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28 August 2007

Saving electricity

I went back to work yesterday, and had a meeting following work, so I didn't get a chance to come back at all yesterday. It was a long day. I'm also in a rush this morning as I have a lot of things to do before I go back to work, and I overslept an hour. So I'm going to rely of you all to add to the comments here which will be part of the post on how to save electricity. I'd like to know how everyone does it. Please tell us your strategies as you might be doing something we haven't thought about that will save us energy and money. When all the comments are in, I'll compile a master list that will be posted during the week for us all to share.

We have done all the usual things here like:

  • Exchange all old electricity globes with compact fluros.
  • Turn off appliances at the wall. Reorganise your appliances to make this as easy as possible.
  • Turn off all those chargers with a black box on them at the wall, every time you finish charging. Those things really suck up the power, even when they're not charging but still "on".
  • When buying new appliances, always buy the best energy rating you can afford.
  • Sweep the floor instead of vacuuming, wash up by hand instead of using the dishwasher.
I found this excellent site about electricity in general, which has a lot of hints and explanations. It's an American site but much of the information relates to most of us.

As soon as you finish reading this, I want you all to turn your computers to standby mode. Read about it here:

Don't forget to continue your monitoring of your meter until you get to understand how you are using your energy. Read it the same time each day, record your readings and what appliances you used on that day.

So now it's over to you. Please add your electricity saving tips. Please be generous and share what you know with us.


  1. Get one of those programmable thermostats for your furnace. They are SO easy to install that this blonde, dizzy-head can install it in ten minutes flat. Set the thermostat five degrees lower/higher (depending on the season) at night. Hey! You're asleep and can either use more blankets or fewer. This took $25. USD off of our bill per month!!

    If you don't have little ones, you might consider turning the thing completely off at night, and turn it on when you get up to use the loo.

    Also... table-top cookers (not a crock pot). I use the Nesco brand. (google it) This has also saved energy as I don't have to heat the whole oven.

  2. For the last couple of months I've been turning of the computer monitor when I move away from it :)
    I will adjust the power options now to get it to go into stand by mode after 5 mins of non use.

    Also I
    * make sure appliances are turned of at wall
    * keep light usage to a minimum
    * rareluy use dishwasher ~ it was in house when we bought it.
    * only do full loads of washing
    * don't let rice cooker sit on warm after rice is cooked any more!

  3. This one might sound silly but it also aligns itself with simple living - go to bed earlier. The earlier you go to bed, the less you'll use lights, the TV, computer, etc, etc. Ever since I've tried going to bed earlier (some nights I do, others I don't) I've found that when the alarm goes off in the morning I can wake up without hitting snooze a million times and that I get more done with my day. If I stay in bed for awhile to read in the morning, I make sure that I open the curtain rather than leave a light on.

    Also...we use our mobile phone alarms rather than an electric alarm clock.

  4. Ali, I was wondering did you find out about the difference in electricity rates during the peak day and night rates?? I tried ringing but got lost on hold....Why I ask, is that I was thinking that to reduce my bill even further that perhaps instead of doing my washing (particularly towels/non-crease stuff) in the morning that I should put on a load in the evening to hang out first thing in the morning. I have been told that night rate?? is significantly cheaper. Just a thought at the moment..Bella

  5. Great list of ideas to save electricity.

    No matter what part of the globe we are on, we all need to save energy.

    I have 7 posts on my site that may help add to your list of ways to save electricity. Please put them to work for your readers.

    They are in the SAVE ElECTRICTY category.

    Birney Summers

  6. Bella ~ I did call Ergon Energy and the guy I spoke to was extremely helpful. I told him I was writing everything down as I was auditing the power usage!!

    Tarrif 11 is 24hrs and includes ALL power switches and lights so is basically everything in the house. The cost is 15.455 cents per Kilowatt/Hour. Plus there is the supply charge of $5.94 per month.

    We also have Tarrif 31 which is Super Economy and it is for things which are on for a minimum of 8hrs and wired directly to the power and it the hot water system at our house. It is power supplied between 10pm and 7 am and is charged at 6.303 per KW/Hr. Plus there is a supply charge of $4.14 per month.

    I asked if I put my washing machine on in those times will I be charged less, the answer is NO :(

    There is also a Tarrif 39 that you can have instead of T 31, not as well as. This is more items on for minumum of 18hrs. Most people use it if they have swimming pools, for the pump. Power on this rate is cut out from 7-10 am and 6-9pm.

    Hope this usefull to you. :) Ali

  7. We have a 3 in 1 light fitting in our bathroom which contains the light exhaust fan and heater. I took out the globes for the heat because I found that the children were putting this on even in summer.

  8. There are two of us living here and we do all the things Rhonda mentioned. Our computer and all it's hangers on :-) are turned off when the computer is not in use and we have cut down the time used, hugely.
    We also watch TV much less than we used to but that is mainly because there's rarely anything worth watching.
    We go to bed early but one little thing we do until then is to use a solar camping lamp in the evenings when we don't need strong light. We really like it and plan on buying another with birthday money so that we can both move about the house without needing to turn on light switches - we've gone solar :-)
    We have given up using many electrical appliances especially things like the coffee maker, sandwich maker etc. I packed them away in a cupboard for three months to see if would miss them and we forgot all about them.

    I haven't been able to eliminate ironing all together yet but have reduced the amount and no longer care about looking a little creased.

  9. Thanks Ali !!! its good to know about our billing :( shame about washing at night. Bella

  10. One thing of interest that I read recently pertained to appliances. Things like microwaves and ovens that contain digital clocks use up electricity just by keeping the clock on. I use a battery operated alarm clock instead of a plug in radio alarm. It works fine for me.

  11. My suggestion is "snuggle up" instead of turning on the heater get a rug and snuggle with you loved ones on the lounge, you can always dress warmer too.

  12. We used 12 kwh yesterday.
    It was 95 degrees F with high humidity so everyone was camped around their fan.
    Things we do to lower electrical usage:
    1. no clothes dryer
    2. no dishwasher
    3. turn on hot water heater for 1 hour a day
    4. no light bulbs on. If it is dark, we go to bed.
    5. battery or key wind clocks in all rooms
    6. all appliances, tv, and computer unplugged when no in active use
    7. no AC, no electric heater. Just a woodburning stove in the winter and fans in the summer.

    So many more, but those are the biggest 7. We are working our way down to 9 kwh. We are almost there. Once this heatwave breaks we shouldn't have any problems.


  13. Most of the salient points have been covered :) I especially agree with not using the dryer (I use a clothes line).

    I also try not to turn on lights unless I really need them. For example, my bathroom has a good sized window, so when I shower during the day I usually leave the light off and just use the daylight.

    We haven't done this personally, but I know in Germany a lot of families put their hot water heater on a timer. It is set to be at it's "hottest" whenever folks are usually going to take their showers, and cooler the rest of the day. (I know because I used to take showers at odd hours due to being in the military and their usually was only cold water. ick)

    A different tact is actually to spend money to save money. We are buying an old house with single pane windows, and we are planning on installing those insulative honeycomb blinds-they are NOT cheap, but should pay for themselves in a couple of years in heat/electricity saved.

  14. Good Morning from Idaho, Everyone -
    I went online to my utilities company yesterday & printed out some energy use charts. The most interesting one what the "Energy Used When Devices are OFF" They call these 'Parasitic Loads' (LOVE the term!) for devices that take energy when they are in the off condition & are leaking power. Using they're cost (.07/kWh), for the devices I have (television, VCR, DVD player, CD Player) the monthly cost is .89 - but for a year, that would be $10.68 -- for things that are supposedly off! Also, they have Cordless Phone listed which I don't know is the same as a cell phone...but that add's another $1.66/year.

    I have added power strips to my living room devices (mentioned above) & only keep my TV plugged in. When I switch off the TV, I also switch off the power strip. I also have power strips for my computer, printer & monitor and in the kitchen for my microwave. I don't use the clock on the microwave, so there's no reason for it to be on when I'm not using the appliance.

    A big savings for me is to shut the dishwasher off & open the door after it's finished washing & let the items air dry. Adds moisture to the air AND I can put certain things in that wouldn't be dishwasher safe if they were dried in there (I'm thinking all the plastic containers I use for my lunches during the week).

    One thing I'm going to do, after reading these charts: a black&white TV takes less electricity than a color: I have an old B&W from years ago that I've set up in the kitchen for watching the evening news. This will accomplish 2 things: I'll watch the news while working in the kitchen & therefore prepare better meals for myself AND it will keep me from planting my butt on the couch to "watch the news" and find I'm still there at bedtime!

    I'm enjoying reading all the other hints - thank you AGAIN, Rhonda, for starting this topic/exercise.


  15. Sorry, I forgot about this! For the coming winter, I'd like to make these window quilts. I've looked at the thrift store & there always seems to be mattress pads on the shelves - thought they would make a good base for them.

    (If you have a chance, look around at this site a little more - fascinating!)

    Carla in North Idaho

  16. Hi

    Am trying to cut back on fuel usage these days. One point though - I originally thought that these so-called "ecological" lightbulbs were a good idea - but have since read that they contain mercury and are a .... to dispose of because of this. So - in view of this (and the embodied energy tied-up in my dimmer light switches - which would need changing if I used these lightbulbs) I am refusing to use them and sticking to the standard ones. At least I dont have to worry how to safely dispose of standard ones or waste perfectly good dimmer light switches!


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