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Illinois Country Living

Doug Rye, licensed architect and the popular host of the "Home Remedies" radio show

Energy Solutions

Efficiency commandment # 6: Thou shalt be thankful
Appreciating the benefits of electricity and shopping for efficiency

Actually this column doesn’t relate to energy efficiency as much as it does to energy itself and specifically, electricity. Because we will be celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday this month, I thought it would be good to think about the value of electricity and all the great things it does for us.

I just love this time of the year. The leaves are beautiful and the air is comfortable and refreshing. We are entering the holiday season and some of you have already missed the biggest buck deer you’ve ever seen. And Thanksgiving will soon be here. We have so much to be thankful for in this country.

A few months ago in one of my columns I wrote that I consider electricity to be a blessing. And I really do feel that way. Let me list many of the ways that we use electricity at home. This is in no particular order. Here we go:

Television, ceiling lights, ceiling fan, lamps, refrigerator, range/oven, range exhaust fan, garbage disposal, dishwasher, microwave, mixer/blender, coffee maker, toaster, crock pot, electric knife, stereo/radio, clocks, bath exhaust fan, heating/cooling system, clothes dryer, clothes washer, iron, cell phone charger, hair dryer, curling iron, DVD player, security lights, battery chargers times three, Christmas lights, heating pad, vacuum cleaning system, garage door opener, freezer, ceiling fan, computer, printer, security system, copy machine, electric water heater, waffle iron, electric tools, video games, humidifier, dehumidifier, well pump, sump pump, air compressor, paper shredder, circulating hot water system, ice maker, treadmill, pool pump and equipment, electric guitar ...

Now, to help you solve that ever-present argument of which appliances use the most electricity … here’s your homework assignment. You can figure it out with this simple formula:

Wattage × hours used per day × days used per year ÷ 1000 = Kilowatt-hour (kWh) consumption per year. Just multiply that kWh result by your local electric rate to get the dollars and cents figure. You can usually find the wattage of most appliances stamped on the bottom or back of the appliance or on its nameplate.

I know there are many more but I am getting ready to drive to Jasper, Ark. to enjoy this state’s beautiful scenery. Instead, I will ask you to finish the list with some of the other ways we use electricity at home. If you think you might have the longest list, call me at my office at 501-653-7931 and share it with me. The caller with the longest list will get a very nice early Christmas present.

Speaking of Christmas, think about switching to the new light emitting diode (LED) Christmas lights. A traditional string of lights will use 36 watts of power, but a string of LD lights only uses 5 watts. And they’ll last 10 times longer. Untangling them is still a problem I can’t help you with.

Oh, and since we are at the beginning of Christmas, here is a list of tips to keep in mind as you head to the mall or Wal-Mart. Thanks go to my friends at the National Rural Electric Cooperatives Association for sharing this. During this Holiday Season let’s all be a little more thankful and do a little more sharing.

Top 10 energy saving tips for a happy holiday season

10. Ask for Energy Star rated appliances and CFLs.

9. Skip the electronics and get the kids board games.

8. Do not preheat the oven when cooking large pieces of meat.

7. Lower thermostats and replace HVAC filters every 30 days.

6. Check windows and doors for leaks and seal them.

5. Install timers on outdoor lighting displays.

4. Decorate with LED lights.

3. Adjust power settings on video game consoles to the power saving feature.

2. Vanquish energy vampires with a smart power strip.

1. Follow Scrooge’s example: skip the holidays! (Not recommended for children).

More Information:

Doug Rye, the “Doctor of Energy Efficiency-the King of Caulk and Talk” can be heard on several different Illinois radio stations. Or you can go to his Web site at, e-mail him at, or call 888-Doug-Rye or 501-653-7931. You can also sign up for a free newsletter and order his “how to” videotapes.


© 2016 Illinois Country Living Magazine.
Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives

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