Phantom Energy Loss

January 22, 2009



Great tip from today about vampire energy devices in our homes that use power just because they are plugged in, even if they are not being used! England has a good system where you can just turn the current off at the source without unplugging. Why didn’t we think of that?

Phone, camera, power tool chargers, tv’s computers and printers and appliances with built-in clocks are among the culprits! Don’t be a energy parasite, unplug and do this thing right…I am running out to the barn to unplug my music studio.


It’s true that I really didn’t want anything this year …but… the simple pleasures, not to mention, nostalgia, prompt me to post about the ubiquitous, useful and always in demand wall-mounted pencil sharpener. When we moved into this 150-year old farmhouse there it was and still remains- mounted on the back of the door to the basement. It’s got to be 40- years old or even more. It never breaks- there are what, 2 moving parts? But my pencils sharpen just a little off-center. I am wondering if I could splurge for a new one. What about the kind that sit on the desk and you flip a little lever to make them suction on to the table surface? Do those really work, I can’t remember. Maybe it’s best to screw them down somewhere. Little handheld plastic thingies are not fulfilling.Who doesn’t know the sound the smell of grinding down the point of a yellow pencil and emptying the sawdust mixed with graphite, making a mess as you unscrew the well? Ghosts of 7th grade math class flicker ’round me. What are your pencil sharpening memories? Don’t you want a sharpener, too? Check out your local stationary store. Price point around $15. Shop local, now.


Getting into Hot Water

October 18, 2008

Whilst doing some dishes in my sink, my friend Teresa was commenting about how hot my hot water was and that in her house she can’t get her bath hot enough. How hot should our water be? This brings up questions we’ll need to consider. In my house, I love to take a hot bath and do not want to run out of hot water or deprive someone else of a hot shower, either, so we keep our setting high. 

According to there are a few important issues to consider: Setting a lower temperature can help avoid serious burns. Temperatures above 125 degrees can seriously burn a child. The suggested safe temperature for hot water setting is 120 degrees. Dropping the water temperature setting by ten degrees typically saves approximately 4% on one’s cost to heat water each year.

It seems that the factory setting for water heaters is 120 degrees. says: “120 degrees seems low for a family of four, so I recommend setting the temperature between 130 and 140 degrees. This will make the water hot enough so you are forced to mix it with cold water to achieve a comfortable temperature. Mixing it with cold water will also help make the hot water last longer.”

Natural has some interesting ideas on energy saving, including turning off your water heater when you go away and yet points out that to really disinfect with your dishwasher you’ll want the water to be as hot as 140 degrees. “Lowering the temperature too much can have unintended consequences as you will need to use more heated water to obtain the same temperature at the faucet or shower.  Thus, if your tank currently gives your family three showers in the morning, you might find the last person screaming!!” This site does give good step by step directions to determine your tap temperature and how to adjust your gas, oil or electric water heater.

Tankless water heaters are a wonderful energy saver as are solar panels-and that is another post as is water conservation and the therapeutic nature of hot baths for women.