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Sunday, August 7, 2011

Savings Experiment: Vacuums That Won't Clean Out Your Wallet - DailyFinance

Savings Experiment: Vacuums That Won't Clean Out Your Wallet - DailyFinance

Slay the Vampires

What's the one place people waste power and don't even realize it? Vampire power: It's the energy some appliances and electronics drain from your home when they are turned off.

"I think the biggest one is one we all should know but probably don't: that 'off' means unplugged," says Bob Hart, broker with Century 21 A Hart Realty in Santa Barbara, Calif., and green designation instructor with the National Association of Realtors. "People have no idea how many things in their house (use) electricity 24 hours a day."

Signs of a vampire: Anything with a clock or light that's on when the item is turned off. Also, any kind of plugged-in charger can be a vampire appliance — whether or not it's charging anything.
Staking vampires doesn't mean going around constantly plugging and unplugging your electrical items. (Unlike real vampires, that would get old fast.) Instead, hook things up to surge protectors. Or use outlets that connect to wall switches for vampire items. When the wall switch is off, there's no power to drain.

Skip the Arctic AC

Who doesn't come in from the sweltering heat and vow to crank the air conditioning down to a temperature usually reserved for penguin nesting grounds?

But icing down the whole house just to cool you off for a few minutes is expensive. So keep the air conditioning at a reasonable setting and look for other ways to chill when you first come inside. Have an icy drink, put a cold compress on the back of your neck or change into some cool, absorbent clothes.

Another effective strategy: a quick, cool shower, says Gia LaRussa, marketing director for the G2 Gallery, a green art space in Los Angeles.

"You don't need to blast the AC," she says. "It really does help a lot."