My boss, Director of Marketing Scott Buscher, wants me to write an article about how to cut home energy bills — one that subtly references PROSOCO products, of course. So I’m on it. I’m starting with the very easiest, absolutely cheapest things you can do.
Now one great way to save some money is to rip out all your windows, then replace them using our new PROSOCO R-GUARD Fast Flash and Air Dam products. They’re part of our air- and water-resistive/waterproof barrier system. I count that as easy because, if it were me, I’d hire someone to do it, and let my spouse Karen supervise, while I went running, or took the dogs to the dog park.
Stopping the air leakage around all the windows will cut energy costs way down, but alas, the installation would probably cost something, so doesn’t qualify for “absolute cheapest,” by which I mean “costs nothing.”
Another handy way to reduce home energy costs is to build a new home equipped with a PROSOCO R-GUARD air- and water-resistive/waterproof barrier. I know several people, one of them an architect, who’ve actually done this for themselves. Again unfortunately, doesn’t meet the criteria of easy and free. Well, R-GUARD application actually is easy — it’s one of the product selling points — but as I understand it, home construction can be kind of an ordeal sometimes.
So here’s what I’ve got:
Turn lights off when you don’t need them. Seems obvious, but in our house we have a poltergeist that keeps turning lights on when we’re not looking. So I’m constantly turning them back off. Also, turn the computer off when you’re not going to use it for awhile.
Speaking of computers, I learned that a laptop draws about 1/10th as much wattage as a desktop computer. So next time you’re in the market, maybe a laptop?
Wear sweaters in winter with the thermostat down. Go easy on the AC in summer. I’m sure you knew this already, but it’s easy and free, so I included it.
Now here’s something interesting. The Natural Resources Defense Council says you can save up to $10 on the monthly electric bill by unplugging as many electric items as you can, when not in use. Things like chargers, spare refrigerators, entertainment systems. Evidently, all that stuff draws power while plugged in, even when turned off. They’re sometimes referred to as “energy vampires.”
On the other hand the self-described “World’s Smartest Human” Cecil Adams, in his blog “The Straight Dope” claims that phantom energy costs are really closer to about $10 per year. He based that on an investigation by his assistant Una, a licensed professional engineer. Una found that while the house she investigated had a lot of stuff plugged in, most leaked so little power the meter wouldn’t display it.
In my researches I came upon an interesting gizmo called “The Energy Detective,” or TED. TED is an electrical power meter that plugs into your circuit breaker panel and gives you immediate feedback on your electric power usage on an LCD display. It comes with data-logging software for your computer (PC only, it looks like) for trend-spotting and other fun.
Reviews were generally good. The models start at about $119 and go up to around $450 for the fancier items. You have to be an advanced DIYer (I’m not) to install, otherwise get someone who is, or an electrician.