Home electronics and appliances account for about 20% of your energy bill. But unfortunately, a lot of that energy is going to waste. DVD/VCRs, televisions, stereos, computers, and kitchen appliances continue to draw a small amount of power even when they're in off or standby mode. These electricity leaks are called "phantom loads," but the added expense they cause is very real.

Add to My To Do List

1. Use Power Strips

Power strips are one of the best protections against phantom loads, and there are several options to choose from. A basic power strip enables you to turn off multiple electronics manually or with a timer. A smart power strip will automatically turn some electronics off whenever there's a 10% drop in current.

2. Protect Against Power Surges

Power strips also provide another important safety feature - protecting your investment. When a winter storm knocks out the electricity in your home, it can damage your home electronics. But a power strip blocks that surge and, no matter what the weather, keeps your equipment running smoothly.

3. Monitor Your Total Energy Needs

If you're just starting to think about saving energy, a do-it-yourself home energy audit is a good place to start. However, if you've already made some adjustments and want to track your progress, you might want to invest in a whole house monitor that can measure your electricity usage moment-to-moment.

4. Control Your Lighting

When you see a light that's on when it's not needed, it's always good to turn it off. But what about those times when you're not there? That's where dimmers, timers, and motion-sensors come in. These automatic conveniences control your lighting when you can't. Find out more at Lighting and CFL Tips.

5. Monitor Your Water Heating

As anyone knows who's put water on the stove, heating water consumes a lot of energy. That's why showers, pools, and spas can account for up to 25% of your energy bill. The smart thing to do is to get a time switch that monitors your water heating, to make sure you're comfortable both physically and financially.