Moms Columns & Blogs

Is Your House Haunted By Energy Monsters?

Are you living in a haunted house? Are there phantoms sucking energy from your home or monsters devouring huge chunks of your utility bills? Are there goblins living in your fireplace allowing energy to escape from your home without you even knowing? Do Your Part and eliminate the energy ghouls in your home.  It's so easy to do it's scary!

Begin by putting an end to phantom power.  That's the energy being wasted by having electronics plugged in that aren't being used.  Anything with a continuous display or remote and most every kind of charger sips energy even when you’re not using them.  Think of all the items in your home that do that – appliances, tvs, dvd players, game consoles and all of those chargers! When you put it all together, it starts to really add up.  In fact, phantom power uses around 10% of the total energy we use in our homes.  The easiest way to stop wasting all that power is use a power strip with an on/off button that will truly shut down the flow of power. You can also find Smart power strips that will help you do the job easily where lots of phantoms lurk.

Next, tackle your energy monsters.  More than half of the energy used in your home goes toward heating and cooling.  Get a programmable thermostat and program it to reduce your heating and cooling needs while you sleep or are away from home.  Also make sure you have adequate insulation in the attic. This includes the attic entryway, which is often not insulated.

Your clothes dryer is also an energy monster. Use it only for full loads and keep your dryer vent line clean.  This includes the lint trap as well as the tubing or duct that vents to the exterior of your home. Keeping the line free of lint build-up will reduce the amount of time and energy your dryer needs to operate. You can hire a service to clean the line or you can purchase kits to do the job yourself at local hardware stores.

Lastly seal off your fireplace from warm air goblins by keeping the damper closed when you're not using it.  In some homes, that won't be enough to keep warm air from escaping up the flue. Hold a lighted match near the closed damper on a windy day to see if you still have a draft.  If yes, you can find a relatively inexpensive reusable fireplace balloon that is easily inflated to seal off the flue until you're ready to enjoy your next fire. You can learn more about fireplace draft stoppers at

Clearly, I love Halloween, but I'm no fan of wasting energy or money. It's really not difficult to start taking small steps to start living a little greener every day. The additional savings will have you howling at the moon with delight in no time!