New York City residents: Have you switched from Con Edison to another electricity and/or gas supplier under deregulation? If so, have you seen a significant difference in your bill, and how is the new provider's customer service? I'm trying to decide whether to switch to another provider (Econnergy, Energetix, etc.) for electricity, gas, or both.
I just picked up a 1000W step-down converter (220V-110V) to power a receiver after a 750W exploded in a blaze of glory when I turned it on one morning. I'd very much like to avoid this kind of thing again. So my question is, is it relatively safe to keep step-down converters turned on at all times? If so, will it constantly be using 1000W of power even when the receiver is turned off? I've heard differing opinions but found no definitive answer on the interwebs. Related, is it true that you should always have something plugged into the converter when it is turned on?
I have two Nokia mobile phones - one purchased in the US and one that I've purchased here in Indonesia, both with their own similar-looking chargers (though with obvious differences on the plugs). Can I charge the Indonesian phone in the US on the US charger? [more inside]
Does an incandescent lightbulb continue to use electricity after it's burnt out? [more inside]
static electricity problem: Comfy new office chair (on carpet) gives me strong static charge. My metal computer desk does not like this. Help me stop getting shocked.
I need a new electric company. But there seems to be only one really sheisty one here in Daytona, FL. Am I doomed to pay their extortion? [more inside]
Do power tools need more than just a voltage converter to work in Eastern Europe (Belgrade, Serbia)? My father wants to purchase a power tool for my father in law (think a drill...). (more inside) [more inside]
How to make a simple railgun to demonstrate the principle to children? [more inside]
We live in a two bedroom apartment in Brooklyn. Our electricity bill averages between $60 and $80 a month. Yesterday, however, we received a bill in the mail seeking an additional $645 for the past 215 days. [more inside]
One residential electrical junction box with wires coming into it from two different circuit breakers, is this to code or completely whack? [more inside]
What's the best way to organize a mountain of computer-related power adapters that is a) safe, and b) neat? [more inside]
Voltage converter / inflating an air mattress to be used in Italy: My friend, a sculpture instructor in Florence, Italy, is putting us up and guiding us around the city. Very cool. He has asked that we bring an air mattress with an electric pump, which he will later use for camping, also in Italy. [more inside]
Will it cost less to run a gas furnace to heat the entire house or to use a space heater to heat one room? [more inside]
My microwave is driving me nuts! [more inside]
How did people describe "electric" experiences before electricity? I got to wondering when someone described the feeling of being pressed up against someone as "electric"...surely people had that experience (for example) before it meant "like invisible power" or "tingly all over"? [more inside]
After a last minute sale of my condo, the deal on the house I bought closes on Thursday. I need to arrange for utilities, insurance, and some repairs, and have next-to-no time to do research. If you have a satisfactory provider of any of these things and said provider's services are available to a Torontonian, recommend away! And of course I'll think of you all when I'm doing my happy dance on my rooftop terrace;-) [more inside]
I need some new sockets to dip my prongs into. [more inside]
Our bedroom fan with light bulbs makes a quick snapping or popping noise when it's off. Normal? Bad? [more inside]
WTF just happened in our kitchen? It was like a mini lightning storm! Maybe a power surge interacting with the steam from the open microwave? Complete details inside. [more inside]
I live in a hundred-year old house (in Los Angeles, no less!) that has limited electrical outlets. I have unlimited (it seems) electronics - three computers, monitors, two laser printers, two air conditioners, electric heater (in the winter), etc. The house was upgraded from old-style fuses to circuit breakers a few years ago. It is a rental so I am not able to do any upgrades. None of the wall outlets are three prong, so I am using adapters. In the summer, my office is just overdone with things drawing power - all three computers, the printers, AC, and probably 20 (or more) smaller items - cell phone, postage scale, radio, etc.... [more inside]
Why do my lights turn on by themselves? Do I have poltergeists? [more inside]
Electric Eel powerplant, why not? [more inside]
How could I have LED's on a pane of glass light up with no visible contacts like This amazing table? [more inside]
Was I struck by lighting? [more inside]
The power in our downstairs is out but there are no breakers in the fuse panel showing red. Can any electricians out there 'shed some light' (groan....) ???? [more inside]
I understand that incandescent light bulbs are antiquated and extremely wasteful, but LED and fluorescent light looks horrible... [more inside]
Why is my electricty going on and off? It's not a blown fuse/circuit because it comes back on again. What would cause this? What should I tell an electrician to do in order to get them to fix the problem? [more inside]
My old electric hot water service has sprung a leak, and I'm researching replacement options. Is there anything greener and more cost-effective available to this Australian than off-peak electric? [more inside]
Why is our electricity bill so high? [more inside]
ChargerFilter: Do chargers for things like mobile phones, digital cameras, camcorders etc. use power (and cost money) if they are left plugged in? [more inside]
Physics filter: The original fuse for an Ikea lighting system was rated for 6.3A and 250V. After a power surge, I noticed that the fuse had been toasted. Upon visiting 3 hardware stores, the best I could find was a similar fuse rated for 3.15A and 125V. Since V=I*R, it follows that the resistance is identical when the original fuse is compared with the replacement. Does this mean that these fuses are functionally equal?
How do electric meters work? How do they measure the amount of charge you used? I suspect they must know the amount of charge that enters the home, and then they have some way to measure the amount of charge that leaves the house, but I'm really not sure. [more inside]
Homerepairfilter: a light bulb blows out. The glass and metal part separate. How do I get the metal part out so I can replace the bulb? [more inside]
I just found out our new neighbors are stealing our power. What to do? [more inside]
I'm trying to insulate my window/frame... can anyone help me devise a solution? [more inside]
EnergyPurchaseFilter: What is the deal with non-regulated electric purchasing? Who's had experience with this, and was it all the [highly suspect] awesome hoopla that it's played to be by the companies/government? Bonus points if you live/have lived in New Hampshire, where I'm trying to figure out this whole mess. [more inside]
In the UK we have cheap rate electricity between 12.30am and 7.30am, but how does it work? [more inside]
I've been living in my apartment since December, and I still haven't received an electric bill from ConEd. It was made clear that we had to sign up to receive power and we did that -- my wife called in, gave them her social security number, address, etc. Still, no bill. The meter man comes by every month and checks the meter. Still, no bill. [more inside]
I need to make the bulbs in a lamp pulse on and off. [more inside]
How do you get your music off a malfunctioning iPod? [more inside]
Safe to use an extension cord for a small refrigerator? [more inside]
TiVo with Dish Network in a 30-year-old high-rise Chicago building? [more inside]
I'm looking for a safe way to generate a lot of sparks for a film. [more inside]
On our property there's a rather substantial brook running through it, which runs year round and doesn't freeze over. It's probably too wide for a traditional undershot waterwheel (at least 12 feet across at its most narrow), to supply some alternate power to our house, but maybe there's something else that could make the most of the constant flowing water?
My garbage disposal trips the nearby GFCI circuit every time I use it. What can I do? [more inside]
How can the energy cost of an electronic device over a span of time be calculated?
Cat Filter - In the winter the static electricity gets in the way of the cat & my... well... lets just say personal time. Any advice? [more inside]
I'm looking for a book that teaches electricity well. The Mims book definitely doesn't cut it - I want something more along the lines of "The Way Things Work" in clarity and accessibility, but I still want it to actually teach the underlying math; i.e., I want it to show me the material in pictures and equations. [more inside]
I was typing on my laptop and my husband touched my face. His hand gave me a shock, and then my computer restarted itself. [more inside]