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Info: My electricity bill is too high because of my computer, please help me!

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Using your computer can have a very noticeable affect on your electricity bill. Your average computer, with monitor, will use up around .25 kW/hour. Electricity is billed in kilowatt-hours so I shall use this standard of measure. Your average computer will use .25kW/hour while a high-end computer with monitor might use in excess of .5kW/hour. If your computer is turned on 24/7 and you pay $.13 per kW/hour (check your electricity bill), the conversion will come out like this.

.25kW/hour * 24 hours * 30 days * $.13 = $23

A high-end computer can be in excess of $45 per month

How can you fix this? Directly, you can use your computers monitor shutdown by right clicking on your desktop, going into properties, screen saver, and setting your computer to turn off your monitor after around 20 or 30 minutes of inactivity. It is restarted by moving your mouse or pressing any key on the keyboard. This will save you roughly .06kW/hour.

There are things you could do around your house to save electricity though! Turning off lights is helpful, especially in your bathroom seeing as you usually have a large amount of light bulbs for things such as vanity mirrors. A 6-bulb vanity set left on will use as much power as a better then average computer. Leaving doors open will also hurt your power bill if you also run a central heating and cooling system.

There are also some things you can do that will cost some money but will really help. Compact fluorescent bulbs are great inventions unless you live in cold-climates (CF bulbs do not work well in cold conditions, namely outside in cold conditions). Compact fluorescent bulbs are rated on their equivalency towards incandescent bulbs (the bulbs you probably use now all over your house) with the same light output. A 13-watt CF bulb will put out the same amount of light as a 60-watt incandescent bulb. A 25-watt CF bulb will put out the same amount of light as a 100-watt incandescent bulb. They also last 8-10x as long. They cost $4-$5 though where incandescent bulbs cost roughly $.50. This cancels out though as you will go through 8-10 incandescent bulbs in the same time you would go through a single CF bulb. The CF bulbs use fewer watts though so the savings comes up on your electricity bill.

To determine how many light bulbs you would need to replace, use this simple formula. I used Watts Up? Pro to measure my average watt output and it cost $100 but it is a rather advanced system. You can get a device for around $40 online that will just tell you your output (and use average output).

Find out how many watts your computer and monitor take using a watt measurer (and do not use the watt rating on your power supply, as it is simply unnecessary and incorrect for this idea).

Multiply by the average number of hours your computer is turned on. For practical purposes, we will use a computer on 16 hours a day that uses .3kW/hour (a modest computer).

.3kW * 16 hours = 4.8 kW per day

Now, we will look at 60-watt light bulbs being replaced with 12-watt CF bulbs. You are saving 48 watts per bulb. Now determine your highest used light bulbs and figure out how many hours they are used each day. You will need (4800 watts per day / 48 watts per bulb per hour = ) 100 hours of light bulb usage to cancel out your computer usage. Basically, find out how many hours per day each bulb in your house is used (or just use the most used ones) and replace bulbs until you accumulate 100 hours of replacement. For example, I have a 3-bulb kitchen light in my house that I notice is on a lot. I estimate it has used 20 hours a day. 3 bulbs * 20 hours = 60 hours. Replacing those 3 for me would accumulate 60 of those 100 hours. You can then do the same for other highly used bulbs in your house.

You have effectively nullified your computers use in terms of your electricity bill. There are other ways of reducing your electricity bill though but they are much more expensive. Energy efficient appliances do save you a lot of money. Some programs exist that will be able to tell you how many years/months will be needed if you purchase new appliances for the cost-savings in electricity to nullify the purchase. Anytime beyond that is money saved vs. sticking to your old appliances. Also, air-conditioners are power-guzzlers! ESPECIALLY swamp coolers/window ac units. You may also hear people saying hair-dryers and kettles are 'power-guzzlers' but what you must remember is that things like this, while they sometimes take up to 800 watts of power, you only use them for very short amounts of time! Depending on how much gas costs around your neck of the woods, gas-powered heaters or appliances might be cheaper. Solar electricity is a VERY EXPENSIVE solution to high electricity bills though. A good system capable of replacing your reliance on the power grid may cost upwards of $40,000 (yes, your talking about new car costs). The federal government and state governments have tax-rebates and write-offs that can take a large portion off this amount though but it is still very expensive. Also, solar panels are very dangerous as you are dealing with high voltages so maintanence, if not done by a professional, is something that must be done with all serious intention.
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post #2 of 21
nice job! but im glad myt electricity is cheap :-D
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post #3 of 21
My electric bill went up like almost 100 bucks for 4 computers turned on
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post #4 of 21
Yeah I have my system set to turn off my monitor after 5 mins of idle time. I live in Pennsylvania (good place for electricity ) and try to save some electricity since it's cold here and electric bills can be high in the winter even with propane heating.

You could always put your pet hamster to good use to save electricity
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post #5 of 21
good points, solar is the way to go. you can stay on grid and the power company buys back surplus for credit. it mightcost $15 a month to stay conected but you can sell back 8 times that in a good (sunny) month. free power
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post #6 of 21
Very good!!
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post #7 of 21
Quick question... does setting your computer to go into standby and/or setting ur disks to shut off after a certain amount of time do anything about cutting the power? I have a Dell 17" LCD, does that consume less, or more electricity than an average CRT? I'm betting less... but just curious! Thanks!
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post #8 of 21
Thread Starter 
Yes, they will cut power consumption. LCD's usually use about 33% less energy then CRT's of the same size.
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post #9 of 21
excelent breakdown, i turn my monitor off at the power button as soon as i leave my computer for an extended amount of time (say up to 30 mins) that's better than putting it in standby, i don't think my HDD's ever get relaxed though, i'm always folding, and my pagefile is on my 2nd HDD... i'll consider those CF bulbs i've been trying to get my parents to get them for years no luck yet... now i have evidence... thanks bud
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post #10 of 21
Thanks for money saving information maybe I can reduce other areas as discribed before the wife gets the electric bill?
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