Save Electricity for the Planet and your Pocket

The first thing that comes to my mind when I think of saving electricity is to turn off lights in empty rooms. It’s a basic conservation technique most have heard many times, from conservationists or budget-mided parents.  But as I recently learned, there are sneaky appliances that waste energy. I recently discovered how much these can waste  over time- making your energy bills higher and taking a toll on mother nature.

An article I found on the Forbes web site described the ways items like cell phone and laptop chargers waste electricity. They “draw” electricity when they are attached to the wall even if no device is being charged. Printers and speakers waste even more because their power switches generally put them into standby mode, meaning they are always on, and always using energy. The obvious way around this is to unplug appliances that aren’t in use. But how practical is that really? I’m just as guilty as the next person when it comes to leaving my phone charger always plugged into the hard-to-reach-outlet behind the bookshelf.

Power strips can alleviate the problem because one switch can turn off everything at the same time. Really off. Not just switch them to standby. They’re a small investment- about $7 on amazon. And the best part is that your electricity bill will likely go down if you consistently turn off your power strips.

I went to PG&E’s web site to see how much it costs to run different appliances. Its web site did not have information about cellphone chargers and printers, but it did have a cost breakdown for other appliances.  The one that caught my eye was heating costs, since it’s Winter and I’ve been using the heater frequently. My central gas heater costs about $1.07 to run each hour, but my electric space heater only costs $0.21 an hour. Less cost means less energy is used, which is good for the planet (and my bill). I’m going to experiment and see how much my PG&E bill drops by using my space heater instead of my central heat (both work well and keep me warm so I won’t turn into a popsicle). When I get my next bill I’ll post the results of this experiment.

If you want to do more reading a link to the Forbes article is here:

And the PG&E web site is here:


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