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Old 04-26-2006, 10:26 AM   #1
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Little Black Boxes

I always unplug the little black boxes around the house. Do you know what i am talking about? The little boxes for cell phone chargers, computer speakers, printers, laptop chargers, etc, that convert AC to DC power. These use a small amount of power continuously, so to save power you can unplug them.
Also, VCRs and stereo components frequently are on standby (using power continuously so the remote can turn them on). You can put these on a surge protector to turn them all off when not in use (if you dont mind the flashing clock on the VCR).
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Old 04-26-2006, 10:29 AM   #2
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dont ever buy a fish tank.

dont ever buy a fish tank.
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Old 04-26-2006, 10:31 AM   #3
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Re: dont ever buy a fish tank.

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dont ever buy a fish tank.
Or a hot tub :P
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Old 04-26-2006, 02:00 PM   #4
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Re: Little Black Boxes

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Originally Posted by James
I always unplug the little black boxes around the house. Do you know what i am talking about? The little boxes for cell phone chargers, computer speakers, printers, laptop chargers, etc, that convert AC to DC power. These use a small amount of power continuously, so to save power you can unplug them.
Also, VCRs and stereo components frequently are on standby (using power continuously so the remote can turn them on). You can put these on a surge protector to turn them all off when not in use (if you dont mind the flashing clock on the VCR).
I read an article that collectively in the US, these step-down transformers use a tremendous amount of power just sitting there, plugged-in. If it's not needed, I guess unplug it -- but I'd leave the cordless phone plugged-in, just in case somebody calls.

RH77

edit: I do something crazy like that too. As you probably know I spend most of my week in hotel rooms as I travel for work. Whenever I get into the room, if it has a mini-fridge, 99% of the time it's on "max", so I turn it down to the lowest setting. Whenever I leave, I turn off all the lights and the Heat/AC -- then adjust the drapes according to expected temps/sun exposure. I'm not personally saving any money, but less energy is used, which is a good thing 8)
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Old 04-26-2006, 02:44 PM   #5
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Re: Little Black Boxes

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edit: I do something crazy like that too. As you probably know I spend most of my week in hotel rooms as I travel for work. Whenever I get into the room, if it has a mini-fridge, 99% of the time it's on "max", so I turn it down to the lowest setting. Whenever I leave, I turn off all the lights and the Heat/AC -- then adjust the drapes according to expected temps/sun exposure. I'm not personally saving any money, but less energy is used, which is a good thing 8)
I dig your style. I am housesitting for a friend right now, and found myself inflating car tires, cleaning air filters, turning off fridges, unplugging things. Ha, I can't help it, its fun (or maybe an obsession).
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Old 04-26-2006, 03:11 PM   #6
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Re: Little Black Boxes

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Originally Posted by James
I dig your style. I am housesitting for a friend right now, and found myself inflating car tires, cleaning air filters, turning off fridges, unplugging things. Ha, I can't help it, its fun (or maybe an obsession).
James, the rogue energy saver. Thanks for the props man, same to you. My wife drives me nuts with energy usage. Stuff that I have to correct (I still love her for it):

*Leaving the Fridge/Freezer open until the item goes back in. This could be up to 30 seconds or more.

*Lights left on -- I'm always switching off lights that were forgotten about.

*Not adjusting the blinds to keep the heat out in the afternoon/evenings -- the A/C just runs all evening.

Stuff that I do that probably doesn't make much energy sense: I leave the blower on the Heat-A/C running all the time -- this way, air circulates around the house and eliminates hot/cold spots, filters out allergens, and I heard the starting-up of the fan is what uses the most energy -- so it might equal out.

I leave the outside lights on all the time -- although they're fluorescent. I need to get a light sensor to trigger their use (the incandescents would last longer when on all the time, so the habit stuck (more security).

I bought this new house with the least efficient heat-pump/Air with gas backup. The yellow energyguide sticker has the furnace buried as the benchmark for the WORST efficiency. The heat pump and air unit is down in the same territory. If I replace it, I could recoup the savings after about 5 years. It's the initial investment that kills ya. I'd like to go solar on the West roof because the sun really hits there -- but again, initial investment and practicality. I got vetoed for collecting the rainwater from the roof to water the lawn and plants (the tank was too unsightly). I'm still working on that ;-)

RH77
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Old 04-26-2006, 03:15 PM   #7
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Re: Little Black Boxes

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Originally Posted by rh77
I got vetoed for collecting the rainwater from the roof to water the lawn and plants (the tank was too unsightly). I'm still working on that ;-)

I'm actually going to be doing this (I think). Pick up a copy of "You Grow Girl" and give it to you wife as a gift. It has cool ideas on how to make your garden/yard much more hip and enviromentally friendly, including ideas for trapping rain water.
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Old 04-26-2006, 03:21 PM   #8
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Re: Little Black Boxes

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I'm actually going to be doing this (I think). Pick up a copy of "You Grow Girl" and give it to you wife as a gift. It has cool ideas on how to make your garden/yard much more hip and enviromentally friendly, including ideas for trapping rain water.
The City of Kansas City, MO and Jackson County (where I live) has an agressive goal to have residents place 10,000 "rain gardens" on their property so runoff is minimized. They have a bunch of great ideas for water-hungry plants (I have a pooling spot in my back yard -- damn builder, nobody will correct it under warranty). It backs-up to the power box and pools. I'd have to get the "Dig Right" folks out to mark, but something has to be done -- it's a muddy mess to mow, and an insect breeding haven -- a perfect spot to install rocks and sand to soak up the water and feed the plant, and prevent runoff.

Anyways, the website for the rain gardens. The Mayor is really pushing this one.

RH77
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Old 04-26-2006, 03:25 PM   #9
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Re: Little Black Boxes

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Originally Posted by rh77
The City of Kansas City, MO and Jackson County (where I live) has an agressive goal to have residents place 10,000 "rain gardens" on their property so runoff is minimized. They have a bunch of great ideas for water-hungry plants (I have a pooling spot in my back yard -- damn builder, nobody will correct it under warranty). It backs-up to the power box and pools. I'd have to get the "Dig Right" folks out to mark, but something has to be done -- it's a muddy mess to mow, and an insect breeding haven -- a perfect spot to install rocks and sand to soak up the water and feed the plant, and prevent runoff.

Anyways, the website for the rain gardens. The Mayor is really pushing this one.

RH77
Oh my... you live in Jackson County.... lots of history in that location tied to my location.

I think it's admirable that your mayor is spearheading the effort to do something enviromentally responsible.
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Old 04-26-2006, 03:37 PM   #10
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Re: Little Black Boxes

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Originally Posted by Matt Timion
Oh my... you live in Jackson County.... lots of history in that location tied to my location.

I think it's admirable that your mayor is spearheading the effort to do something enviromentally responsible.
Yeah, we're lucky to have her right now. We're getting a downtown arena, and a bond just passed for the Chiefs and Royals stadiums to keep the revenue coming in. The IRS is building a huge facility downtown and H&R block (from KC) is expanding in a similar fashion. Problem is: the KCMO school system -- lost their accreditation due to corruption and poor test scores - who can get into college that way? That and the murder rate really needs to improve. Otherwise, in a very "Red-State" locale, we have some strong leaders that advocate environmental responsibility: another one is Kathleen Sibelius, Governor of Kansas.

By the way, what are the ties to Jacomo, if you don't mind me askin'? I live in Lee's Summit on the Cass/Jackson line (extreme Southwest edge of town).

RH77
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