Rosie on the House: Power electronics & appliances with solar

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a solar system installed in Arizona will produce 60 to 70 percent more electricity than a rooftop system in most other places in America.

When most of us think of household items that use a lot of energy, we generally think about the big boys — the air conditioning unit, refrigerator, washer, dryer, or dishwasher.

You may be surprised to learn that many small appliances use considerable amounts of energy, more than their larger counterparts.

“The awareness of home electronics and the large amount of electricity they use is growing,” says Randy Cole, owner, Fox Valley Electric and Solar, a Rosie-Certified Partner.

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According to Visual Capitalist, an online publisher of globally focused topics including markets, technology, energy, and the global economy, these appliances use the most energy.

Rosie on the House: Power electronics & appliances with solar

Turn off and unplug small appliances and electronics when not in use.

• Cooling and heating: 47%

• Water heater: 14%

• Washer and dryer: 13%

• Lighting: 12%

• Refrigerator: 4%

• Electric oven: 3-4%

• TV, DVD, cable box: 3%

• Dishwasher: 2%

• Computer: 1%

Yet, these small items below surprisingly pack a big energy punch as measured in kilowatt-hour (kWh).

Rosie on the House: Power electronics & appliances with solar

Small appliances can use more energy than you might expect.

• Portable Heater: 1,500 kWh — Though portable heaters use less energy than central heating systems, they still consume quite a lot.

• Iron: 1,200 kWh — Thank goodness the wrinkled-look look is in.

• Hair Dryer: 1,000 to 1,875 kWh — If you have long or thick hair, you will save energy by air-drying those locks.

• Portable Humidifier: 1,000 kWh — Humidifiers are a must in our dry climate, especially when the heater is on in the winter.

• Toaster Oven: 500 kWh – Those Bagel Bites costs more than you think.

• Coffee Maker: 600 to 1,200 kWh — Can’t live without your morning cup of joe? Invest in an energy-efficient model.

• Vacuum: 300 to 1,000 kWh — You are sucking up more than just dirt and pet hair.

• Microwave: 600 to 1,500 kWh — Nuking leftovers still costs money.

• Blender: 300 kWh — Getting your day started with a smoothie and protein shake uses its fair share of power.

In addition to their usage, these appliances can draw vampire power, also known as phantom power, when not in use. Vampire or phantom power refers to the way electric power is still consumed by electronics and electrical appliances while they are switched off or in standby mode. This occurs when devices that appear to be turned off, are still receiving power at the plug. So, energy is still flowing from the grid and that adds up over time on your energy bill. So, turn off and unplug electronics and small appliances when not in use.

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Why waste valuable energy and your hard-earned money by solely relying on one system to power your home and electronics? Arizona receives the highest amount of solar irradiation in the United States. You may as well power those appliances with solar.

“A home solar system can and will provide clean, renewable energy to power appliances and electronics while saving you thousands of dollars in the long run,” says Randy Cole.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a solar system installed in Arizona will produce 60 to 70 percent more electricity than a rooftop system in most other places in America.

Like a home renovation, solar panels are viewed as upgrades and will likely increase your home’s value. Studies show that homeowners pay a premium for a solar home. One study by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory showed that on average, solar increased the value of a home by about $15,000. Although market factors like electricity rates and system size need to be taken into consideration.

Solar energy is sustainable, renewable, and plentiful. Each kilowatt-hour (kWh) of solar that is generated will substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions like CO2, as well as sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter. Solar also reduces water consumption and withdrawal.

The cost of using solar to produce electricity goes down each year, plus there are tax incentives and rebates. Over time, you will see lower monthly utility bills. So why not make the switch?

For more do-it-yourself tips, go to rosieonthehouse.com. An Arizona home building and remodeling industry expert for 35 years, Rosie Romero is the host of the Rosie on the House radio program from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturdays on KTAR-FM (92.3) in Phoenix; KGVY 1080AM 100.7FM; 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. on KNST-AM (790) in Tucson.