wednesday-recipes-toddy/ Cold brewed coffee is really delicous; dare I say better than hot coffee? I started making my coffee with no heat in the beginning of the summer and put away my coffee maker, because it was so good. I don’t know what I’ll do when the weather gets cold, but this is definitely an electrical savings now

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Amy, drinking cooler drinks in the summertime also can help cool you from the inside out! 🙂 ~TMR~

      Reply
  16. Gloria

    We installed a solar tube right over my main work island in the kitchen and it’s been fabulous. Even works in winter with snow covering it. It works only with single floor dwellings like ours. Even at night the stars cast enough light, though dimmer, that we can walk around without turning on any lights. No more stubbed toes. No idea how much money we’ve saved on electricity but I’m sure it’s already paid for itself.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      We had a solar tube in a previous home and we loved it as well. Inexpensive, easy to install and surprisingly effective. 🙂 ~TMR~

      Reply
  17. Jacqueline @ deeprootsathome.com

    Tammy, You really inspire me to get past my immediate to-do list and look around at the money wasters like you mention here. I forget! This is so helpful to me and to many others, I would think. Keep up the excellent writing! I pray you have an amazing day! Blessings!

    Reply
  18. FLoza

    But by using wood burning stove we need wood. For finding wood we need to cut down a tree which is again a misuse of natural resources. So, rather than cutting a tree it will be better to use electricity. But yes we can save electricity by keeping the fans, lights and other electronics items switch off when we are not using those.

    Reply
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  22. Magi

    My favorite way to keep the power bill down is playing “furnace Nazi”. I used to turn the heat up and down according to my whims, but now I try to keep it set at 68 degrees and if I get cold, it probably means I need to get off my rump and build a fire or do some chores. Next in line is using the furnace for triple duty by placing our homestead drying rack over the floor register to dry clothes. This way the furnace heats the house, humidifies the dry winter air, and dries the clothes all with the same electricity we would have been using just for heat.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      LOL Magi, “Furnace Nazi”. We also try to moderate the HVAC temps to more moderate levels. A sweater when it’s a bit chilly is acceptable. I love the ideas you shared, thanks for stopping by! ~TMR~

      Reply
  23. Lisa Lynn

    We also unplug all that stuff 🙂 including the computer. Great info! Thanks for sharing on The HomeAcre Hop!

    Reply
  24. Alison Bayne (@Mumtopia_UK)

    To cut down on the electricity used by making coffees all day, I heat up water on the woodburning stove (which is our only source of heat most days) and use that instead. Often it doesn’t get boiling so I put it in the kettle and then boil it, but I figure it will at least mean the kettle isn’t working as hard as when it has to heat cold water to boiling. Best wishes from the UK – found you on on the Homestead Barn Hop.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Hi Alison, thanks for stopping by! I love your idea of using your wood-burning stove for hot water for your coffee. We have a wood-burning stove as well and although it’s not our primary heat source we use it alot. I like to keep a kettle of water on it for hot tea, plus it adds a little moisture in the air. 🙂 Thanks for sharing your idea! ~TMR~

      Reply
    2. Becca @ The Earthlings Handbook

      We also drink a lot of coffee, which we make in an electric percolator. It’s tempting to make a big batch and leave it plugged in to keep the coffee warm so we can have more later, but not only does this waste power, eventually it makes the coffee too strong and burnt-tasting. So we bought an insulated carafe. After pouring the first cup for everyone drinking coffee, we turn off the percolator and store the leftover coffee in the carafe. It stays hot for the rest of the day with no energy use.

      Reply
      1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

        I love our percolator Becca and love hearing someone else enjoys theirs as well. We try to remember to pour our coffee in the carafe so that it doesn’t use electricity to stay hot – we really need to get serious with using it again. ~TMR~

        Reply
  25. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

    Karen, I agree – the blog hops are and awesome way to learn all kinds of new things from all the great blogs that are linked in. I’ve truly enjoyed reading so very many of them! ~TMR~

    Reply
  26. KarenLynn@Lil' SuburbanHomestead

    I did a bunch of research on this a couple of years ago so at our living room computer station and our tv entertainment area we set up switches to turn them off completely no draw. However I am so grateful for this post because it is a great reminder and we need to do this at my son’s computer/xbox area and we need to do it in the kitchen too. I tell you I love all the blog hops because it is a place to learn what you never knew or relearn what you forgot about……By the way your ranch is absolutely beautiful maybe one day we will have a ranch too. So glad you guys linked this post up to “The Ole’ Saturday Homesteading Trading Post” blog hop this week!

    Reply
  27. Colin D

    Thanks for sharing! Since we have been living off-grid with a small solar set-up, my wife and I have become very aware of our electricity waste. Now whenever we are in a home that is on-grid the excess use of energy is so apparent. Its just so easy to not pay any attention to the things we have grown accustomed to. Found your post on the homeacre hop.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Oh man I would have loved to have been off-grid solar! We attempted it when we were planning construction but it was just out of reach for us. We did build our house using passive-solar and open design floor plan and with 2×6 heavily insulated exterior walls, solar decking in the attic, etc. It’s a pretty amazing difference in our utility bills from when we lived in our suburban home. Thanks for coming by and for your comment. ~TMR~

      Reply

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