Will turning off the breakers for power at night save energy and money on my energy bill?

I know doing things like unplugging my laptop at night save energy (and supposedly 90$ a year) but what about other “energy vampires” like my flat screen tv- excluding the kitchen (fridge needs to stay running and cold) what if I turned off the breakers/power each night or while I’m not home. Would this save energy and money?

4 thoughts on “Will turning off the breakers for power at night save energy and money on my energy bill?

  1. linlyons

    it probably would. There probably are some things that you don’t immediately realize are using electricity. Eg, my microwave has a clock. That would have to be balanced against how much trouble it is to turn the breakers off and on, and whether you might have a need for a light for which the breaker is off. For me, the breakers are out in the garage, behind some stuff, and hard to get to.

  2. Bobby Hill

    Yes. There are a bunch of things in your home that still use electricity. Like the led light on your computer monitor and cell phone charger, clock on the microwave, etc

  3. Rudydoo

    Hey Sugar, you’re on the right track, but there are 2 problems with turning off the breakers to save the electricity. Linlyons is correct, there is convenenience and safety, who wants to slog through the basement or garage in the dark, it’s just a matter of time before you trip over that rollerskate trying to save 7 cents and break your ankle. The other problem is that most household breakers are not certified for daily on/off use. The only breaker certified for more than occasional tripping or turning off is the Square D QO line breakers, which are basically for commercial use. But there is a better way.

    If you really want to set up a good system, think about all the things in your home that either have an led readout, like the clock on the microwave, or can be turned on with a remote, like your TV. All those things use a small amount of power all the time. Here’s what we did. First, we ordered a device called a load meter. There’s a real nice easy to use digital one called the, “Kill – A – Watt,” meter. It costs about $30 online. It looks like a lamp timer, but plug it in, then plug in anything in the house, a freezer, stereo, laptop, or you entire entertainment stand. It tells you current power use in watts, but more importantly, if you leave it plugged in for say a week, it will tell you how many KWH’s that device used during the week. Multiply it by four, and you can see clearly how much power your freezer actually uses per month. Some models even let you program in your utility company’s current rate for a KWH, and it spits out the answer in dollars and cents. Now you know what items to target.

    Next, instead of turning off breakers or unplugging stuff, get some surge arrestor power strips when they go on sale. Use one for your entertainment stand, the TV, stereo, DVD player, and so on. Then just turn off the strip at night or when you go away, and all the stuff is off. Use another to plug your cell phone charger, razor charger, or any portable device charger into. When you are not charging anything, turn off the strip. As a bonus, when these sensative electronics are running, and you have a power surge, they have some level of protection. We have cut almost 20% of our electric bill by going after these useless loads.

    What you are referring to is called a phantom load, things that use power when they are turned off. There have been numerous articles about them at renewable energy websites and magazines like Home Power and Backwoods Home. They are becoming a bigger problem each year because of all the electronics we use, digital camera batteries, blackberries, cell phones and so on. We have them tackled in our home, it’s part of how we manage to get by powering the entire place with a small 1.4 kilowatt solar array instead of using utility power, but that is another chapter. Keep after it Sugar, start looking at compact flourescent bulbs if you haven’t, or better yet, some LED lighting for your home, get surge arrestors, think about tankless water heaters, or whatever might work for you down the road. Ill list some places you can google to find more info if you want to learn more. Good luck, and take care, Rudydoo

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