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ene rg y wi s e


Digital Devices On Your Gift List? Be careful: Those gadgets can add to your electric bill


coming up in Kiamichi Country


November 19 - December 25 Lights on the Island Lake Wister State Park, Wister


November 25 - December 31 Christmas Walk through in the Woods Arrowhead Stables, Arrowhead State Park, Canadian


December 1 McAlester Downtown Christmas Parade Christmas on the Hill, McAlester


December 2- December 17 Christmas on the Farm Wild Things Farm, Pocola


December 2-3 Wilburton Main Street Santa Photos Talbot's Flowers & Gifts, Wilburton


December 3 Santa Arrives in Red Oak


December 3 Heavener Christmas Parade Heavener School


December 3 Poteau Christmas Parade, 6 pm


December 3


2 Hip Chick's Roadshow SE Expo, McAlester


December 10 Christmas Parade, Wilburton


December 17 Wilburton Chamber "Bring Christmas Back to Wilburton," cash drawing


December 21 Winter Solstice Walks Spiro Mounds, Spiro


December 24 Christmas Eve Hayride Robbers Cave State Park, Wilburton


A


h, the Digital Age. Gadgets galore, brilliant images and captivating sounds all intended


to make our lives better, happier, easier. Maybe your holiday gift list includes a few of these devices. Just remember these new capabilities come with pitfalls; vampire loads and the issue of “technology reincarnation.”


Over the course of the Digital Age, electricity use has increased. Families today own multiple TVs, computers, cell phones, gaming consoles and set top cable/satellite boxes.


These low-voltage devices come with a power adapter, or “wall wart,” that takes the 120-volt electricity supplied by Kiamichi Electric Cooperative and converts it to say, five volts. Unfortunately, most folks leave their adapters plugged in 24/7 to make recharging easier, but that wall wart uses power even when it isn’t charging a device.


This invisible energy consumption is called “vampire load.” Studies show that five to 10 percent of the average home’s energy use is from vampire loads. The only way to stop it is to unplug the power adapter when it's not in use or use smart strips. Smart strips look like the typical power strip but with a twist—only one socket gets power all the time. When the device connected to it turns on and starts using power, the remaining sockets receive power too. This is perfect for entertainment systems, computer set ups and other situations.


As technology advances, we've seen efficiency go up and purchase prices go down, which seems like a good thing. Unfortunately, when most consumers replace an outdated product, the tendency is to go bigger while continuing to use, or reincarnating, the old device as a backup unit.


For example, flat screen television prices have plummeted and so has the amount of electricity they use. Consumers wander into the big box store and are dazzled by walls of giant televisions. What they used to pay


6 | november - december 2016 | Light Post


for the paltry 32-inch model now might net them a 50-inch giant! Who doesn’t want to see their favorite show or sports event in near life size? But if you spring for the bigger TV, you won’t benefit from the increased efficiency of the newer technology. The bigger model uses as much juice as your older, smaller TV, which will probably end up in another room still using power.


Take refrigerators. Many new models include touchscreens and cameras; they can communicate over the Internet and still keep food cold and make ice! Problem is the old refrigerator usually winds up in the basement or garage, reincarnated as beverage fridge and pulling as much electricity as ever.


To help you avoid—or at least reduce—the effects of vampire loads and technology reincarnation: Invest in smart power strips and make a point to unplug power adapters when not in use. Don’t oversize your replacement appliances or entertainment gear unless your family really needs it, and recycle that old unit instead of reusing it. You'll enjoy the Digital Age for a lot less. Q


For more information on how you can improve the energy efficiency of your home, please contact your co-op at 800-888-2731 or visit www. kiamichielectric.org.


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