Save on your electricity and water: handy tips

September 14, 2015

Most appliances in your home don't need to run 24/7 ― in fact, leaving them on can cost you a pretty penny. Here are some handy tips to cut your power and water usage so that you can save on your electricity and water.

Save on your electricity and water: handy tips
  • Some appliances use more power than others even when doing nothing.
  • Here's an estimate of how many watts some common appliances use on average even when turned off.
  • Portable stereo: 1 – 8
  • Component system: 1 – 16
  • DVD player: 1 – 13
  • 5 battery chargers: 1 for each battery
  • Printer: 4 – 6
  • Cable box: 5 – 25
  • Modem: 4 – 20
  • Satellite system: 10 – 20
  • Television: up to 23
  • Computer (sleep mode): 1 – 6
  • Monitor (sleep mode): up to 15

Water-use monitor

  • Outdoor water saver products, like water meters, are an easy, inexpensive way to monitor your outside water usage.
  • Simply attach a meter to the end of your garden hose and it will tell you how much water you're using outside.
  • The meter will monitor water usage up to 380 litres (100 gallons).
  • Just remember that when you turn off the water, the gauge starts over at zero.

Check your computer

  • Some computers draw as much as 250 watts, almost as much as an energy-efficient refrigerator.
  • To rein in your power-hungry processor, set your machine to go into "sleep" or "hibernate" mode when left unused for more than 30 minutes.
  • For more savings, turn off the processor, monitor, printer and speakers if they won't be used for more than two hours.
  • Cycling your computer on and off will not damage the system.

Use a digital meter reader or a plug-in meter

  • Plug-in meters that measure single devices.
  • Simply plug the unit into the wall, then connect the appliance to the meter.
  • The meter will tell you the operating cost of any household appliance per day, week, month or year.
  • A meter can show you how much money you can save with upgrades to older appliances.
  • Digital meter readers measure whole-house electricity use.
  • These meters attach to your meter or panel box to provide real time and average usage/cost information.
  • To find out how much all your energy vampires are costing you, turn off all your lights and unplug your refrigerator, then check the monitor.

Pull the plug

  • If an appliance has an indicator light, touch screen or feels the least bit warm to the touch, it's using power.
  • You can't unplug everything, but pulling the plug on a few items, such as the coffeemaker, battery chargers and DVD player, can save as much as turning off a light.

Strip stop

  • Surge protectors enable you to turn off multiple devices with one switch.
  • Some surge protectors automatically shut off peripherals when the main unit, such as your computer or TV, is turned off.
  • Others have "always on" receptacles for satellite boxes, modems and wireless routers.

Read the fine print

  • Manufacturers don't usually include standby power info on the box.
  • Choose appliances with fewer bells and whistles.
  • Also look for items that are tested and certified as energy efficient.
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