Biggest User Is it time for an upgrade?

Estimate your home appliances’ energy use.

nefficient appliances can have a huge impact on your home’s monthly electric bill. Replacing a refrigerator made before 1993 with a new, ENERGY STAR-rated model could cut \$65 to \$100 off your power costs each year. When evaluating old appliances a key question emerges: Which is the biggest user? To estimate energy consumption of an appliance, use this general formula provided by the U.S. Department of Energy’s EnergySavers.gov:

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(Wattage × Hours used per day × Days used per year) ÷ 1,000 = Annual kilowatt-hour (kWh) used - Remember: 1,000 watts = 1 kilowatt (kW).

Then calculate the annual cost by multiplying the kWh per year by .1519.

For example, a PC and monitor: [(120 Watts + 150 Watts) × 4 hours per day × 365 days per year] ÷ 1000

= 394 kWh × 15.19 cents/kWh = \$59.85/year

You can find the wattage of most appliances stamped on

the bottom or back of the appliance or on its nameplate. The wattage listed shows the maximum power drawn by the appliance.

Keep in mind that newer electronics and appliances often draw power even while turned off. A good indicator of this “phantom load” is to check the device for a light that stays on all the time. Phantom load will add a few watt-hours to energy consumption, but a few watt-hours on each of your electronic devices adds up. Unplug the device or invest in a “smart” power strip, which allows certain electronics-like a cable box, which must reboot after being unplugged-to continue using electricity while others can be completely shut down.

Here are examples of the range of wattages for common household appliances:

Clothes washer: 350–500 Watts Clothes dryer: 1800–5000 Watts Dishwasher: 1200–2400 Watts (without heat drying feature) Hair dryer: 1200–1875 Watts Microwave oven: 750–1100 Watts Refrigerator (frost-free, 16 cubic feet): 725 Watts

Protect Against Power Surges

plugged into a wall outlet. “A surge is a boost in the electrical charge over a power line. This can be caused by lightning, but is more commonly caused by motor-driven electrical devices, such as air conditioners and refrigerators, that require a lot of energy for starting and stopping compressors. Some surges can also be caused by faulty wiring. “Power surges come in all shapes

and sizes—the most extreme case being a lightning strike because it can destroy equipment and sometimes

Power surges can cause cumulative damage while d e c r e a si n g the lifespan of electronics or anything

set your house on fire,” comments Alan Shedd, director of residential &#38; commercial energy programs for Touchstone Energy® Cooperatives, the national brand for America’s electric cooperatives. “Surges can happen through any connection on your equipment. If there is a wire connected to your equipment, then it provides a path for a surge.” A surge protection device mounted

at your home’s main electrical panel or the base of your electric meter protects equipment inside your house or business from surges coming through “ports of entry,” such as outside electric, telephone, and TV lines. Point-of-use surge protection devices

do not suppress or arrest a surge but divert it to ground. They’re designed to protect your sensitive electronic

shopping for surge protection equipment. “Some items claim that they can save energy, and these claims are generally false,” Shedd concludes. Source: Touchstone Energy® Cooperatives

appliances, and resemble a regular plug strip. However, don’t assume your plug strip offers surge protection unless it specifically says so. You can also install special electrical outlets that offer surge protection, which can be helpful in places like kitchen countertops. One of the most effective ways to protect your property is a two-tiered approach. A service entrance surge protection device reduces power surges to a lower level that protects large appliances, such as your stove or clothes dryer, while point-of-use surge protectors defend your sensitive electronics. Remember to be cautious when

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