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Clueless
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Post some ideas for conserving energy. Someone may do something noone else has thought of.

Before I read on the news that our power bills are going up I purchased a surge protector with individual switches for home theatre setup. So my ps3, wii, surround sound, tv, etc aren't all consuming electricity on stand by modes. Now I think it is a good move based upon the rate hike. I plan on purchasing another for my laptop, cell chargers, ipod charger, and keyboard. Until then I am going to be more conscious about unplugging them when not in use, along with kitchen appliances. I already keep my heater on 68 in the winter and 78 in the summer. I normally only wash clothes on cold/cold. But I do not let dishes in the dishwasher air dry.

So what do you do to conserve energy?
 

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This is a serious questions, I'm not trying to be a prick here.

For the cost of buying one of the surge protectors, does it actually conserve enough energy to recoup the money you spent buying it? I realize you have to actually shut the electronics off for it to work, but just wondering if its worth it.
 

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NRA Certified Instructor
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Wolfram said:
This is a serious questions, I'm not trying to be a prick here.

For the cost of buying one of the surge protectors, does it actually conserve enough energy to recoup the money you spent buying it? I realize you have to actually shut the electronics off for it to work, but just wondering if its worth it.
The average power bill will only go up by about $10 monthly. Unless you are using well below the average then it will be a coin toss. Since they either didn't say what the average is or I just didn't hear it I have no clue as to what it would take to really make a dent. You could try running all of your electronics off of a battery. But the cost to set it up would more than pay for couple of years of the higher rates.
 

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GPDO Commonlaw Spouse
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Is your home insulation up to snuff?
 

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I turn the heaters off, or I turn the downstairs down to 60 to 64 and turn the upstairs off. I turn both back to 68 when I return home.

Shorter showers (electric heat for water is expensive). This is the biggest change you can make if you have an electric water heater.
 

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Under Scrutiny
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seajay said:
The average power bill will only go up by about $10 monthly.
Georgia Power bills will jump more than $14 for average residential customers next month under a plan approved Tuesday by the state's Public Service Commission.
When combined, those decisions will result in almost $22 in new charges for Georgia Power customers by 2013.
Edit: LINK
I did hear this will start at $10/average a month in January, and ramp up as the years pass. Boil the frog.
Funny thing is the PSC voted to allow a private company to charge it's customers for building plants that produce a product(power) that we will still have to buy.

back on topic
 

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Storm windows, weatherstripping, and the before mentioned insulation.
 

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Check your weather stripping. If you have drafts around windows and doors, fix that first. The next easy one is attic insulation. Make sure that is up to spec. After that, you have double pane windows and then wall insulation. The money you spend can also help your taxes if you plan it properly.

Clean or replace your HVAC filters regularly.
Heat reflecting window films help as do drapes and curtains.
Attic/whole house fans can help as well.
Using CFL bulbs in the summertime reduces the amount of extra heat the AC has to pump out of the house.
Get your AC checked if it sounds louder than your neighbors', their vents are colder than yours, or the outside unit does not seem to be producing much heat.
If you are replacing your furnace and/or AC, look into higher SEER heat pumps.

I reduced the power footprint in my home office from ~300W standby and ~500W active to under 100W standby and ~150W active by upgrading computers. The newer one is faster and much more energy efficient. After that we installed a reflective window film to help with the morning sun. The temperature difference in that room is amazing.

Our efforts for 2011 will be adding more reflective window film before the summer on some west-facing windows and getting our AC serviced in the spring.
 

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Clueless
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Some of the reviews I read for that power strip say that someone saved close to 40 cents a day when used with their home theatre. He used a kill a watt to test the usage. Which if its true then its about 12 dollars per month and in 2 months I could offset the cost of the surge protector. They also make smart surge protectors. That will automatically stop power to electronics in standby mode.

Since I just started with my plan to conserve I do not know if it'll be effective.
 

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7 day progamable thermostat (cut my bill by $20) only paid $35

Timer on water heater: Can only run 4 hours a day (cut another $20) Cost: $40

My garage is on a seperate breaker box (a little extreme for most people) so I turn it off completely if I'm not in it.

Looking into CFLs and window tint.

ETA: I have a 1500 SQFT (heated) house and my electric bill is >$100
 

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mb90535im said:
Didn't you get the memo from Ronald Reagan? This is America, we can do better. Wasting energy is our God given right. :D
If only we all had the extra source of hot air that you and yours enjoy. :lol:
 

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One of the biggest wasters of energy is incandescent bulbs. A single hundred watt bulb consumes more than eight times as much power as my laptop computer. If you still have any incandescents, toss them and buy mini-fluorescents or LED bulbs. Large televisions also consume a tremendous amount of power, especially if they're not LCD-based. Switching your viewing habits to a ~20 inch monitor two or three feet away as compared to a 46 inch screen fifteen feet away saves a boatload of energy and gives you the exact same viewing experience.
 

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I'm going to step way out of the box:

GA Power has constantly asked for and received rate increases. The GA legislatures appear willing to always allow GA Power to earn a healthy profit. GA Power is owned by Southern Company, a publicly traded corporation.

Regarding saving energy; If everyone cut their energy use by 10% and the GA legislatures are always willing to approve a rate increase, wouldn't GA Power just ask for another rate increase to make up for the loss?
 

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--Rollup shades for the front porch, to block the afternoon sun during warm months. This cheap and attractive add-on cooled our house as I was installing them--instant improvement. The brick being cool after the sun sets extends the savings, rather than the brick continuing to heat the house for hours after dark. Ours are Coolaroo brand, and six foot widths were only $14 each. It cost more to ship them from Australia than the cost for the blinds, but I'm certain we're already ahead on savings.

--spraycan foam insulation behind electrical outlet boxes...(wear gloves, I didn't, wish I had). Our newish house is drafty, with cold air entering mostly from outside-wall outlets, and some air drawn from the basement through light switches. The stick-on foam for behind the plates DOES NOthing to prevent actual drafts through the prongs/switches and plate-edges. The air must be stopped from behind the box. I pried the sheet rock edges just enough to insert the straw behind the four corners and four sides, and any marring is hidden when the plate is reinstalled. Also foamed around bathroom pipes, and have yet to do the same from the basement, upwards, around any hole for pipes, wiring, vents, etc.

--space heaters in rooms we're occupying, usually living room and bedroom. This prevents the heat pumps' heat strips from kicking-on as frequently, but not entirely. The newer space heaters are fairly safe, with tipover protection, but we still don't leave them on when they're unmonitored. We have two identical Lasko brand ceramic heaters, $45ish each. Time will tell if we're actually saving, when we compare bills to previous periods. Since our house is still drafty(working on it), we've found no real benefit in lowering the heat below 68 degrees, as the cold-soaking makes the heat strips run while we shiver.

--built a fireplace "mouse." The vents around the fireplace, when not in use, have cold air sumping into the living room, sometimes as if a window is cracked open. So, I cut out a plywood insert and stapled decorative fabric to cover it, and screwed a couple of decorative knobs onto it. When the fire is completely out and cold, we close the flu and install the fireplace mouse, blocking all cold air from sumping downwards through and around the chimney. Most folks could easily cut a rectangle to fit and cover their fireplace box and vents, but ours has irregular edges from stonework. So, I had to use a jigsaw to custom fit a tight plug so no gaps would exist around the edges.
 
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