Saving Electricity home As seen in Newsweek, Forbes, NPR, the Christian Science Monitor, CNET, PC Magazine, InfoWorld, and everywhere else. About  
Rebates & Tax Credits
for U.S. consumers

Incentives for installing insulation and for buying energy-efficient appliances like refrigerators, washing machines, and air conditioners are often available from local and state governments and utilities. You can see what's available at DSIRE,, and Energy Star.

Related sites:

Home Power Magazine. All about renewable energy for the home.

No-Impact Man. Blog about a family striving to have no net impact. (i.e., What little they use, they offset.) Inspirational.

Off-Grid. News and resources about living without being connected to a utility company.

Mr. Electricity in the news:

"Michael Bluejay runs the outstanding Saving Electricity site that I've mentioned many times before." —J.D. Roth, Get Rich Slowly

Deep Green (book) by Jenny Nazak, 2018
Small Steps, Big Strides: Building Sustainability Habits at Home (book), Lucinda F. Brown, 2016
How much money you'll save with these common energy-saving strategies, Lifehacker, Sep. 28, 2015
Radio interview about saving electricity, Newstalk 1010 (Toronto), April 21, 2015
How much does your PC cost in electricity?, PC Mech, Nov 21, 2013
How Much Electricity Do Your Gadgets Really Use?, Forbes, Sep. 7, 2013
Can my bicycle power my toaster?, Grist, June 10, 2013
Six summer debt traps and how to avoid them, Main St, June 5, 2013
To convert to gas or electric?, Marketplace Radio (NPR), July 20, 2012
8 Simple Ways to Reduce Household Waste, Living Green Magazine, June 29, 2012
Why is my electric bill so high?, New York Daily News, Mar. 27, 2012
Fight the Power, CTV (Canada's largest private broadcaster), Mar. 23, 2012
How to Cut Your Electric Bill, Business Insider, Mar. 20, 2012
Tips to save energy when using your computer, WPLG Channel 10 (Miami, FL), Feb. 23, 2012
How long will it take an energy-efficient washer/dryer to pay for itself?, Christian Science Monitor, Oct. 29, 2011
10 Easy Ways to Lower Your Electric Bill, Forbes, August 23, 2011
18 ways to save on utility bills, AARP, July 9, 2011
How to Save $500 Worth of Energy This Summer, TIME magazine, June 28, 2011
Hot over the energy bill? Turn off the A/C, just chill, Chicago Tribune, June 24, 2011
Cool Site of the Day, Kim Komando (syndicated radio host), May 29, 2011
This calculator shows how much you spend washing clothes, Lifehacker, May 6, 2011
What you pay when you're away, WCPO Channel 9 (Cincinatti), May 5, 2011
Spotting energy gluttons in your home, Chicago Tribune (CA), Apr. 7, 2011
Walnut Creek author has tips for livng a thrifty life, Contra Costa Times (CA), Jan. 24, 2011
Do space heaters save money and energy?, Mother Jones, Jan. 10, 2011
Energy steps to take for a less pricey winter, Reuters, Nov. 10, 2010
Should you shut down your computer or put it to sleep?, Mother Jones, Nov. 1, 2010
Energy saving tips for fall, Chicago Tribune & Seattle Times Nov. 7, 2010
10 ways to save money on your utility bill, Yahoo! Finance, Oct. 2, 2010
Mr. Electricity Ranks Refrigerators & Electrical Wasters, Green Building Elements, Sep. 8, 2010
The case against long-distance relationships, Slate, Sep. 3, 2010
10 household items that are bleeding you dry, Times Daily (Florence, AL), July 27, 2010
Cold, hard cash, Kansas City Star, June 22, 10
Stretch your dollar, not your budget, Globe and Mail, May 18, 2010
Auto abstinence, onearth magazine, Winter 2010
2010 Frugal Living Guide,
Energy-saving schemes yield €5.8m in savings, Times of Malta, Dec. 20, 09
Four ways to reduce your PC's carbon footprint, CNET, Dec 2, 09
The day I hit the brakes, onearth magazine, Fall 2009
How Much Do You Really Save By Air-Drying Your Clothes?, The Simple Dollar, 2010
Enjoy the mild weather, low electricity bills, Detroit Free Press, Jul 18, 09
The most energy-efficient way to heat a cup of water, Christian Science Monitor, Jun 16, 09
Ten ways to save energy, Times of Malta, Jan 3, 09
Measuring your green IT baseline, InfoWorld, Sep 4, 08
Bald Brothers Breakfast (MP3), ABC Adelaide, March 27, 2007
Net Interest, Newsweek, Feb 12, 07
The Power Hungry Digital Lifestyle, PC Magazine, Sep 4, 07
Net Interest, Newsweek, Feb 12, 07
Answers to all your electricity questions, Treehugger, Jul 11, 08 Going Green, Monsters and Critics, Jan 6, 2007
A hunt for energy hogs, Wall Street Journal Online, Dec 18, 06

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Electricity Myths

Does it take more energy to turn on a light than to leave it on?

No. There's no power surge when you turn on a light. Turning the light off ALWAYS saves electricity, even if it's for just a second. (more on lighting...)

Does it take more energy to turn on a computer than to leave it on?

No. There's no meaningful power surge when you turn on a computer. Turning the computer off ALWAYS saves electricity. Of course, you can also use the power saver feature. (more on computers...)

Is there ANY consumer device that uses more energy when you turn it on than when it's already on?

No, not in practical terms.

I don't believe you. Everyone says there's a surge when you turn on computers and stuff.

There's a surge but it's so tiny you can't easily measure it. That's because it happens for only a fraction of a second, and the surge itself is modest. It's certainly not costing you any extra money, not even a penny. So there's no surge in practical terms. As far as you're concerned there's no surge at all.

Think of it this way: If a device used twice as much power as normal for one full second when you turned it on, that would mean that it cost you one whole extra second of electricity. Big deal. That's a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a penny. And in fact, the surge doesn't really last for a whole second, it lasts for only a fraction of a second, and the surge isn't close to twice as much power as normal, it's much less. Bottom line: Surge is so incredibly insignificant it's really like there was no surge at all, for all intents and purposes. There is never a penalty for turning on a household device.

Does it take more energy to cool a house in which the AC has been off all day, than to keep the AC running at, say, 85 degrees during the day?

No. Cooling a hot house down at the end of the day always takes less energy than leaving the AC running all day, even if it's running on a high setting. (more on cooling...)

Does a 240V device use more electricity than the same device designed to run off 120V?

No. The electric company charges you for watt-hours, not volts, and the wattage is the same. To figure volts you use the fomula V x Amps = Watts. A device that uses twice as many volts will use half as many amps, so the wattage will be the same -- and so will the cost.

Electricity Facts

I heard that an electrical wiring problem can lead to electricity "leaking" out of the wires and into the abyss, causing a person to pay for electricity that they don't use.

Yes, this is a possible.  Note that on an earlier version of this page, I mistakenly listed this one as a Myth, but an electrician corrected me.  When the wiring isn't connected correctly, it is indeed possible for electricity to "leak".  The electrician who contacted me had a customer with a $15/mo. leak due to faulty wiring.  On another page I have detailed instructions on how to check for this kind of electricity leak.

Besides mis-wiring, you could also have undersized wiring, where the wiring is too thin to handle the load being driven.  When that happens the wiring heats up.  The extra heat generated represents wasted energy, but more importantly, the extra heat can cause a fire which can burn your house down.  If you have a modern home which had an electrical inspection when it was built then it's unlikely that your wiring is inadequate.  But if you have an older home or your wiring was never inspected when installed, it's possible that your wiring isn't sufficient for what you're running through it.  Unfortunately this isn't the kind of thing you can easily test yourself.  That's a job for a competent electrician.