Have you ever thought about how much energy your home’s devices use? Unfortunately, it’s probably more than you think. The reason for that is that so many of them are now using constant energy. While this makes life more convenient, it’s good to know exactly where all of that energy use is coming from.
As Tatiana Schlossberg tells us in the New York Times article, “Just How Much Power Do Your Electronic Devices Use When They’re ‘Off?’, approximately 50 devices in your home will constantly consume energy, even when they’re off. Those devices can range from your cable box to your coffee machine. For more on those devices, read the full article here.
How is this affecting your home?
What does it mean that so many devices are actually on when they’re off? According to a 2015 report by the National Resources Defense Council, the energy costs from inactive devices can be as much as $165 per U.S. household annually. They’ve noticed an upward trend in the number of always-on devices a house has due to the digitization of even common appliances. That increase is due to the various “smart” devices that now connect to the internet, such as washers and dryers.
If you happen to have a smartphone or a laptop, chances are you have at least one device that is constantly drawing power. Unfortunately, not many of us stop at one device. We may have TVs connecting to the internet, Apple TV or some kind of streaming device, game consoles, even our routers are constantly using energy. In 2014, U.S. Americans used an average of 12,986 kilowatthours (kWh). Compare this to the 5,219 kWh that the United Kingdom used for that same year and you can see that we’re consuming a lot of energy.
What can you do to reduce your energy usage?
Luckily, there are things you can do to reduce the amount of power your appliances are using when they’re idle. There are five actionable steps you can take right now and in the future to cut down on your energy usage.
- Unplug devices that aren’t used very often. These can be entertainment units in guest bedrooms, second or third refrigerators, and even the furnace in the summer.
- Use a power strip for devices that can all be turned off at once. Everything connected to your entertain center can be turned off at once: TV, speaker bar, Blu-Ray player, etc., so can your computer and its accessories.
- Plug appliances into a timer to turn them off when they’re not typically in use. Those include the hot water recirculation pump, instant coffee machine, and towel heater.
- Adjust power settings where available. This option can typically be found on televisions with a “quick start” setting, your laptop for inactivity – and turn it off when it’s not in use, and your game console if it’s on “instant on” mode.
- Purchase ENERGY STAR™-labeled equipment and appliances to minimize idle load, which is a main requirement.
You can also go to www.UnplugStuff.com to see how much energy your home is using when it’s idle.
If you’d like to talk to a licensed electrician in Fort Collins or Windsor about making your home more energy efficient, call Chadwick Electric Services today! 970-457-4099
One of the more stressful aspects of having a young child is making sure they’re safe at all times. Fortunately, there’s a simple solution to preventing electrocution or burns: tamper-proof outlets. Childproofing your home is never simple, but we have some quick tips for older outlets and suggested improvements for your Fort Collins home.
While childproofing may seem obvious, there are still issues with safety across America. According to the National Fire Protection Association, “Each year, approximately 2,400 children suffer severe shock and burns when they stick items into the slots of electrical receptacles. It is estimated that there are six to 12 child fatalities a year related to this.” That’s around seven children a day, which is pretty scary.
To help you make sure your children are safe, here some answers to common questions.
When should you childproof?
Be as proactive about your child’s safety as possible. It’s never too early to make sure your outlets are child-proofed. The longer you wait, the less likely it is that you’ll get every outlet covered. Additionally, trying to childproof your home becomes more and more stressful as the idea of being a new parent sets in.
Crawl around your house, through every room, and check for outlets. There may be more than you ever expected, but it’s good to know how many you’re dealing with before you go to the store. It’s also good to know just how hazardous each room is for a crawling baby.
Next, decide what kind of tamper-resistant receptacles you need, and what you can afford. Some options are more expensive than others.
What receptacle should you use for your home?
There’s no simple answer to this question. However, we can at least break down what’s available. This way, you can make an informed decision that’s best for you and your family.
Electrical outlet caps
Mommy’s Helper Outlet Plugs
These are the classic caps that you likely had growing up. They’re little plastic covers that plug directly into your outlet and are really hard to take out – even for adults. That’s where the difficulty lies. For many parents, the difficulty of removing the cap means that you’re less likely to replace it on outlets you use often. They’re also easy to misplace, creating a choking hazard.
However, their affordability is what makes them so popular. For instance, you can buy a pack of 36 on Amazon for $2.99.
Electrical outlet covers
ZizHome Universal Electric Outlet Cover
If you’re looking for a more convenient option, outlet covers are fantastic. To install, you simply replace your old cover with this plate. You don’t need to get into the wiring in order to have this self-closing cover. To use the outlet, simply slide the cover over with the plug’s prongs and it snaps back when you’re done.
The major setback is that these are more expensive than the caps. But what you lose in cash you make up for in peace of mind. You can also use the covers for your most-used outlets and place caps on the ones you rarely use.
Electrical outlet deep covers
LectraLock Deep cover
For even more convenience that’s around the same price as the above cover, you can use this deep cover. It’s easy to install and easy for adult’s to remove–but not children. The great thing about this cover is that it prevents babies from pulling the plug out of the outlet.
The manufacturer, LectraLock, is also made in America.
Options for power cords and extension cords
If you need more protection beyond your standard outlets, Parent Guide has an excellent guide to what products to look for: https://parent.guide/how-to-baby-proof-everything-electrical/
What’s the best option for childproofing electrical outlets?
If you have an older home, you should consider upgrading your outlets to tamper-resistant receptacles. They have built-in shutters that make it incredibly difficult to insert anything other than a plug into the outlet.
Image courtesy of Electrical Safety Foundation International
These are now common in homes built from 2008 and on, but even in new homes, it’s smart to make sure your home has them. To tell the difference, look inside the vertical slots. If they’re open, you need to baby proof them using the above methods. If they’re filled in, you’re good to go. TR receptacles are relatively inexpensive, and the peace of mind is what you’re really paying for.
To upgrade the outlets in your Fort Collins or Windsor home with tamper-resistant receptacles, call us today at 970-457-4099.