Are you using too much power on your desktop?

Electricity isn’t free… but chances are you knew that. All things considered, though, it’s not really that expensive either. We are lucky to live in an age full of electronic wonders, and although they are beholden to that outlet in the wall, the electric bill is rarely a terrible shock (see what I did there, “shock?”) when it comes at the end of the month. Why, then, should we care about saving electricity?

It’s not just about saving a few bucks, although there is that. Power plants are stinky and ugly and they cost money to build. There are always environmental consequences even with the cleanest power plants. Probably the biggest reason to be power-smart, though, comes in the months where your state is facing its harshest weather. For those up north, that’s the winter, while for the south and west, the summer months really crank up the demand for juice. When demand for power is at its highest, power plants are stretched to capacity and that means higher prices for electricity for everyone.

But what can you do? You need to run your refrigerator, and let’s be honest, your cell phone’s a near-necessity too. What you can do is look around the house for those things that really don’t need to take power. A device like a Kill A Watt can help you find those devices that draw power when they don’t need to. Think about that clock radio running in the empty guest room, or those devices that sit charging yet you hardly ever use them. That’s right, chargers use power, usually the same amount whether they are actively charging or not.

Of course these are all small things and you’re far better off focusing on the things that really suck power like your air conditioner or appliances. Believe me, I am not suggesting you go without air conditioning in the summer and I’m certainly not suggesting you undercook your food. Turning that thermostat up a degree or two might not hurt though, and defrosting food in the refrigerator saves a lot of energy even though it takes more time. These are little changes to your habits that can have big payoffs. Turning off the TV when you’re not really watching is another one… although it’s hard to admit to yourself when the box is really just on to keep you company.

If you think for a moment that electricity isn’t unlimited, and we want to make sure we always have enough… these little steps don’t seem like a lot.