Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Part of a post on Dollar Stretcher Community called Conserving our budgets reminded me of some research I'd done in the past about "leaking electricity," or appliances that use electricity constantly, whether they're "on" or not.

Any electronic device or appliance with an "instant-on" feature (most have this now), uses a trickle of electricity all of the time that it's plugged in. TV's, answering machines, cordless phones and microwaves are good examples of this. Other electronic appliances that are rechargeable are often made to be left on the charging transformer between uses, which constantly draw a trickle of electricity.

According to American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, the average American household pays 5% of its electricity bill for these phantom loads.

I've found that the best way to minimize this waste is to put appliances on power strips with an on/off switch. If you can put several of them on one strip, you can turn them all off at once. Since it can be a problem to get to some wiring, using a power strip also simplifies that problem.

After I did the research, I walked around my home counting instances of wasted electricity and, to tell the truth, I was ashamed at what I found. Today, I repeated the exercise and found that I'd become lax about it, so it's off to the store for another power strip and a little rearranging of some electronics.

Power strips are not expensive so it won't take long to recoup the cost. With summertime coming on, when electricity use usually rises, I'm all for saving wherever I can.


  1. This is such a great idea! I've always felt a little guilty for not unplugging stuff, because I thought it would be such a pain to go around turning them off one by one. And then of course turning them back on one by one. I never thought to consolidate- so much easier. I am so going to do this. Thank you:)

  2. If you have time, go to a great website by Mike Killian, he is still hard at work, spreading information for the public, on how to stay out of debt, and frugal living. Go to, this website, and enjoy the information, and keep comming back! Thanks for the time,

  3. "Mom," I found Mike after he left About, and followed him to his blog some time ago. It's linked from my blogroll to the left of your comment. I'm a great fan of his, always have been, thanks!