San Isabel Electric Asso¬ciation has been part¬nering with some local libraries providing a product called the Kill-A-Watt Electric Appliance Usage Monitor. By simply plugging an appliance into the monitor, you can tell how much electricity it uses. As a consumer, how you use electricity is a personal decision; how much you pay for what you use is set by the cooperative on economic models. So the only control you have over your bill is to increase efficiency and conserve power.
In Colorado Country Life magazine’s April 2011 issue, SIEA’s general manager Reg Rudolph shared his experience with the Kill-A-Watt. Over Christmas he took some time off to spend with his family and thought it would be a good time to read up on the meter and learn about his own electricity usage to see if there was something he could do for efficiency and conservation.
Rudolph set up two Kill-A-Watt meters on his television sets. One television was a simple television without any attachments. The other television housed a cable box, video games, DVD player and more.
After about a month of monitoring, he pulled the meters off to see how much power these “neces¬sities of life” were using. He discovered there was a phantom in his house using electricity like crazy. The simple television had used around $6 worth of power, while the other television used an astounding $28 worth of power. Those two appli¬ances used approximately 20 percent of the consumption in his home for that month which was significant considering all his other appliances were electric, with the exception of the water heater.
The lesson learned is that today’s electronics are using power even when they aren’t being used. A washer, dryer and range will draw power generally only when running, but televisions, cell phone charges and computers actually draw a fair amount of phantom power just because they are standing by for your call. Even after 20 years in the business dealing with electricity every day, Rudolph was shocked by this revelation.
We all get monthly bills for phones, electricity, water and gas and oftentimes don’t take the time to look at what comprises the amount we pay. But if you look around your house at all of the things that use power, even when they are turned off, you might discover ways to conserve energy or operate more efficiently.
To see what the average appliance uses in a home, visit www.siea.com. If the cumulative consumption of what is installed is below your monthly electric bill, you probably have a phantom in your house, too. Changing out lightbulbs that are frequently on can help and unplugging unnecessary appliances or putting things on a timer will eliminate consumption.
Electricity provides a tremendous amount of value to our day-to-day lives and operates 24 hours a day. We are so dependent on it that when it does go up in price it impacts our lives. We do have some power over how much we use. Go find some phantom power and get your money back.