Friday, July 30, 2010

Frugal Friday: Giving Up the Ghost

Who knew that the blinking 12:00 on the VCR growing up not only tortured Dad but also robbed money out of his wallet?

Did you know when your gadgets and appliances are turned off, they still use electricity? This is called standby energy or phantom energy, and it means that you are paying for electricity you're not actively using, like the light on your doorbell or the clock on any of your appliances.

Though it is estimated that phantom energy only accounts for 5-10% of homeowners electricity use, people are saving a lot more than that in dollars! That little percentage may not sound like much until you realize that's up to 1 month's bill worth every year!

Depending on how many things you have at home with a glowing light/clock/remote/charger, you can reduce your monthly bill by 30-50% a month! Some of my online friends have reported saving $100-$150 a month. In our area, it may be more like $10-$50 a month, again depending on your number of plugged in gadgets.

To combat paying for phantom energy loss, unplug things when not in use. If this is a hassle because of the location of the plug or number of electronics in one place, plug them into power strips that you can easily click on or off.

Here are some things you can unplug when not in use or put on a power strip:
  • microwave (the clocks use more power than the ovens themselves)
  • digital clocks on things (if you don't mind the blinking 12:00)
  • stereo
  • television (Be aware: some cable boxes lose all their data when unplugged)
  • DVD player
  • VHS player
  • lamps
  • box or oscillating fans
  • sewing machine
  • computer
  • computer monitors
  • computer printer
  • external hard drives
  • speakers
  • chargers for digital cameras
  • chargers for cell phones
  • charging power tools
  • adapters with rechargeable battery-powered cordless phones
  • blender
  • toaster oven
  • hairdryer
  • electric toothbrush
  • lighted mirrors
  • decorative lights
  • baby monitor
  • Glade or other plug-in air freshener
  • anything with a glowing light
  • anything with a remote

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