Phantom (Standby) Power
Many appliances and electronic equipment use electricity even when turned off. An estimated 6% of average household electric use 43 billion kilowatt-hours per year in the United States.
Some standby power is useful:
Save money on heating your water.
Most water heaters are factory set to 140 degrees, but you could reduce that to 120 degrees and not feel any difference in your shower.
Lowering the temperatures by 20 degrees could mean a savings of at least 6 percent in your water heating costs.
Think about getting a low-flow shower head, which uses at least 25 percent less water. Many of these shower heads costs less than $20, and you won't feel a difference in the water pressure.
If you have an older water heater that lacks built-in insulation, consider buying a jacket or blanket for the heater, especially if it's located in a cold area. Such jackets cost between $10 and $20, but they could save you an added 4 to 9 percent on water heating costs, adding that the cover would pay for itself in about a year. You can get a jacket or blanket at any hardware store.
Steps to Take to Prevent Frozen Pipes.
Pipes freeze for a combination of three central reasons: quick drops in temperature, poor insulation, and thermostats set too low. Take these steps to protect your pipes and home when extreme winter weather arrives:
• Make sure your furnace is set no lower than 55 degrees during the winter to prevent pipes from freezing.
• A trickle of hot and cold water might be all it takes to keep your pipes from freezing.
• During periods of extreme cold keep your thermostat set at the same temperature during both day and night.
• Open cabinet doors to allow heat to get to un-insulated pipes under sinks and appliances near exterior walls.
• Test each faucet in your home each morning to make sure a pipe hasn't frozen.
The furnace or boiler is the largest energy user in most homes.