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Expose Energy Vampires to the Light of Day

November 04, 2015   By Jessica Yourko in Reduce The Use

If left plugged in, chargers for gadgets like smartphones and tablets can still nibble away at your power bill even when they aren't in use.

Halloween might be over, but you still need to be on the lookout for those pesky little energy vampires that are lurking in your home.

You won't find them dressed in black cloaks or sporting a pair of fangs, but they will be disguised as everyday items that suck the electricity from your home while running up your electric bill. It's something electric utilities call "phantom power" or " standby power ."

Consider your mobile phone charger; most of us have a few plugged in at home whether or not we're charging our devices. Believe it or not, these kinds of gadgets are still consuming tiny amounts of electricity when they're not in use, and it can add up across an entire household. Other electronics like cable boxes, digital video recorders, game consoles and stereos will also take a bite out of your bill — sometimes as much as 10 percent or more — even when they're in standby mode.

If you are like me and despise paying for... Continue Reading >>

Tune up as the leaves fall

October 21, 2015   By Nicole Aiello in Reduce The Use

Autumn is the perfect time to tune up your heat pump. 

I love fall. I love the blazing colors of leaves against blue skies. I love that it’s chilly in the morning, warm and inviting during the day, and back to chilly in the evening. I love the smell of campfires. I also love that my electric bill usually begins to fall.

Watching your bill shrink from the higher payments of summer – especially during a hot summer when using your air conditioning 24/7 – shouldn’t make you lazy about saving energy, though.

One of the first things you should put on your energy saving list is to have your heat pump tuned up. If you’re like me, you had your air conditioning pumping out cool air for the past 4 to 5 months. Now is the time, before the first frost, to make sure it will get you through the winter. Plus, a heat pump that is running efficiently will save you money on your electric bill.

Santee Cooper works with a number of Trade Allies in Berkeley, Georgetown and... Continue Reading >>

The teatime torrent

September 09, 2015   By Kevin F. Langston in Reduce The Use
The British soap opera " Eastenders " has been on the air since 1985 and rates as one of the British Broadcasting Corporation's most popular programs. It has an average audience share of 30 percent per episode, which means three out of every 10 televisions in the United Kingdom is tuned to "Eastenders" five nights a week. I'm not sure there's an American equivalent, really.

Why am I telling you this? Because if there's one thing the British love more than televised melodrama it's tea. And when that latest episode of "Eastenders" ends, approximately 1.75 million kettles are switched on at the same time.

Known as the " TV pickup ," it's become such a national routine that the British National Grid has taken measures over the years to ensure it can handle the additional 3 gigawatts of temporary demand; there's even a hydroelectric plant in Wales whose primary purpose is to absorb some of it.

Santee Cooper also has supplemental generating... Continue Reading >>

A snappy guide to a healthy heat-pump filter

July 22, 2015   By Willard Strong in Reduce The Use
Raise your hand if it seems your heat pump's been staying on more this summer.

Yeah, my hand's up too.

Since it's too hot to go anywhere, this latest heat wave is a good time to check the indoor air filter on your heat pump. (Your system may have more than one.) If your heat pump's running more than normal, it means the filter is clogging up quicker, which means the heat pump is working harder, which means it isn't working as efficiently, which means increased power usage.

No one needs that.

Deciding on the type of filter for your heat pump isn't easy — another example of life presenting so many product choices. Allergy sufferers may opt to spend a little more on a filter that removes allergens like dust and pet dander from the air, while there are plenty of consumers who are perfectly fine with spending the bare minimum.

It's important to remember that the more effective a filter is, the likelier it... Continue Reading >>

Beat the Heat on the Cheap

July 01, 2015   By Jessica Yourko in Reduce The Use
I keep talking about the heat, but when my weather app tells me every morning that the high temp for the day is going to be "FIRE," it makes it a little difficult to talk about anything else.

In February, I promised if winter would ever end I would never complain again. But it feels like the Earth has stopped rotating with South Carolina facing the sun, and we are inching closer and closer to it every single day.

Check with my husband and he will tell you our house goes on lockdown in summer. Our blinds are tightly closed, and our blackout curtains are drawn to keep the sun and its heat outside. Our ceiling fans rotate on full speed while we're home, and everyone in the house has been commanded to keep the lights off.

Because using the stove generates more heat, we use the grill as often as we can. I use the slow cooker for breakfast, lunch and dinner. When I do break my own rules and turn on the stove,... Continue Reading >>