April 21, 2009

Pull The Plug & Save

About a year ago I pulled the plug. Appliances plugged in and in standby were supposed to make things easier and be more convenient, but now I have realized I don't even think twice about plugging things back in.

It was easy to get started and cost me nothing in the first swipe of the house. First I went around to each room and unplugged things that I only use on occasion. Things like: the microwave, toaster, coffee pot, cell phone chargers, computer printer and computer, when I not sitting in front of it. Also the heating pad, hair dryer, Zune charger and portable radio.

Then on the next shopping trip I purchased three power strips. These went to the three Entertainment systems in our home. They even have new strips out now called; Smart Power Strips. This strip is revolutionary in its design as it knows when power is not needed and can turn itself off. There are three outlet types on the Smart Power Strip; the Control, Constant Hot and Switched. The Control is where you plug in your computer or TV. The Constant Hot outlets are always on, and here is the fascinating part. The Switched outlets are tied to the Control outlet. When the electronic device that is plugged into the Control is off...the Switched outlets are automatically turned off...saving electricity.

So what have I saved by pulling the plug.

It is reported that the savings are relatively small, about 5%.
But, a four-person family with two cell phone chargers, two computers, a microwave, a stereo, a DVD player, and two televisions: could have a total phantom energy load of 30.1 watts. This equates to .7224 kWh of energy per day or 264 kWh a year. In dollars that adds up to approximately $60 a year at the average current electricity rate.

For the entire United States, this could add up to 65 billion kWh/year, which equals $5.8 billion in savings as well as eliminating 87 billion pounds of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere.

Hmm, my car cost $20 to fill and I can go two weeks on a tank. Kind of like getting 1 1/2 months of free gas. Or maybe it's lunch and a movie or four months worth of hair cuts. At any rate, it's kind of like getting paid to lower my carbon footprint and I like that.


  1. Nice. It's the little things we don't ever think about!
    I had not heard about those power strips. I will see if I can find them.
    I don't burn alot of lights, but am guilty of leaving things pluggen in or the porch light on.

  2. I used to be guilty of the porch thing too, but I replaced the porch lights with the 60W Incandescent Equivalent, ENERGY STAR bulbs and now I don't feel quite as bad if I forget.

    The neighbors moved out of the townhouse next to us and left with the front porch light on a couple weeks ago. I even stopped over one day to see what kind of bulb was left on. Luckily it was an energy star bulb and I didn't have to replace it, LOL.