By M.C. Finotti
When Martin Russell checked out a JEA Home Energy Evaluation Backpack from the Jacksonville Public Library, he was eager to take it home and find out how it could help him save money on his JEA bill. He was pleasantly pleased with the results.
The first thing Russell did was run the thermal thermometer around his windows and doors. He found most were well sealed, except for the kitchen door that leads to the garage. “The temperature was hotter along the bottom of the door,” Russell said. He plans to go to the hardware store and buy some inexpensive weather stripping to stick under the door and cut off that air leak.
Using the thermal thermometer, Russell also found a major air leak along the bottom of a sliding glass door in his den. He plans to buy some weather stripping to fix that problem too.
“The thermal gun was not rocket science,” said Russell, who works at Shands Jacksonville. He also found three kill-a-watt meters inside each backpack easy to use, as well. He plugged the meters into a socket and plugged appliances up to the meters to measure energy usage. What surprised him the most about all that?
“I was shocked to find out that if I leave my cellphone charger in the wall all day, it uses energy even if a phone isn’t hooked up to it,” he said. “It’s not a big money stealer, but it adds up. So we’re unplugging our chargers now. To leave them in is a waste of energy and money.”
Russell is also in the process of getting rid of his old incandescent light bulbs and replacing them with compact fluorescent bulbs. The new, compact (often called curly) bulbs last seven years, and although they cost a little more than an incandescent, Russell has been able to find them on sale. He thought that was incentive enough to give them a try, especially when he learned that a compact fluorescent uses two thirds less energy an incandescent.
All in all, Russell says he’s pleased that something as simple as a backpack could save him money on his energy bill. And he’s happy he took the time to check one out of the public library. “It’s a good thing to do,” Russell added, “especially with winter coming up.”