Do Power-Saving Devices Really Reduce Your Electric Bill?
With the relentless hikes in electricity prices, you probably can’t help but wonder how much more will your electric bill rise. The painful answer? A whole lot more. The trend shows an upward curve, with the price spikes showing no signs of abating anytime soon.
You can’t stop the increases in power rates, but there’s something you can control to address your electricity costs – your energy consumption. One of the ways to save money on your electricity bills is by using power-saving devices that claim to drive down electricity consumption and your electric bill along with it.
Due to the never-ending surges in power prices, power savers are gaining popularity in the country. But the question is, do energy-saving devices really work? Are they worth your hard-earned money or are they simply money-making schemes that bring no value whatsoever?
Let’s talk about power savers and which of these can actually help reduce your electricity bill.
What is an Energy Saving Device?
Energy-saving devices are equipment designed to help curtail your home’s energy consumption and, in turn, your electric bill. Some of the most commonly used power savers are smart outlets, LED bulbs, smart power strips, intelligent energy meters, and energy-efficient household appliances.
How Does it Really Work?
How these power-saving devices work depends on their type. Some are made up of capacitors that cut down the energy wastage of your electrical appliances by eliminating power surges and providing a more stable electricity flow. As a result, a greater portion of the electrical energy goes into powering the household appliances instead of being dispersed as heat. An electricity-saving box is a good example of this type of power saver.
Other energy-saving devices limit the power consumption of electrical equipment by automatically cutting off the power supply when the electronics or appliances are not in use. Smart power strips turn off the power of home appliances, such as coffee makers, microwave ovens, televisions, desktop PCs, and any device connected to the socket if they are not being used.
Meanwhile, LED bulbs and energy-efficient home appliances use less power and work more effectively than traditional models. On the other hand, intelligent meters don’t actually save energy per se but instead give you an idea of how much power your appliances and electrical devices consume. This lets you pinpoint where you’ll need to curb your electricity usage.
Are the Claims of Power Saving Devices Really True?
Unfortunately, not all power-saving devices work, although all of them claim they do. Which one will give your actual savings on your electricity bill depends on the type of power saver device you choose and how you use it.
For example, some energy-saving devices work by employing power factor correction. These will help save energy if a significant portion of your home’s consumption comes from inductive loads. These include air conditioners, vacuum cleaners, and electric fans. If you have primarily resistive loads, such as incandescent bulbs and electric kettles, then a power saver, you will get minimal benefits from the device.
Benefits of Using an Electricity-Saving Device
Despite the controversy surrounding some popular energy-saving devices, like the electricity-saving box, getting one for your home will still be a smart move. You’ll just have to choose the energy saver that fits your home’s electricity consumption profile and, of course, your budget.
Here are the advantages power savers bring.
Help reduce your home’s carbon footprint
Carbon footprint refers to the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere resulting from burning fossil fuels. Carbon compounds trap heat and are one of the causes of climate change. Using energy-saving devices can help minimize your electricity usage. As a result, less electricity needs to be generated, which means fewer fossil fuels get burned.
You save money
Electricity rates have risen by 15.8 percent in the last year and are forecast to reach an average of 14.8 cents per kWh from the current 13.7 cents. That means every kWh you shave off your power usage counts. The savings you get on your electric bill can even offset the cost of the energy saver you purchase for your home.
Benefits the environment
Using power-saving devices that tone down your energy usage minimizes the exploitation of natural resources, such as oil, coal, and natural gas. These resources are dwindling fast, so efforts to curb their consumption help delay their depletion. Moreover, minimizing the burning of fossil fuels also decreases the pollutants the process releases into the air, giving the environment a much-needed boost.
Earn a return on your investment
Some power-saving devices have high sticker prices. However, you can recoup the amount you spend, plus a few bucks more, from the amount you save on your energy bills. Moreover, expect your savings to increase over time as electricity rates continue to rise.
Energy-Saving Devices that Really Work
Watch out for energy savers that promise to cut your consumption based on unsupported or dubious claims. Those power-saving devices won’t probably work. Fortunately, some do an excellent job of helping you use less power and, thus, save money on your utilities. Here are some energy-saving devices that really work
Energy Star Appliances
Energy Star appliances are certified by the US Department of Energy. They generally consume around 10 to 50 percent less energy per year than conventional or non-Energy Star models. That’s because they use the energy they draw from the grid more efficiently. Thus, they save electricity without compromising performance. In fact, because of technological advances, Energy Star appliances sometimes perform better than their traditional counterparts.
Solar is a renewable energy resource coming from the sun. Photovoltaic (PV) panels capture the energy from the sun’s rays and transform it into electricity. You can install solar panels in your home or use solar-powered appliances to take advantage of this free energy. These appliances include solar cookers, solar water heaters, solar attic fans, and other household appliances that run on solar power. Such electronics have their own system that harnesses the sun’s energy and turns it into heat or electricity.
Renewable Energy Electric Generators
Renewable energy electric generators refer to self-replenishing natural sources that can produce clean electricity. They come in many forms. Examples are solar panel systems that can power a whole house, portable solar generators with batteries, and small wind turbines for residential use.
LED bulbs are excellent power savers that are proven to help energy consumers save money. The highly efficient lighting technology consumes less power than conventional light bulbs while providing higher illumination levels. LED bulbs, particularly Energy Star-rated ones, use 75 percent less energy than incandescent lighting.
Smart Power Strips
One way to save money is by cutting unnecessary energy usage. A power-saver device that can help you with this goal is a smart power strip. The device plugs into a standard power socket and cuts the power supply of electronics in standby mode. This is a tried and tested method of eliminating phantom loads, or the electricity used by devices that are turned off but remain plugged into the wall outlet. Using smart power strips can cut 10 percent of your power bills.
A smart meter is similar to a conventional utility meter. It performs the same function of measuring and recording your home’s energy consumption. It’s not an actual power saver device because it does not have the capability to limit your electricity usage. What it does is give you the ability to track your energy consumption in real time. As a result, you have a chance to employ energy conservation methods if you want to reduce your bill and save money.
Keeping your home at a comfortable temperature requires a significant amount of energy. A programmable thermostat can bring down consumption by letting you control the settings of your heating and cooling devices according to your needs and habits. For example, if you don’t want to cool an empty house, you can program the thermostat to turn on your air conditioner only when you’re about to come home.
Like smart meters, energy monitors don’t actively cut down your power usage. But they’re great energy-saving devices because they let you determine not just your whole house’s electricity consumption but also which appliances drain the most electricity. Using these monitors can also help you find out how much you could save if you make some modifications to your energy use.
Tips to Reduce Your Energy Bill
On average, Americans spend over $1300 a year on electricity. That’s a significant amount and will likely increase in the coming months. That’s why using power-saving devices can be a wise move, as those devices can potentially cut your consumption and take a few bucks off your electricity budget.
You won’t run out of power-saving options. Aside from using an electricity-saving box, here are some proven methods of saving energy.
Disconnect all appliances you’re not using
We mentioned how plugged electronics continue draining power from the circuit. Chargers, computers, televisions, printers, and anything with digital displays keep using electricity even when turned off. For example, some washing machine models use 4W in the OFF mode while certain laptop brands still draw 27W after being shut down. The solution? Pull the plug of these electronics off the socket to prevent them from sucking up energy.
Use energy-efficient electronics and devices
Appliances bearing the Energy Star seal are your best bet if you plan to replace your old models. These appliances are designed to use energy more efficiently without sacrificing performance. As a result, they consume less electricity. For example, some Energy Star-certified refrigerators use less electricity than a 60-watt light bulb.
Turn off the lights
Lighting solutions aren’t electricity drains, especially if you use LED bulbs, which typically consume just 7 to 10 watts. However, the consumption adds up. Multiply the number of lights you use by the hours in a day they operate, and you’ll get what we mean. You don’t have to grope in the dark to dial down your power usage. What will work in saving money is turning off the lights in unused areas of your home. Saving even just 0.04 watts per bulb will help lower your energy costs.
Use energy-saving devices
We’re not talking about getting an electricity-saving box, as such a device isn’t guaranteed to lower your power use. That’s because other factors can influence if an electricity-saving box will work for you. We’re referring to energy-saving devices that were proven effective in curtailing electricity use. These include smart sockets, programmable thermostats, smart meters, and solar-powered electronics.
Reduce water usage
Most homes in the country have hot running water, which requires a water heater. You’ll inevitably reduce your energy costs by saving water because your heater will heat less water. Moreover, your water pump (which also runs on electric power) will operate less frequently if you reduce your water consumption.
Does an Energy Saver Really Work on an Air Conditioner?
Most energy-saving devices will work on air conditioners. An electricity-saving box can lower the AC unit’s energy use because the device minimizes power fluctuations and provides a more stable flow of electricity. This stable flow leads to less power wastage from your air conditioning unit. Meanwhile, energy monitors will let you determine your AC’s kWh consumption, allowing you to adjust your usage accordingly.
Which Mode of AC Consumes Less Electricity?
The Fan mode in an AC unit consumes significantly less energy compared to other settings such as the cool, dry, and energy saver modes. This is because the fan requires less electricity to operate than the compressor. However, it may not be the best mode in terms of comfort. For this purpose, setting the Ac unit in Eco Saver or Energy Saver will provide cooling while consuming less electricity than the Cooling mode, which is the default setting of air conditioners.
Can You Save Electricity by Unplugging?
You can save about 10 percent monthly on electricity expenses if you unplug unused appliances. That’s because plugged-in electric devices keep drawing power even when you don’t use them. Pulling the plug out of the socket will stop the electricity from draining out and hiking your energy costs.
Is it Cheaper to Run AC All Day?
It may seem cheaper to turn off the AC during certain times of the day, especially when you’ll be out of the house for, say, a couple of hours. However, switching off your air conditioning system, particularly during scorching weather, can let a lot of heat and humidity into your living space. As such, when you turn your AC back on, the appliance will have to work hard to bring the temperature to a comfortable level. The process can also take a while and places too much strain on the unit. That’s why keeping the AC running all day is the cheaper option.
Whether an energy-saving device will really work to lower your energy usage depends on the type you get. An electricity-saving box may not significantly affect your power costs if your home has mostly resistive loads. However, other electricity-saving devices have been proven effective in helping consumers minimize power expenditures.
To ensure you’re not wasting money, research the different equipment that can put a dent in your power use. Smart power strips, Energy Star-rated appliances, and programmable thermostats are some devices that can boost your efforts to save electricity and money.