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Michael Walsh
02-19-2009, 09:28 AM
Outlet switches plug into your wall outlets. They have simple on-off toggle switches. First, you plug in the outlet switch, then plug in your coffee-maker, TV, electric toothbrush--whatever.

When you're finished using the appliance, you toggle the switch to off. The point being that multiple small appliances use electricity even when you shut them off because they're re-charging (in the case of toothbrushes or electric shavers and the like) or because they have built-in clocks or timers (in the case of, say electric coffee makers and "instant on" televisions).

Add up all the little power users in a household and over time the electrical consumption can add up. With outlet switches you can reduce that by shutting them off completely.

The downside, it takes more effort and more monitoring. But not much. For coffee, I now toggle on the outlet switch and press the button on the coffee maker--one extra step. My electric toothbrush runs just fine after one day of charging, instead of seven.

Outlet switches are available at Walmart and most other places that sell electrical goods. They cost a couple of bucks.

Another option, which accomplishes the same thing, is the power strip or surge protector which includes multiple outlets. With either of these you can plug in the TV, DVR, stereo and then shut them all down with one switch on the power strip.

DaBee
02-19-2009, 09:58 AM
Thanks, ID, I'll get an outlet switch for the kitchen.

I haven't checked out the actual consumption variations, but I like the idea of rheostats on lighting. Think it's something to check into as to the impact on the light bulbs it affects and which is the best to use.
I just found this info. in a blog:

While people use word 'rheostat' for any device which dims lights,
there really is a difference between rheostat and dimmer.
http://www.factsfacts.com/MyHomeRepair/DimmerSwitch.htm

So, first suggestion is, do not buy a rheostat, buy a dimmer.
Rheostats turn energy into heat, while dimmers reduce your bill
and make your light bulbs last longer.

Some people use term 'rheostat dimmer' to mean a dimmer may be confusing.
The word rheostat, sometime called 'resistance rheostat' is described here:
Q: Does lowering the brightness of lights via a dimmer cause less
electricity to be consumed? If so, is it proportional to the degree of
dimness (i.e., does lowering the brightness by 50% lower the
consumption by 50%)? --RT Lennox, Strongsville, Ohio


A: Yes, dimming lights--with a modern dimmer switch-- consumes less
electricity. Years ago, dimmer switches used a variable-resister
(called a rheostat) to dim lights and these switches did not reduce
electricity consumption. They also generated much heat.
http://www.wonderquest.com/bugflip-collidingblackholes-dimmers.htm


So now I've learned that rheostats and dimmers are 2 different things. Good to know.

drmartha
02-19-2009, 10:42 AM
The one thing we found out is that the compact fluorescent bulbs don't work on dimmer switches. We changed our dimmers to regular switches and went the the CF bulbs in a few places.

SpikeSilverback
02-19-2009, 11:12 AM
The one thing we found out is that the compact fluorescent bulbs don't work on dimmer switches. We changed our dimmers to regular switches and went the the CF bulbs in a few places.

They may not have been available the first look around, but are now. If
ACE doesn't carry them, they can get em on the next shipment in 60s, 90s & 100s.
http://www.acehardware.com/family/index.jsp?cp=2568443.2568454.2632229.2632283&categoryId=2632285&view=all

Spike

Eureka Animal Precinct
02-19-2009, 11:42 AM
Thank you Dunes, this is a great idea! $$$$$$$$

Gaylord Wright
02-23-2009, 02:29 PM
We have ten electronics that are all plugged into three power strips so all those 'instant on' devices are off unless we are using them. Only two TVs, the dish box and the computer tower remain on 'instant on'.

Aux Arc
02-26-2009, 08:26 PM
The one thing we found out is that the compact fluorescent bulbs don't work on dimmer switches. We changed our dimmers to regular switches and went the the CF bulbs in a few places.Also see the CFL thread.


... Add up all the little power users in a household and over time the electrical consumption can add up. With outlet switches you can reduce that by shutting them off completely.

The downside, it takes more effort and more monitoring. But not much. Another advantage to switched outlets or power strip switches: By physically disconnecting the circuit to the appliance(s), you greatly reduce your risk of appliance damage from power surges or lightning damage.

andrews
02-26-2009, 08:35 PM
funny how a lot of these self-sustainable threads involve buying things

Michael Walsh
02-26-2009, 09:46 PM
Yeah, Andrews, I've noticed that, too. In this consumerist culture, it's sometimes hard to resist the notion of buying things that will fix other things. I keep trying to remind myself over and over that my own behavior matters too--simply turning out lights, living with fewer things, making do, driving less, deciding between what I need and what I want, what I'm willing to do and what I absolutely, rock-bottom can do if I absolutely have to.

I realize that more things--technology--is probably not the ultimate solution. But it's not easy thing changing the habits or thought-patterns of a life time while, at the same time, trying to anticipate future circumstances.

So, while I can, I guess I'm buying some things in order to save money over the long haul--a $2 outlet switch and kerosene and wicks for the oil lamps. High tech, low tech or no tech, there's nothing inherently evil or divine in any of them. But I find it takes a good deal of effort on my part to remind myself of that and then act accordingly.