Solar strength – Small Loads Add Up
Using solar strength requires that the homeowner to keep track of the electrical loads. The largest electrical usage in the average home are the appliances which use about two thirds of the total. Refrigeration used the most (14% of total), followed by lighting(9%), clothes dryers (6%), and freezers and TV’s (each 3%)
Air conditioners used the most electricity (16%), space heating (10%) and water heating (9%) were the big users. These can only be powered by the largest solar systems which may cost more than you want to pay. The following are some ways to reduce the load and keep cost down, both in green strength and in electrical usage.
There are also many smaller devices in most homes that have an almost continued draw on electricity, in spite of of whether they are turned on or off. Check for yourself- walk by your home some night with all the room lights turned off- how many little red, green and blue lights nevertheless guide your way? Your TV, DVD, surround sound, stereo amp, game console, etc setting in the corner of the room probably looks like a lighted Christmas tree. All of these devices are probably in standby mode, but they are nevertheless “awake” and using electricity. Instead of turning off each one of these items separately, plug them in a strength strip and you will then have just one off-on switch. Now there is NO strength used during the times that it is switched off; which in my home, may be off from 10 o’clock at night until 6 o’clock the following evening. Those devices are now OFF about 20 hours each day.
We were all taught to turn off the room lights when we left the room. Good Idea – already if you are only going to be gone a few minutes. Also turn off the computers when finished in the evening in addition as printers, fax machine, satellite or cable box, How about all of those little black transformers that are left plugged in after charging the flashlights, remotes, phones, pagers, toys, etc? A transformer may use almost as much current setting “Idle” as when it is truly charging a battery.
According to the research at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab., these many small items in a home can use as much as 10 percent of the electricity. Just think, if all these small devices were disconnected when not in use, you could save enough money to have a free meal for the family once or twice a month.