If you have ever asked yourself, "how can I save money on electricity costs," you are not alone. We are all dependent on electricity for not only our basic needs (cooking, cleaning, lights, heat) but also for those things that add to our standard of lining (TV, computers, video games, microwave, etc.) As sources for oil and natural gas dry up (and they will...we just don't know when), electricity will play an even larger part of our lives. We will likely find ourselves driving electric cars, which will require recharging at home.
Saving money on electrical costs is not just a case of using it less often. Sure, you could let your hair dry by itself rather than use the hair dryer, but if you really want to use the hair dryer this is more of a sacrifice than savings. To really save money, you need to figure out how to do the same stuff, but for less money! To start with, it makes sense to stop paying for power that isn't being used for any purpose at all! Here are a few basic ideas, with the idea of eliminating waste:
- Don't leave things turned on when you aren't using them. This includes lights, of course, so simply turning them off when you leave the room makes sense (yes, even fluorescent lights -- they don't draw that much current when being turned on, so don't fall for that myth that you'll save money by keeping them on). You can install light switches that activate only when there is someone in the room, which will make a huge difference. Bathrooms and hallways are perfect for this.
- Lights aren't the only thing that can be turned off. Coffee pot warmers don't need to stay on! You can nuke your coffee in the microwave for a few seconds, rather than leave the burner on for hours at a time. You'll use less electricity and have better tasting coffee. Televisions, radios, ceiling fans all get left on for hours at a time even when no one is there. Some devices have built-in timers that automatically turn themselves off after a certain amount of time. Use them and save money!
- Beware vampires! There are many devices that continue to draw electricity even when they are turned off. In some cases this is to allow the device to be ready to use more quickly. For instance, televisions keep the tube "warm" so it can display a picture more quickly after being turned on. How valuable is that extra few seconds? Is it worth paying for hours of wasted electricity? At the very least these devices should be unplugged when you go away for any length of time. If you aren't sure which devices draw power even when turned off, ask yourself what gets affected by power outages. Anything that needs reprogramming, or has a longer than normal delay after being turned on is almost certainly drawing power even when turned off.
- Computers and all their peripherals are a major drain on electricity. True, turning off your computer requires a lengthy boot-up time when you turn it back on, but if you are going out for several hours, or going to bed for the night, it makes no sense at all to have the computer left on. For shorter away-time, at least turn off the monitor or use the power-saving features that come with most computers. Also, printers and other devices should be turned on only when you need to use them -- unless printing a page within seconds is a life and death situation. Lastly, routers and other networking devices don't need to stay on all the time. If the computers are all turned off, then these devices should be turned off as well. Since most of them don't have power switches, they should be plugged into a power bar that can turn them all off at once.
Most of these money-saving ideas are pretty obvious, and you have almost certainly heard them all before. But ask yourself: are you actually doing all of them? Probably not, but you should be and here's why: it is the easiest method of saving money on electricity. If you aren't willing to do these simple things, then you aren't likely to take advantage of any of the others that I will be presenting in my upcoming articles either. And that just means you'll continue to pay through the nose for electricity that you aren't even using.
You can look for my other articles on this topic by clicking on my author profile. Also, links will be provided on my blog on homemade energy. Check it out for even more tips.