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Paul LaGrange

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Paul LaGrange: Are your appliances costing you extra money?

You thought you were saving energy by turning off the TV, the radio, the curling iron, etc. - .but they are still draining your pocketbook and pumping up your utility bill. It seems a little creepy, but I guess that’s why they’re called “vampire” loads and wall “warts.”  

Those little (and big) appliances and electronics that seem to be in the “off” position as you stumble off to bed at night or rush out of the door in the morning are only in a sort of “sleep” mode that can make up as much as 5 - 10% of your electric bill each month.  In our fast food culture, everyone wants their appliances to turn on instantly, so manufacturers have created televisions and gaming systems that never really turn off so that consumers don’t have to wait for them to warm up when turned on.  Cell phone chargers, battery chargers, iPod chargers, and all the other “chargers” are called wall warts because even though the electronic device is not plugged in, these chargers still pull a charge from the socket they are plugged into.

OK, so you’ve suddenly realized that eliminating these hidden loads could afford you a 5 - 10% savings on your monthly energy bill, which translates into an extra 3 or 4 cups of PJ’s coffee you can fit into your budget.  This is great motivation to make use of the following solutions…

Replace those appliances and electronics that draw electricity 24 hours per day with more efficient electronics and appliances. Energy Star appliances often use much less standby power.  This option can be very expensive, so unless you are ready to fork out a lot of money, let’s move to option 2.

Buy something like a Smart Strip, which is a type of power strip that turns off when the power usage of the first device on the strip is ramped down as it goes into sleep mode. It switches back on when that device’s energy usage ramps back up. This prevents the constant draw of power from all the devices without unplugging each one every time you are finished with it.
The most inexpensive way to kill those vampires is to unplug each device after turning them off.  

I don’t know about you, but my home and office is chocked full of chargers, electronic devices, computers, printers, network devices, and small appliances, so if I chose this option, I’d have to hire a full time vampire slayer to unplug every device when it’s not in use.  

Keep your eyes open for new technologies that offer less and less use of standby power and beware of all that energy being sucked from your home when everything is “sleeping.” 

For more info on how to save energy and improve comfort levels in your home or office, visit LaGrange Consulting’s website at www.lagrangeconsulting.com or call us at 985-845-2148.

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07/04/2014 6:33PM
Paul LaGrange: ​Are your appliances costing you extra money?
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