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.
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.
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.
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?