Flip the Switch: 5 Home Electronics That Drain Electricity When Left On

    When you’re taking small steps to improve the energy efficiency of your home, it’s a very rewarding pursuit! Some people choose to focus on turning lights off when they leave the room, others make home improvements to reduce drafts, and still others replace their home heating systems entirely. You can get as involved as you want when optimizing your electricity efficiency, but you don’t need to take any extreme measures.

Have you made sure you turn off and unplug home electronics that you are finished using? Even when they are plugged in and turned off, some devices continue to draw power. Whether you’re looking for everyday efficiency or want to minimize your bill while you’re away on vacation, here are five home electronics to double-check and turn off or unplug.

Home Electronics

Gaming systems

We’ve all done it – walking away from a gaming system to get a snack, you get distracted and don’t end up coming back to finish that round for hours. You might leave a gaming system on while you are at work or out of the home, and all the while, it’s draining a lot of electricity. Do your best to get your character to a save point, if applicable, then save and exit your game so you can turn off the console. While you’re at it, unplug it while you’re away to make sure it doesn’t draw any more power.

Cable boxes

When you’re not watching the TV, why would you need to have a cable box turned on? Other devices that might be turned on include the DVD player or speakers. All of these devices will continue to draw power in order to sustain the connection and allow you to start watching TV at any time. When you’re out of the house, why would you need them on? Plug them all into a power bar so you can turn the entire power strip off at once.

Printers

Home printers are a very useful invention, since you don’t need to run to the print shop to print an assignment or work paper at the last minute. The problem is, they can draw a lot of energy whether they’re left on or off. Unplug printers when they aren’t in use and patiently put up with the startup time. Most printers will start up in just a few minutes at most anyway, if not seconds.

Bedside clocks and radios

Some clocks and bedside radios are high-powered. They need to have enough energy to make loud, scary alarm sounds to wake you up, after all. Try turning them off when you get up in the morning. Some clocks need to be left plugged in, but you might find one that can be quickly set as soon as you get into bed.

Cellphone chargers

When your cellphone has finished charging, why leave it charging? You’re still drawing electricity, even if your phone doesn’t need any more charging. What’s more, you might leave the charger plugged in while you’re at work. Unplug it and just make a mental note to check whether your phone is charging when you plug in your phone to make sure you remember to plug it into the wall again.

These electronics can drain a tremendous amount of electricity before you even know it. If you make a concerted effort to turn off and unplug electronics that are not in use, you might be surprised at how much electricity you save!

 Jean Linder is a finance guru. She frequently writes about unusual money saving tips for personal finance blogs. To save on your gas bill with Alberta Energy Just Energy, click the link.

Roof Cleaning Advice for People Who Don’t Enjoy DIY

    Like a beautiful head of hair, your roof is the crowning glory for your home. But while some of us might spend a fortune on haircuts, styling products and expensive hair moisturizing creams that contain obscure ocean minerals, we quite often neglect the roof of our homes until a major problem appears. Maintenance is the key to keeping your roof in an optimum condition, meaning it’s more likely to withstand severe weather conditions and will continue to keep us dry, warm and safe. But what about those of us who aren’t so DIY inclined? Roof maintenance, even if it’s just cleaning can be a daunting prospect, and it can be tempting to get someone else to do the work for us. But not to worry, because it’s not as difficult as you might think…

Roof Cleaning Advice

Keep it Clean

Cleaning is by far the most important aspect of roof maintenance, and it’s while it’s fairly straightforward to achieve this goal, it does require a bit of effort. Most of the time, all you need is water, but a simple garden hose won’t get the job done. Rent a water pressure cleaner from your local provider and blast the dirt and accumulated grime from the roof, although if you’ve never used one before, it can be good to practice on a hard ground level surface, such as your driveway, or the path to your front door- and these parts of the home could probably do with a good cleaning too! Be careful of the direction in which you clean your roof, since when it’s wet, you can easily slip and injure yourself- so make sure you leave yourself a dry path back to the ladder, and clean this behind you as the last stage of the process.

The Chemical Solution

If it’s been some years since your roof has been cleaned, or if it’s the first time you’ve attempted the task, you might need to do a little extra work to clear algae and moss, since this commonly appears on suburban roofs. A simple chlorine wash should be effective for this, and most high-pressure water cleaners allow for the chemical to be added directly to the water supply as it shoots out of the device. The stockist from where you rented the pressure cleaner will be able to advise you about which chemical cleaner is best when you clean your roof. While the solution is highly diluted, it’s always a good idea to protect yourself with a facemask to protect against fumes, as well as gloves. Cleaning your roof can be a messy process, so make sure you wear old clothes! If the moss doesn’t shift so easily, you can also apply the cleaning solution to the roof with a garden sprayer, let it sit for 15 minutes (or more, depending on the severity of the mess), and then scrub it clean with a hard bristled broom.

Don’t Forget the Gutters

Gutters can quickly and easily become clogged with old leaves and assorted other debris, so cleaning the gutters should be done on a regular basis, particularly during fall and winter. While most of the time, wearing gloves and clearing the leaves with your hands is sufficient to get the job done effectively, you can also find specialized gutter cleaners, which are scoops that will slide easily along the gutter, removing the worst parts of the mess. While there are more likely to be leaves and debris in the colder parts of the year, it’s also important to keep the gutters clear over summer, since in the instances of forest fires, dry leaves in the gutter can act as fuel for a falling spark, putting your home at greater risk.

Marianna S. Ross is freelance writer and blogger for DIY projects. She specializes in writing about at home maintenance and landscaping projects.