Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Dude, turn off your power strips when you're out and save money!

I'm serious, try this at home!

Plug all your computer, printer, lights, cable box, wireless router, stereo, DVD player, TV, etc in one or two power strips. You know, the stuff you don't have on when you're not home and the stuff that you don't need to have on while you're out.

Then before you leave your house/apartment each day turn off the power strip. (You will, of course, have to turn it back on when you come home, and your cable TV and router may take a minute or two to start up. But if you can hold back the addiction a few minutes, your wallet will be heavier each month because of it.)

When you're not using them UNPLUG your microwave, coffee maker, toaster, and other SmALL kitchen appliances (don't turn off your oven or refrigerator, please). Or just turn off the powerstrip in your kitchen (if you have a place big enough that you have a kitchen), where all the little appliances are plugged in.

Unplug your hair dryer, curling iron, straightener, electric toothbrush, etc. Even unplug your A/C when you're not at home.

I did this just for shits and giggles for a month after my friend, Jee, told me a friend of hers did it but she wasn't sure she was going to try it. When i got my next bill I had reduced it by $17 (which my average bill is about $30). So I kept doing it. Then I switched from traditional energy to ConEd Solutions (a blend of various environmentally friendly options) which was a few cents per KwH higher than traditional energy supply. And my bill was still lower year-on-year monthly comparisons. THEN! THEN! After a year of this, I recently switched to wind-energy only (again through ConEd) and I'm still lower year-on-year monthly spending on electricity and gas than I was.

So now I'm all happy that I'm saving money and using only wind-powered electricity (assuming all the informational packets from ConEd are truthful, and I hope they are). Hooray for me and my self-righteous saving of my money and environmental guilt. You should try it yourself.

If it doesn't work as part of your daily routine, then try it the next time you take a vacation. Going away for the weekend? week? two weeks? a month (lucky you!)? Try it. You won't be there to know the difference and when your bill comes the following month, you will absolutely see a lower $$ due.

Here's some more reading about it from Ideal Bite. (I get the daily biter newsletters.)
"Turning it off" and using motion sensors to save energy and money, too. Article is called "Is clapping the easiest way to turn on the lights?"

NB This all assumes that you have your electricity priced by actual readings. If your home or building is billed by estimates, then you won't see a difference the next month. If you can, get your local energy company to take actual monthly readings. No sense overpaying (which you will) based on estimates if you can avoid it. Some buildings it's not possible to get actual readings, and sometimes they'll let you do your own readings over the phone with them if YOU can get to your meter. I could go on, but I won't.

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