How can I reduce my electric bill?
September 4, 2008 6:27 PM Subscribe
First time living alone, and just got my first electric bill... what's using so much power? How much power does my computer really use?
posted by Kosh to Home & Garden (35 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
This may seem like a stupid question, but any apparent stupidity is just lack of experience, as I've never lived in situations where I was completely and solely responsible for all bills before. I live in a 600 sq ft apartment with central air. Stove/oven and water heater are both gas, so the big draws on electricity are (presumably) the AC and my 24" iMac, which I use as both a music server when I'm around the apartment and connect to remotely from my laptop when I'm at school, so it's running 24/7. A large and bright display like that probably draws a fair bit of power, but when I'm not using it the display shuts off very quickly, so the display is usually off. (I have a TV as well, but it's also usually off.) I generally have the AC on at night, but off otherwise. I'm very good at shutting lights off when I'm not here, keeping the fridge door securely closed, etc. The computer is not doing processor-intensive activities when I'm not here... it has the standard set of OS X background processes going, an hourly Time Machine backup, and an IRC session in the terminal that I'll connect to remotely from my laptop or my phone when I'm out. That's it.
So, I didn't think I used a lot of power, but I received an $80 bill for less than a month's worth of power use (I moved in on 8/17). This was a good deal higher than I was expecting, because I thought I was fairly judicious about energy use and I'm not sure what I can target to reduce that bill. Is most of that bill going to be the AC, or could I put a significant dent in it by putting my computer to sleep when I'm not here? I can learn to live without the convenience of remote access or a streaming music library if it'll reduce my bill in any significant way, but my (potentially incorrect) understanding was that computers didn't use a ton of power these days and that displays were where most of the power use came from. Maybe I'm wrong?