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I Just Saved $7 On My Electric Bill Without Spending A Dime.

I know it doesn’t sound like much, but hear me out…I just opened my electric bill for the last month and it was $7 less than every other month this year so far, so was it a fluke? Normally my bill runs about the same amount within a few pennies so I guess we are pretty consistent with our power usage. But for the last month, I went back to doing something I used to do but had gotten out of the habit of doing since I started working from home – shutting off the power strip that runs everything in my office. I used to have one of those automatic power strips but we moved it to our TV set up because I figured that the stereo/TV equipment used way more power when they weren’t on, but maybe I was wrong.

For the last 30 days, I have been crawling under my desk here in my office and flipping the switch on the power strip. There are actually two strips in my office – one for the VOIP box and cable modem, and one for the computer, monitor, printer, lamp, cellphone charger and external HD. The one that is for the VOIP equipment stays on 24/7 (unless we leave for vacation) because otherwise we would not have a phone! The one attached to the computer now gets turned off at night before I go to sleep and just gets turned on first thing in the morning when I start work. The result? An approximate $7 drop in my electric bill this month.

I know that some naysayers that might think it’s just a fluke, but that bill is always the same amount…always. I guess I will see next month what the bill comes to, but I am very satisfied with my thinking that turning off all that “vampire” power at night has saved me this much money this month. It is absolutely amazing how much electricity is used for standby power when things are not even fully on – sometimes it is up to 75% of the power the item would use when in use. How scary that we waste that much money every month!


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Comments (16)

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  1. boomie says:

    WOW! I’m going to try it. What about my DSL modem? Is it good to turn that off?
    I’ll keep you posted.

  2. david says:

    You can turn off the modem as long as you aren’t using internet phone!

  3. phantomdata says:

    *sigh* Correlation, Causation, Lack of equality, etc.

    I’ve actually collected data around my house (and office) and here’s the results for “off/standby” states on my items that match what’s on your strip;

    Computer: 10W
    Monitor: 0W
    Printer: 5W
    Lamp: 0W
    Cellphone Charger: 0W
    External HD: ?

    Each item that’s 0W is actually using “less than a Watt” since the device I’m using (Kill-A-Watt) has the finest measurement of a Watt. That’s pretty inconsequential for these purposes since the power company charges you based on thousands of watts.

    So… 15W/hr * 30days == 450W hrs == 0.450 KWhrs.
    0.450kWhrs * 0.10dollars (the average rate I think) == 0.045dollars or about four cents.

    That means that if you’re right (and my math is right), you’re paying about $6.95/mon to run that external hd or your standby power consumption differs significantly from mine (and others that I have measured).

    There’s more data over at my blog (http://blog.phantomdata.com/post/show/306) that you can peruse if you’re interested in real data regarding power consumption.

  4. phantomdata says:

    Er… my last bit came out a bit wrong. I mean, non-lab or data on specs – real in-a-person’s-house measured data based on electronics that are really used.

  5. david says:

    What kind of monitor, computer, printer are you running? I think that makes a huge difference, as I have a giant widescreen monitor that is also TV, my computer is a maxed out MacPro etc etc.

    If the hard drive itself is running at $6.95 a month, I would be very surprised…

  6. SavingDiva says:

    Wow! I’m going to try to remember to shut things off!

  7. phantomdata says:

    Er… indeed my calculations were off. It needs to be 15W/hr * 24hr * 30 days == 10800W (used last month) / 1000 == 10.8kW * 0.10 == $1.08

    David – Computers in powered down state tend to be around the 0-10W range – I’ve measured at least six of them in between my home, friends’ houses and around the office all of varying age from brand new dual-core systems down to P133s.

    Even our big 32″ LCD TV doesn’t use more than a Watt while idle. I haven’t compared enough other display devices to say anything conclusive, but it would seem strange for it to vary that much. I should measure my new wide-screen monitor when I get home this evening.

    There are going to be slight variations amongst any items but in order to bring it in line with his figure, it’d have to be a significant variation. While not entirely impossible, it would seem fairly unlikely to vary by $6.00 worth of power. I could be wrong though.

  8. lulu says:

    Instead of crawling under the desk do what I do. Pull the strip closer to the front of the desk so you can reach it with your foot and just use your toes to switch it off.

    I turn off my power strips too so congrats on the savings.

  9. David says:

    lulu- i would if I could, but because of our set up it’s impossible. Good thing I am “sorta” young!

  10. I had found an interesting article some time back about the cost of leaving a computer on overnight. Based on the numbers in the article I found, I figured out that I would save about $80 a year by powering off the computer each night. My post is at http://www.cheapencounters.com/?p=83

  11. DebtDieter says:

    That’s a very substantial monthly saving for doing something so simple, good on you!

    I’m going to start doing that in my new place when I move in a few weeks, like a ‘new home resolution’ you might say!

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  14. we do the same thing when we go out of tonw.

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