If you're like many Americans, you work from home a few days a month or at least stay in touch with co-workers from your home office; your kids may prefer to do their homework there, and the designated “family shopper” may place frequent orders there.
Your home office is probably a hub of frenetic activity if there ever was one - with computers and laptops humming, cell phones charging and maybe a TV and DVD player constantly spinning words or music to soothe the commotion.
Slay the energy “vampires”
If you follow only one energy-saving step, make it this: “slay” the energy vampires in your home office by plugging all of your electronic devices into one power strip and flipping the switch to “off” when they're not in use or they're fully charged.
Here's why: electronics continue to draw power even when they're "off" but still plugged in, just as phones continue to draw power after they're fully charged. This is why these devices are called “vampires”: they drain electricity from your outlets like a vampire might drain blood from someone's neck.
Admittedly, if you calculated the “energy drainings” of one electronic device, it wouldn't add up to much. For example, leaving your cable box plugged in probably adds $20 a year to your electric bill. And if you add a DVD player to the mix, the total would probably double.
You could probably live with this bill. It's when you start adding up all the electronic devices in your home that the numbers get truly...frightening. For example, the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that the average American household now includes 25 electronic devices.
As all those devices drain wasted electricity from your home, they will add at least another 10 percent to your total electric bill – and that's a conservative estimate at best.
Why power strips are the smart choice
Of course you could simply unplug your electronic devices when you're not using them. This is the way you will save the most money on your electric bill. But this might not be completely realistic in our technologically-run world.
This is why power strips make so much sense. You can plug many devices into one power strip and, when you need to, simply toggle one power switch “off” or “on.” This will spare you the time and aggravation of scrounging around to accommodate multiple devices.
Other ways to save
If one power strip can drive a stake through the “heart” of the energy vampires in your home office, just imagine what multiple power strips could do. Designate one power strip for cell phones only and call it your “cell phone charging station.”
As you look for other ways to tame the home office portion of your electric bill:
- In general, turn off your computer monitor if you're going to be away from your computer for more than 20 minutes. Turn off both the monitor and the computer if you're going to be away from your computer for more than two hours.
- Make good use of the power management settings on your computer. The savings could be significant. In fact, setting one computer to sleep mode could save you as much as $100 a year, the department of energy says.
- If you're in the market for a new computer for your home office, consider a laptop rather than a desktop. Laptops consume less energy.
- Consider Energy Star computers, which generally use between 30 and 65 percent less energy than other models.
As is so often the case, once you start any type of home improvement project, you often discover something amiss. In this case, it could be a malfunctioning outlet or your need for another one.
Remember that Experts In Your Home's licensed Chico electricians are ready to help you in your home office – or anywhere else you could benefit from an expert and helping hand.