Economic Energy Efficiency

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Vampire Hunters: Tackling Vampire Energy in the Kitchen.

tan vampiresHalloween is fast approaching, and today, as we continue in our quest to seek and destroy all the vampires in the house, we move on to the kitchen.

Although now particularly well known for its harboring of vampire energy sources, the kitchen does in fact have some standby power sources lurking inconspicuously.

You know all those clocks in your kitchen? On the microwave, the range, the coffee maker? The ones that all show different (wrong) times? They’re vampires. That means that they’re using energy, and costing you money that you could be putting towards your kids’ college funds, even when you’re not using them.

While vampire energy sources typically draw very little power individually, collectively they can add up to a good chunk of change. For the frugal homeowner or apartment-dweller (and in this economy, who isn’t frugal?), it’s vital to know at least how your home is using energy, so you’re not taken by surprise when your utility bills shows up.

Using a Kill-a-Watt energy monitor, we tracked down some of the common vampire power sources in the kitchen. Here’s what we found for vampires:

Microwave: 3 watts
Coffeemaker: 1.14 watts
Gas range: 1.13 watts

Total: 5.27 watts

Now, 5.27 watts isn’t a lot of electricity, but let’s remember that this is electricity that’s being used constantly, around the clock, year round.

5.27 watts / 1,000 X 24 hours X 365 days X 16 cents per kWH = $7.38 per year.

That’s a small amount of money, for sure. But it’s a small amount of money that I’d be willing to bet you had no idea you were spending. And combine it with the other vampires in your house, it adds up. Particularly when you think that you could be spending that money on something useful, like a college education for your kids.

So what do you do? While devices like smart power strips can be useful for combatting vampires in other parts of the house, the best solution in this case is to just unplug the vampires. (We know a gas range would be tough to unplug, but a coffeemaker and a microwave you can just unplug or plug into a regular power strip - just be sure to turn it off when you're  not using them.)

Other appliances in the kitchen may draw a significant amount of power -- the toaster, for example; or the refrigerator -- but since most toasters only draw power when you’re using them (and are often only plugged in when you’re using them), and the refrigerator is actually on all the time, they don’t qualify as vampires.

Be sure to check out our posts on the essential tools for fighting vampire energy, and vampire energy in the home office for more information about how you can save money on your utility bills every month by taking a few easy steps.

Any vampires we’ve missed so far? Let us know!

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