A Little Experiment

For the past few weeks we’ve been doing a little experiment with our electricity use. Every night we unplug the gigantic box of cords that plugs in our computer/printer/wireless stuff, as well as the power cord that plugs in our TV/DVD/sound system apparatus. I do plug the TV back in for half an hour or 45 minutes in the morning to do my workout, and there have been a few days when I’ve had to turn on the computer for urgent business like making up invoices or doing some work for a client, but other than that we do not plug everything back in until the kids are in bed. This means we only have those items plugged in for about 4-5 hours a day instead of on all the time.

In the past, we’ve resisted unplugging electrical devices because some people say that it uses more power to restart a computer or that it doesn’t use much power anyway. Then I read about a family who tried this experiment and saw their electric bill go down by $50 a month so we thought it would be worth a try. Because of the way our utility bill is calculated, I think we will need to wait another full month or so before we get a bill for a full month where the appliances were unplugged so we can make a complete comparison. We have not changed any of our other electrical use habits.

So far the most interesting difference is that I’ve been made aware of how much time I spend on the internet. I can read email and do a few other things on my phone, but I generally don’t and so the bulk of my internet time is happening after the kids go to bed. I’ve been sort of appalled to note that I have a hard time limiting myself to two hours on the computer. I never considered how those few minutes here and there throughout the day added up. I’ve been forced to consider my computer time priorities and that’s been for the best. Perhaps by the time we figure out if this experiment is financially productive, I’ll have a better handle on how I spend my time on the computer.

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