Money & Career

7 ways you're wasting money on electricity

Author: Canadian Living

Money & Career

7 ways you're wasting money on electricity

Electricity isn't free, and the price is just going to go up -- so conserving energy in the home isn't just the path of an eco warrior, it also makes sound financial sense. But do you know what's sucking your electricity? Here are seven of the most common energy vampires and a whole bunch of ways to banish them.

1. Gadgets on standby
Even when an electronic device is turned off, as long as it's still plugged into the wall, it's drawing electricity. This is called “phantom electricity use” or “standby power” -- and Natural Resources Canada reports that five to 10 percent of the electricity we consume and pay for falls under this category.

Cut this leak and you'll get a nice discount on your next hydro bill. Unplugging an appliance is best, but plugging it -- and other appliances in the vicinity -- into a power bar that can be switched off is another alternative.

2. Computers
Turn your computer off when it's not in use and turn the monitor off manually. The screen may be black, but the thing is still drawing juice. Don't forget the printer, speakers and video game console.

3. TV and Radio
Turn these off when you leave the room. And if you watch TV or listen to the radio as a sleep aid, use a timer so it will automatically switch off once you've drifted off to dream land.

4. Lights
Old-fashioned incandescent bulbs use more energy than the newer LED or compact fluorescent ones. Yes, the new styles cost more initially, but they last about 10 times longer and pay for themselves over time. According to Environment Canada, an Energy Star compact fluorescent lightbulb use 75 per cent less energy than a typical incandescent bulb.

Installing motion-activated fixtures outside and in such indoor spots as the basement stairwell, bathrooms and at the front door can add up to savings and no chance of leaving lights on all day while you're at work. If you already have a standard porch light, do switch it off when you leave in the morning. Likewise, when leaving a room, switch out the lights, even if you are coming back as soon as the tea is brewed. Make it as automatic as brushing your teeth. Dimmers are a great idea, too -- we don't always need the lights at full blast.

5. Fridges
It's a refrigerator, not a personal air conditioner -- don't stand in front of the open fridge while you commune with your tummy. Think about what you want to eat before you go digging around in there. Keep the freezer defrosted -- it'll run more efficiently; and keep it relatively full so the whole thing doesn't have to be cooled again every time you've opened it. And unplug that empty (or beer) fridge in the basement, especially if it's an antique energy-sucking model.

6. Stoves
Do you really need to heat up that big oven for one frozen dinner? Prep it in the toaster oven instead and save a bundle. In fact, start it in the microwave, then finish it in the toaster oven. It will cook faster, using less energy.

7. Festive lighting
That ancient string of incandescent bulbs is contributing to the melting of Santa's ancestral home and depleting your gift budget. Switch to LED. Many municipalities and even some hardware stores offer trade-ins.

Statistics Canada reports that in 2007), the average Canadian home spent $1,147 annually on electricity. What does your bill look like? Try some of these tricks and see what you can save.

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7 ways you're wasting money on electricity

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