You may think I’m anal about a lot of things but you don’t have a clue how anal my husband can be — especially when it comes to getting his money’s worth out of something.
This solar power research is about to send me running into the woods . . anywhere to get away from a calculator! Vince will say “Multiply 1200 x 5, then divide by 6, then multiply by .77, then divide by 5.5” or something like that and then give me 10 more strings to calculate, then two days later, he will say “What was the number we came up with when we started with 1200?” Huh? I can’t remember what I did 5 minutes ago and I sure don’t remember anything to do with numbers.
The one thing I’ve gained from all the research and calculating is a desire to reduce the amount of kW we use. This is probably beyond boring to you but we use around 600 kW each month from January through about April. We do use wood for heat but beginning in May, our usage climbs and has in the past gone all the way up to about 2,500 kW in July and August. That’s a huge amount considering there are just two of us here and we have gas fro the water heater, stove, dryer and heater. The major culprit is the air conditioner. Of all the things that have crossed my mind as far as reducing the amount of electricity we use, cutting off or turning the thermostat up is not an option. I will not be hot inside the house.
There are ways I can cut back . . cooking outside — especially using the solar oven or the crockpot or Nesco outside. Maybe I’ll remember to turn lights off.
Here’s a real eye opener! We have 4 or 5 computers on at all times. Vince has two notebooks, I have one. We have a desktop in the bedroom and it has to be on for our Magic Jack (phone) to work, though there is a Magic Jack that works without the computer being on. We have a desktop in the sewing room that stays on all the time. Tonight I did some calculating and each desktop, even though not in use, along with the monitor in sleep mode, could be using up to 120 watts so that’s 240 watts between the two of them and in 24 hours, that’s 5.76 kW per day or 173 kW per month. Our average kW used per month is 1200 and we were hoping to get it down to 1100 when using the solar panels but just turning off the computers that we rarely use, would get it down to 1027 kW per month. Amazing!
Some things . . like how many kW each thing uses . . I’m just better off not knowing but as they say . . something seen cannot be unseen! 🙁
shirley bruner says
Trying to reduce usage is why i am constantly going around behind my husband….turning off lights and tv….and turning furnace down. yesterday he was working in the barn….by the open large doors….in the light….and had every light on in the 40×80′ barn…..about 10 of them. WHY?? i need a switch to turn HIM off. hahahaha
WOW that is a lot for those dang computers! I wonder about my TV’s and their POWER VAMPIERNESS!!!!!
We only watch tv at night. So, 2 years ago both tvs got plugged into power bars, and those are turned off until we need the tv. I don’t know the kw saved, but it was over $10 per month on our hydro bill.
It’s not just turning them off but disconnecting the power source because the transformer in the power supply draws electricity even if the computer is turned off. Like Mary-Helen said, our computers and tv are plugged into a surge protector and that switch is turned off each night. I’m not sure how much it helps but I think every little bit is good for our house, which is completely electric!
The one in the sewing room is already off and unplugged! Yes, unplugging is the best way to go. We turn everything off, turn off the surge protectors and then unplug them . . from the things we do unplug. I have iPod chargers/players in almost every room and they all have clocks on them so I unplugged all those last night too. I knew they were using a little power but never thought much about it all til I really began paying attention to the kW usage and the spikes and trying to get it down.
Turning of the computers is good but so you know they do generate a lot of heat too, might be ok in the winter but with your AC usage having them off might help a bit there. I know the office here is warmer with the computer running then off and we are up north. In the summer gets really HOT in here to the point I don’t want to be in the room with the heat.
If your computer is generating that much heat, you may need to have it checked. They do generate some heat but enough to make a room really HOT . . that doesn’t sound right.
One of the ‘toys’ my husband bought a few years back was a Kill-a-watt meter – you plug the appliance you want to “check” into the meter which plugs into the wall and you can sit and watch the values change depending on what the appliance is doing – kind of cool on a thing like a fridge, where I learned my fridge light bulb uses more power then then the cooling unit.
And it was real handy when we bought a portable generator. Hubby wrote down each appliance and then was able to calculate how big of a generator we really needed,.
Oh yes, we have one of those too.
ah,, that was before I knew you two 😉
Yep, computers do use a huge amount of power. I leave my laptop on all the time, and the printer is always on in sleep mode, because I can print to it from wherever I am with the laptop or the smartphone. The desktop, however, is always off unless I’m using it. Sometimes at night, if I remember, I will shut the laptop down. I don’t blame you for running the A/C in the summer. It’s too darn hot where you are!
Amy (NW WI) says
This certainly isn’t “boring” to me! 🙂 Paul and I both have been following your posts regarding solar panels; not that we have any intentions of investing in such a setup (at least, no time soon).., BUT we are definitely trying to reduce our “grid” use as well. I appreciate the time you take to write up these posts!!!!