Stretching Your Dollar - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Stretching Your Dollar

Unplugging to Save

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Charlotte (WBTV) If you want to find out just how much money 'phantom power' is costing your family every year, a gadget called the Kill-A-Watt, can show the dollars you are wasting.

Most of us leave certain appliances and electronics plugged in 24/7.  Even though some items are turned off doesn't mean they aren't running up your electric bill.  Some of them don't take much power, like the microwave or the coffee pot, but together if they were unplugged when not in use you could save over five dollars in a year. 

I went to the Home Depot on South Boulevard and bought the Kill-A-Watt for $29 dollars.  Licensed electrician Dustin Hare, who works at Home Depot was shocked to learn how much we can save when we move out of the kitchen and into the home office.  When I asked him to make a guess on how much it costs to leave a computer on all the time he was shocked.  If you don't power your computer down when you're not using it, you can plan on spending almost $140 bucks a year on that power sucker.  "Wow," Dustin told me, "I had no idea, I really thought it would be a low pull, I know I'll shut if off from now on."

The den is another place to save.  Your TV, DVD player and stereo are pulling lots of energy even when you do not have them on.  Some stereos are NOT music to your ears.  One we tested cost almost $20 bucks a year with no sound turned on.  Tera Tucker, also works at Home Depot, she and her husband were recently shocked when they opened their power bill.  "He said, look at this.  Well, I know what I'll be doing when I get home, everything will be unplugged," Tucker told me.  We found the DVD player was the only component that didn't pull power when not in use.  

If you see a lamp on in an empty room, walk in and turn if off.  A floor lamp we tested will use $46 worth of power when on, but turn it off and it's truly off. 

If you want to reduce your power bill, put all of your components on power strips that have an on off switch.  Make sure they are in a location that is easily accessible.

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