Learning how to reduce your electric bill is as simple as unplugging unused appliances in your home! According to the Department of Energy, about 75 percent of the electricity used to power home electronics is consumed while the products are turned off. Why is this? Because all these appliances contain devices which utilize power even when they appear to be off. Some are a little more obvious that other because they have novelties like a clock or a LED that indicated the device is plugged in and charging. Others have electronic components within that you can’t see, but are still consuming power even when supposedly turned off. Collectively, in the United States, it amounts to more than $4 billion a year of wasted energy. So what are some of the ways you can help reduce your electric bill?
Start by unplugging all the things you don’t regularly use. Items like TV s, VCR / DVD players, clocks, and night-lights all consume power even when turned off. To get an idea of just how much of your monthly bill is wasted electricity do the following:
- Go outside and find your power meter. Hopefully, you’ve seen one before. If not, it’ll be a square box with a glass dome sticking out the front of it. Some have a big disc with a black mark on it that spins horizontally, others just have a bunch of little dials. The newer models that the power company has recently started to install, have digital displays. On the dial type metere, just see if you can count the revolution of the fastest moving dial for about 15 seconds. On the newer digital ones, read the count, wait 15 seconds, read it again, and then figure the difference. Remember the count.
- Go back into your house, or apartment, and go room to room looking at every single socket. Unplug everything that you don’t normally turn on each day. Also for the sake of this demonstration, even consider items like toasters, can openers, coffee makers, microwaves, stereos, clock radios, air conditioning units, and battery chargers. Battery chargers are a big one to look for. Most people have chargers for cell phones, dust busters, portable tools, shavers, and cameras. Since I mentioned batteries, another good tip to remember is that the life of a battery that is constantly on a charger has a considerably shorter life than one that is allowed to run down before being recharged.
- Once everything is turned off, go back out to your meter and look at the dial again. Time the rotations, and notice how much it’s slowed down. All the items you turn off are “energy vampires.” This term has been around since before 2001 and refers to those little appliances with two teeth (the plugs) that suck up your electricity all night. If you want to see just how much power some of these items really waste, visit the government Standby Power website.
- If you can, try to keep as many of these items unplugged for a whole month. When you get your next bill, you can expect to start seeing the monthly charge decrease. It is possible to see a reduction of up to a 20 percent! Twenty percent is a lot, so always remember to unplug and turn off your ‘”energy vampires” when not in use. Don’t just turn them off, unplug them! Do you really need the clock on your microwave? Unplug it. Do you have a nightlight burning in an unused room? Unplug it. Even your cell phone power pack draws power when left plugged in and unused, so unplug it!
If you’ve lasted a whole month of turning off and unplugging appliances, you should have noticed a nice drop in your monthly power bill. Great! The next stage is to start buying greener energy efficient products. When choosing replacements, look for products with the Government ENERGY STAR logo on them!
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the ENERGY STAR logo is the trusted, government-backed symbol for energy efficiency. The label was established to:
“Reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants caused by the inefficient use of energy; and make it easy for consumers to identify and purchase energy-efficient products that offer savings on energy bills without sacrificing performance, features, and comfort.” – U.S. Department of Energy, www.energystar.gov
Of course there are numerous ENERGY STAR rated products on the market, and you can’t be expected to run right out and replace everything with something more efficient. However, as your older household items wear out, chose energy efficient brands when replacing them.
Most people really don’t understand that simple by leaving appliances plugged in when not in use can raise your monthly electric bill by 20 percent. Try my helpful tips to learn what items in your household are sucking up all the extra power and costing you money. Learn to unplug appliances when you are done using them, and finally, when it is time to replace older items, look for the ENERGY STAR rated products and start saving!