How to Save Hundreds on Your Power Bill

I used to be the leader of the local Green Team at my company. We have teams like this at our major locations to help with recycling and other “Green” initiatives.

A while back, we had a conference for all our Green team leaders to get together to share ideas. We brought together the leaders from some of the various teams around the country.  We had a goal to share best practices and listen to some speakers on various topics relating to social responsibility. I was one of the lucky ones from Salt Lake team who were able to attend.

Note: This post may contain affiliate links, ‘cuz I like to provide my family with the necessities of life, such as Nutella and Netflix – once you have those, what else do you need?  However, my opinions, as always, are my own.

One topic that caught my attention was the Kill-a-Watt program developed by our Vancouver team. They were concentrating on reducing power bill costs.  We want to teach our employees to power down equipment that isn’t being used. And not just turn it off, but teach them to unplug it.  It’s called “Vampire Power” – the small amount of power that’s used whenever an item is plugged into the outlet.

They purchased these special meters called a Kill-a-Watt meter. This gadget allows you to measure exactly how a piece of equipment will cost on your power bill. It’s pretty cool. You enter the rate for your local power company and then you just plug the equipment in for a couple of hours. Bingo! It tells you exactly the cost per hour. You should measure it both when the equipment is running and idle.

Save hundreds on your power bill with this simple little gadget

For about $20 and a little bit of your time, you could save hundreds of dollars a year on your power bill. We bought a dozen of them so employees can try them at home. I’m embarrassed to say that I left my printer and scanner on while I was gone (oops!), so I’d really like to see how much it would have saved if I’d thought to turn them off.

Some tips – use a dedicated power strip so you can quickly and easily power off all your little vampires without getting down on the floor. Be careful to separate things that can be powered off (cell phone chargers, blow dryers, lamps) from things that shouldn’t be powered off (refrigerators, Tivo units, possibly TV’s).

You will want to check your owner’s manuals to make sure that it won’t hurt your appliances to power them down repeatedly.  Fridges are the largest power users, but you shouldn’t power them down with food in them. Salmonella anyone?  You’ll want to measure the cost savings from buying in bulk vs. the power drain of a 2nd freezer. And always buy the most energy-efficient model you can afford.

If you have tried this, I’d love to hear how much you saved with this idea.


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Comments

  1. Interesting… I’ve had some ideas on this one, but so far haven’t been able to put anything into action! I wouldn’t have thought that a printer would be that much of an energy suck. Love to see a chart showing what (other than the fridge) is costing me the most…

    • Me too! We were trying to put one together for the Green Team at work, but we never could get reliable enough data. I’ll bet there’s something available on a website somewhere that would show average usage for some typical items.

  2. Great idea! I will look around my house because I am sure I am some power-sucking devices I could unplug and save money.

    http://www.LivingHappierAfter.com

  3. This is one of the things that has been on my to do list for over a year! Our bill is huge!! Thanks for the reminder

    • I know. I’m the same way. If I don’t do it right away, it gets lost in the shuffle of life. Go get it today and then post a comment here and I’ll cheer you on! And then set a reminder on your phone to move it to a different device every day. Try the power strip trick too – you’ll SLASH that bill in no time!

  4. I am the worst about leaving the blow dryer, curling iron, cell phone chargers, toaster…and a whole bunch of other stuff plugged up when not in use. I definitely need to unplug any unused items and see what happens. Thanks for sharing…we can all use this advice.

    • In the Amazon review, there was a post from a lady who had been really diligent about doing the power strip thing and had been turning off almost everything but the fridge every single day and she saw her electric bill drop by like 75%. It would take a bit of effort, but I think it would totally be worth it!

  5. I recently put all my TV/modem electronics on one power strip (except for my DVR) so that I can turn them off when I’m gone or asleep. No need to be broadcasting a wifi signal when I’m not using it!

    • That is extremely smart. I’ve heard of people saving a ton of money that way. I need to be better about stuff like that. And it probably keeps the hackers away.

  6. oh I didn’t know that plugged in devices that aren’t being used had a name, how cute! I like it. This is a great idea! I’m thinking of stepping out of my rented house (seems like I’m just wasting money) & invest in my own little piece of property. This’ll come in handy, so I’m pinning it too. Thanks for sharing!

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