Ever wonder how much energy is used and what it costs every time the kids open the refrigerator door and leave it open or better yet the freezer or the refrigerator while they’re scrounging for what they want to eat?
Learning How Much Energy Your Stuff Uses
There’s all kinds of tools out there to help your kids see that there’s really a cost associated with standing in front of the refrigerator for five minutes. There’s a cost associated with running the blow dryer, with taking a 20-minute shower. With the platform of tools available on the internet these days, there are a lot of fun tools and calculators out there that can help you understand what these different pieces of our easy and convenient lifestyle cost us because they do all have a cost. And while we keep bringing more electric things in, even if they are more efficient, it adds up.
There are a few different ways to find the costs of using all of our cool electric and electronic stuff. To get an accurate, on-the-spot reading, try a Kill A Watt® (this is not a product endorsement, this is just the only product like this that I am aware of). It’s a device you plug the appliance or gadget into and it shows how much electricity it uses. ,
There are some new energy programs that also will help you gauge the various uses. Often your local utility will offer programs and/or calculators.
Finding Your Energy Costs
You might try “How Much Energy Does My Stuff Use?” – a website to help you calculate electricity costs of individual gadgets and appliances. You can find it in the HomeNav Resources and here. If you put in your electric cost, it will tell you what it cost to run that item. For instance, if you leave your coffee pot on for 8 hours a day, it will tell you what it costs to run that. You might decide to turn the coffee pot off earlier.
We are so fortunate to have some many electric conveniences in our homes and lives but I feel that we tend to forget that they have a cost. Many appliances and electronics have a stand-by mode to allow a remote to be used or to keep settings or a clock going. They they still use power even when they’re on standby. It’s called “phantom power” or “vampire power”.
Understanding the electricity and dollar costs of our gadgets and conveniences helps us to better decide when we really want to keep them on and make decisions about where we want to make different choices.
Reducing Phantom Electric Costs
An easy way to reduce phantom power costs, especially with electronic equipment, is to use a “Smart Strip”. (There is a product with this name but again, this is not an endorsement.) It is a power strip that has different sections for devices that need to stay on all the time and another section for things that can be turned off.
For instance, your Wi-Fi router is a device that you don’t want to t
urn the power off to because it likely controls a lot of things in your home. With a “Smart Strip,” you would plug it into the “always on” section. Other devices that can be turned on or off without problems can be plugged into the section that the strip turns off. Innovations like the “smart strip” make it easy to control and save electricity. If it’s easy, then you will be more likely to do it. That makes a lot of sense to me. Look for them next time you are visiting your favorite electronics store or website.
Kids and Energy Use
If you want to get the family on board get on the energy calculator and show your kid(s) and other household members how much money it takes to keep that refrigerator open for 5 minutes while they’re deci
ding what to eat. It might change their mind a little if it comes out of their allowance. For more ideas, log in (or sign up) to HomeNav and check out the resources in the “Conserving Energy and Water” section. Good luck! If you have any other tricks that you know of to help understand your electrical costs and your energy costs, We would love to hear about them.