1:5:10:365 EcoTip Blog

January 25, 2008

:025 EnergyStar Appliances

Suggested Review – none

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet.

energystarlabel.jpg

1:5:10:025 Tip: Today’s action is to check your energy use meter to see how much energy you saved by cleaning the refrigerator coils. Record this in your journal.

The tip is about the Environmental Protection Agencies EnergyStar Program.

According to EPA “ENERGY STAR is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy helping us all save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices.” Whenever you purchase a new major appliance – this program can help you choose one that will use less energy.

When you make a new appliance purchase, there are two costs:

1.) the initial purchase price

2.) the ongoing electricity use

Both should be considered – and the EnergyStar Program can help. One important savings that is provided by EnergyStar approved products is a very low trickle current use when in standby mode.

Tomorrow I will talk about calculating the payback period for replacing your refrigerator. This same calculation can be used for any appliance.

***********************************

Additional Information

The EnergyStar website http://www.energystar.gov/ is the starting place for researching which appliance models are the most efficient. It also serves as a good reference for tax credit information and other energy saving programs.

************************

Would you like to receive an email alert for each new 1:5:10:365 EcoTip? Sign up for a Google Alert.

Advertisements

January 21, 2008

:021 Auto-Off Powerstrips

Suggested Review – :002, :003, :004, :005, :019

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet.

smart-strip.jpg

1:5:10:021 Tip: In tip :019 I talked about how one of my computers with all of its peripherals had a trickle current that was using 40 watts of electricity even when the computer, monitor, printer and sound system were switched off in standby mode. This was needlessly costing about $80 a year. I suggested plugging the set-up into a power strip that could be shut off whenever the computer wasn’t being used.

What I have found is that my DSL cable box needs to have the “trickle current” or I loose my settings and have to wait for it to reprogram in order to connect to the Internet. That means about 5 watts of “trickle current” is essential for keeping my system functioning. That means switching off everything else should save $70 not $80 a year – which is still pretty good.

I have now purchase a “smart strip” which is able to automatically monitor power use and shut off the trickle current when the equipment is in standby mode. If you are dedicated to shutting your equipment off with a manually operated power-strip every time, that works fine, but I prefer the auto-off function. It remembers when I forget.

Tomorrow I will talk about using your watt monitoring meter to check you refrigerator electricity use and determine how to save energy from this big energy hog.

***********************************

Additional Information

The auto-off power-strip I am using is the “SmartStrip”. It has one “control outlet”, three “constant hot outlets” and six “automatically switched outlets”.

The control outlet is for the item that will determine when the others should be shut down. I used it for plugging in my computer (“trickle current” savings 10 watts).

I have used “constant hot outlets” for my DSL cable box (5 watts) and my telephone answering machine (2 watts).

The “automatically switched outlets” are used for my monitor, printer, sound system which have a combined “trickle current” use of 25 watts.

 I had to play with the sensitivity adjustment a bit to get the power-strip to automatically shut down the trickle current when the computer was shut down. But now it works great.

The following is the smaller smart strip from Amazon:
SmartStrip (click here to go to Amazon)

Here’s the smart strip that I purchased. It turns out I could have gone with the smaller less expensive one because I have extra unused outlets:
SmartStrip (click here to go to Amazon)

(in the interest of full disclosure – I have signed up as an Amazon Associate. If you use this link to purchase a “Kill-a-Watt” I will receive a commission – I think it is 4%).

************************

Would you like to receive an email alert for each new 1:5:10:365 EcoTip? Sign up for a Google Alert.

January 19, 2008

:019 Determine Watt Use

Suggested Review – :004, :005
kill-a-watt-j.jpg

1:5:10:019 Tip: Today you should familiarize yourself with using your watt use monitor. This is the device I encouraged you to purchase in :005.

Begin by plugging it into an outlet and plugging a standard lamp into the meter. Follow the instructions and try pressing the various buttons to see how it works. The digital readout should closely match the wattage of the light bulb. By pressing the “kilowatt hour/time” button once it should indicate the number of kilowatts used. Pressing the button again should indicate the time that has passed.

Try plugging a number of appliances into your meter and record in your journal how much power they use when they are both on and off in standby mode. For example my computer, monitor and printer use a total of 150 watts when they are on and 10 watts when in standby mode. This is pretty good compared to another computer, monitor and printer that use a combined total of 350 watts when on and 40 when in standby mode.

That 40 watts is the trickle current that is wasted energy. By turning this computer and it’s peripherals off any time it is not being used by flipping a power-strip switch, I could save about $80 a year.

I will be discussing many other ways to use your wattage monitoring meter in future 1:5:10:365 Tips. 

***********************************

Additional Information

The wattage monitoring meter is one of the fundamental tools for easily monitoring your electric use. If you haven’t already purchased one you can get it from Amazon. Right now it is selling for $20.98 plus shipping.

To purchase from Amazon (click here): Kill A Watt  (in the interest of full disclosure – I have signed up as an Amazon Associate. If you use this link to purchase a “Kill-a-Watt” I will receive a commission – I think it is 4%).

************************

Would you like to receive an email alert for each new 1:5:10:365 EcoTip? Sign up for a Google Alert.

January 5, 2008

:005 Determining individual appliance electric use

Suggested Review – :001, :002, :003, :004

kill-a-watt-j.jpg

1:5:10:005 Tip: Yesterday I talked about using your public utility electric meter to monitor energy use in your home to track hidden electricity use. If you would like to know how much energy a particular appliance is using, you can use yesterday’s technique to calculate this by turning the appliance on and re-timing the spinning dial, repeating the calculations and noting the difference. The extra electric use will be from the appliance that was turned on. This is the no-cost way to monitor the energy use for individual plug in items that operate off of 110 volts. This is obviously a real pain.

There is a very easy way to monitor energy use one appliance at a time by using an electric use monitor. 

These meters monitor electric use for any 110 volt electric plug in device. This one – the “Kill-a-Watt” retails for about $40.00 but can be found for under $25.00.
Tomorrow the 1:5:10 tips will head in a different direction for about two weeks, then we will come back and look at monitoring and reducing our electricity use by cutting down on the trickle current when the electrical appliance is in standby mode. The two weeks will give you a chance to purchase and receive an electric use monitor. If purchasing a meter isn’t an option you can also continue to use the meter method I described yesterday and today.
*********************************
Additional Information
One of the least expensive places I have found the “Kill-a-Watt” on line is Amazon. Right now it is selling for $20.98 plus shipping.

To purchase from Amazon (click here): Kill A Watt  (in the interest of full disclosure – I have signed up as an Amazon Associate. If you use this link to purchase a “Kill-a-Watt” I will receive a commission – I think it is 4%).

***************************

Record the 1:5:10 time you spent. If you decide to purchase an electric use meter make sure to record the price you paid in your journal. Pretty soon we will be tracking expenses and savings, so you would consider this your first expense.

************************

Would you like to receive an email alert for each new 1:5:10:365 EcoTip? Sign up for a Google Alert.

January 4, 2008

:004 Establish your hidden electric use

Suggested Review – :001, :002, :003

Greetings and welcome to Tip :004 toward becoming a better steward for our home and planet.

1:5:10:004 Tip: Many home appliances have a “trickle” current that is running 24:7 when the item is in standby mode. You can use your homes electric meter to find out how much hidden electric use there is in your home. This is easiest if you have a dial type electric meter, but can also be determined if you have a digital electric meter. The first step is to be sure that all your lights and appliances are switched off or in the case of the refrigerator, furnace and air conditioning that they are not running.

By timing how long it takes the spinning wheel on you electric meter to rotate, you can calculate how much electricity is still being used. Granted some of this “trickle” of power is for things like smoke detectors or clocks which you want running all the time, but a significant number of appliances can be switched off so they don’t waste this energy when they are not being used.

To learn how to calculate how much “trickle current” your home is using, you will need all the information you have collected and recorded in your journal (:001 to: 004). The specific instructions follow in the additional information.

Tomorrows tip (:005) will teach you how to calculate the specific power usage for specific appliances. That’s my 1:5:10:004 tip for today.

************************************** 

Additional Information

To determine your energy use at any given time:

Step 1. Time how long it takes the dial on your meter to revolve one time.

Step 2. Find the Kh rating for your meter (on the meter below it is 3.6)

meter21.jpg

Step 3. Use the following formula to determine your Kilowatt hours

 3.2 X (Kh rating) ÷ seconds for one revolution

 Example if it took 45 seconds for my dial to make one revolution, then:

 3.2  X  3.6  ÷  45  =   0.256 Kilowatts per hour

 This is approximately one fourth of a kilowatt (250 watts).

 Step 4. To determine how much you are spending each hour at this level of electric use multiply the rate you are paying per kilowatt hour (check your :002 entry in your journal) by the number you calculated in step 3.

 Example: I am paying $0.229 per kilowatt hour so the trickle current is costing me almost six cents ($ 0.0586) an hour.

 Step 5. To determine the total cost per day at that level of electrical use multiply your answer by 24 hours in a day.

 Example:  0.0586  X  24  =  $1.41 a day

 This may not seem like a lot, but if this excess electricity use were eliminated, the monthly bill could be reduced by over $40.00.

It is important that nothing electrical changes while you are timing the rotation of the dial. If the refrigerator were to come on it could significantly affect your results.

Don’t forget to record your calculations and findings in your journal. You may want to repeat the timing of the rotating wheel a few times to be sure it is fairly constant. If you find big differences in the amount of time it takes for one revolution, there may be something using intermittent power that you aren’t aware of.

If you have a digital power meter it will take much longer to determine your power use since these meters will usually only measure in tenths of a kilowatt hour.

Illustration of a round electric meter with small dials and a digital screen reading 15232.2.This means using the previous example it would take approximately 24 minutes for the meter to go from 15232.2 to 15232.3. Tomorrow’s tip will include information about monitoring electric usage for individual appliances that can help over come this shortcoming for digital meters.

**********************

Don’t forget to record the 1:5:10 time spent and your total hidden electric use in your journal.

************************

Would you like to receive an email alert for each new 1:5:10:365 EcoTip? Sign up for a Google Alert.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.