Beware the Phantom in Your Home!

LED lightsIf it seems like your energy bills keep going up and up while you’ve been doing everything you can to reduce your usage, read on! There’s a “phantom menace” that’s at work here and it’s all the rage in consumer electronics.

While increased energy costs are certainly playing a part, long gone are the days when shouting at the kids to “turn off the light!” was a sure way to save on electricity (though installing reduced-energy bulbs is a good move, too).  75% of the electricity used to power home electronics is consumed while products are turned off, according to the The U.S. Department of Energy.  The term to describe this is known as “phantom load.”

Home entertainment systems with remote controls, wireless routers, appliances with clocks, electronics that use a power adaptor (i.e. a wall cube) and computer printers are all good targets for reducing phantom loads. If you can feasibly eliminate these loads, you can save a lot of money over the course of the year.

So how do you eliminate phantom load? Unplugging devices every day is a hassle, but one sound alternative is the use of power strips which allow you to kill the connection to the main outlet without having to unplug devices.Check out Staples or your favorite office supply store to find a variety of options for allowing certain devices to “pass through” while others are shut off. This can be useful when you have certain devices which do need to be “on standby” while others do not.

While going green is a perfectly good reason to reduce your power consumption, the money you save on power can go to other household expenses, family vacations, and perhaps even the down payment on your next (or first!) home.

Keep an eye out for those energy vampires! Usually you can tell who they are by their LED lights glowing in the night.

I love to help my clients get the most out of their home. If you’re thinking of selling or searching for a home soon, please get in touch today by calling my office at 484-893-1234 or by email at joe@debandjoe.com.

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So Which Numbers Do We Believe?

One headline says ‘10% Jump in Existing Home Sales’ while another reads ‘Lehigh Valley Housing Market Sags’. So, which do you believe? Actually they’re both correct. The numbers can be confusing, but we’ve always told people that real estate is a local market. Years ago, when prices were climbing in most of the country, there were areas where prices were actually going down. That’s why you have to look beyond the headlines to see what’s really going on. The just released September numbers from the National Association of Realtors shows what could be the beginnings of a housing recovery, with sales up 10% over the previous month. On the other hand the picture is not as rosy in our local market. Sales in the Lehigh Valley decreased 12.7% from August to September. Although this is in keeping with the seasonality of real estate sales in the Lehigh Valley, August sales were lower than normal due to the tax credit which was offered earlier this year. The Lehigh Valley saw the effects of the housing downturn later than most other areas, and we may see the recovery a little later as well.