Appliances and electronics are continuously being improved. Especially in the last few years, there have been many advances that reduce the electricity consumed. Therefore, it often is cost effective to replace older appliances with new ones because of the electricity savings, not to mention lower impact to the earth. For example, most states have 'Weatherization' or 'Economic Opportunity Program', which are state and DOE funded agencies. These agencies service lower income residences. Using a Watts up?, an auditor will measure the home's refrigerator. If the electricity consumed is above a certain threshold, the agency will replace the refrigerator at no cost to the homeowner. Many homeowners have a 2nd refrigerator in the basement or garage. These are often prime candidates for replacement.
This involves lowering your peak. It involves minimizing the number of loads that are on at the same time. For instance, you would probably never notice, but it makes a HUGE difference to the utility, if your hot water heater never came on at the same time as your heater. If they simply alternated, you would stay plenty warm, but your peak electricity need would be much lower. Installing a Smart Circuit in line with your large loads can automatically reduce your peak with little to no change in your comfort. Commercial customers are especially affected, because businesses are charged a surcharge if their peak demand exceeds a preset threshold, even if for only 1 minute during a month.
Many utilities are implementing time-of-use rate structures. This means they will charge a higher rate during peak usage periods, which are typically during the day. The purpose is to encourage people to shift their needs toward off peak time periods, which enables the utility to avoid building another power plant. Something many people are familiar with is an automatic thermostat, which allows you to have a different setting during the day while the house is empty. This saves a lot of money and is easy to implement. Smart Circuits enable you to control any device in a similar manner, automatically turning certain loads off during certain times. The beauty is that similar to the federal tax system, any savings is at the highest rate, so it can add quickly. Applicable loads include:
- hot water heater
- entertainment systems and computer systems (standby power can be 50 watts or more, during the day when no one is even home)
- washer, dryer, dishwasher
Many devices consume power even when they are off. Entertainment systems are prime examples. A typical system consisting of a set top box, VCR, TV, stereo, and amplifier can consume 50-75 watts or more, even when not in use. This can add up to $25-50 years per year. The easiest solution is to plug all the devices into a power strip, and then turn the power strip off when not in use. Or, install a Smart Circuit and have it automatically turn the circuit off from midnite to 8am, which will go along way toward lowering your bill. Wall worts, or the big heavy square things that recharge cell phone and power many small appliances are also typical examples of leakers. Ever wonder why they are always warm? It's because they are always consuming electricity. Watts up? measure 1 watt loads accurately (within 3 tenths!) and are perfect for testing vampires and leakers.