24/07/2024

Wearable

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Plug Your Energy Leaks and Save

Plug Your Energy Leaks and Save

The legendary Dutch boy who stuck his finger in the hole in the dyke knew that an unplugged leak can cost you dearly. Are energy leaks costing you dearly? We all know better than to leave the oven on all night, or the faucet in the kitchen on all day, or the lights in the living room on all day. Those examples are a bit absurd and obviously very wasteful, but most houses waste a lot of energy and water through many less obvious ways, and sometimes its inflating energy bills by hundreds of dollars.

Electric: The number of electrical “leaks” in our homes continues to grow and grow with the number of electronic appliances, gizmos and gadgets that we use. Many people don’t realize how many things still use electricity even when they are turned off: televisions, stereo equipment, laptops, cell phone chargers, cable boxes, printers, computer speakers, and anything with a transformer or a clock. Now there is not much you can do about all of those appliances that have little clocks built into them, but one great energy conservation product that can help is to use a power/surge strip and then turn the surge strip off when the items plugged into it are not in use. Using power strips won’t save you enough to send your kid to college, but they can save you enough to pay for themselves in about a year and then they will continue to save you money year after year. Here’s another hidden leak; do you remember the phrase “Is your refrigerator running?” It’s supposed to be a joke but if yours runs constantly it may be a sign that your refrigerator is low on coolant and may be costing you hundreds of dollars a year. The best way to repair this is to call a service technician; however some do-it-yourselfers might want to try to tackle replacing the condenser and evaporator coils themselves.

Water: If you have you ever been awakened in the middle of the night by a dripping faucet you know how annoying the sound can be, but even worse is the loss of water that is just wasted down the drain. A dripping faucet that drips every other second will waste over 1,000 gallons of water and cost you about $10 a year for the water and even more if it’s hot. Furthermore, leaky toilets have been known to waste tens of thousands of gallons of water a year. Now that kind of leak could really cost you, especially if your water rates are graduated: your rate goes up the more that you use. Luckily, the solution to leaky faucets and toilets are usually inexpensive and easy to fix yourself: a new washer, toilet flapper or a valve will usually do the trick.

Air: The real money loser is from leaks in our walls where cold air blows in through any crack that it can find. Most new houses have much less a problem with this, but the losses can still be significant. Air will leak in through electrical outlets and switches, joints between two finish materials such as siding and brick, through the cracks around vents, pipes and wires that pass through your walls, around the edges of doors, and the biggest culprit of all are the joints in and around your windows. Windows that are not properly weatherized with weather stripping and seals, that have cracked glass, or cracked glazing putty can cost you hundreds of dollars a year. If all of these cracks and holes around you house are added up they can cause the same air infiltration as a 6″ square hole in your wall. Stopping all of these air leaks will not only save on your energy bills, but your house will have fewer drafts and feel more comfortable. It may even increase your comfort level enough that you could turn down your thermostat a couple of degrees and save even more energy and money.

The energy and water leaks in your house may be small or they may be large, but they are definitely worth checking out. If you are interested in energy conservation or lowering your energy bills, one of the most cost effective things that you can do is plug the leaks.