Wednesday, May 15, 2013

An Alternative to a Smart Strip

Photo Credit

A couple months ago, I was making a comment to my husband about how I was tired of the electric bill being so high.  I had cut down the amount we use our dryer significantly, washed the majorityof our dishes by hand, lowered use of our stove in favor of a crock pot and convection oven and did not notice much of a difference in our electric bill each month.  I was frustrated, and my husband came to the rescue.

Todd is a very handy man who knows how frugal cheap I can be.  I have been talking about purchasing and installing smart strips on all of our electronic devices; however, I never pulled the trigger because I did not want to spend the money not knowing how much (if any) it would save in the long-run.  On a weekday that I worked and Todd had the day off, he came up with a better plan to cut off the electricity to all of our electronic devices when not in use at a much lower cost: install a light switch at each device.  The cost for supplies was less than $8 and we have these switches in 4 places around our home.

Switch for the TV, Roku and DVD Player in
the Family Room

When we are ready to watch anything on TV or a movie, we turn the switch on and go about our business.  Having the light switches has not been an inconvenience at all.  We also have one connected to our microwave.  The microwave was glitching out and blowing the circuit for some reason for the first time in the 6 years we owned it.  I really didn’t want to have to go shopping for a new microwave and shell out $200+ for a decent one.  Instead, Todd installed a light switch to the microwave and whenever we use it (we use it a lot less than I thought we did!), we turn the switch on and go about our business.  Since installing the switch, the microwave has not glitched out once nor has it blown the circuit breaker. 
The Switch by the Microwave (can you see it?)
The real question is whether or not this has saved us any money on our electricity use.
My answer is yes!  I was amazed the first month to see a $35 drop in our electric bill (during a really cold month).  The second month, there was a $65 drop in the electric bill (the weather was starting to warm up a little bit, so the furnace wasn’t running as much)! Just this past week, we had another bill cut and we are under $100 for the month!  The lowest electric bill we've had in this house was $77, and this past month was $99, just $22 more than our lowest electric bill.

I am anxious to see how low we can go in the summer months.

For me, lowering our electricity consumption makes the use of solar panels and wind-energy to power our home more attainable.

How do you lower the use of electricity in your home?  

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