Friday, September 13, 2013

Power Socket Switches

We continually marvel at the ideas used here (in Ireland or maybe more of Europe?) to save energy and money.  After getting our first power bill, we know why.

Remember the article about the immersion water heater?  In it, we discover how to heat water as needed instead of keeping hot water available at every instant.  The comedian Des Bishop points out the stingy Irish relatives in a panic when the heater was left on too long.  Jokes aside, saving power is taken seriously here.

We discovered that drawing power as needed isn't limited to the water heater.  Our power outlets are all armed with a rocker switch to awaken or kill an outlet.

The kitchen power sockets are activated by switches and indicator lights in Dublin, Ireland
Kitchen outlets

In America, recently, there has been a push to unplug chargers from the wall.  The hot tip is to plug all chargers for cell phones, music players, and e-readers into a switch-equipped power strip.  "Turn it on when you're charging, turn it off when you're finished!" is the line.  Here, that idea is taken to its ultimate level.

The switches in the kitchen are fit with an orange light, presumably for even more careful safety control.  The photo above is the outlet we use for our hot water kettle.  We switch the outlet on when we need it, off when we're finished.  The orange light serves as a constant reminder, so it rarely gets missed.

We know that appliances draw power from sockets constantly, on or off.  In Iowa, we wouldn't have thought twice about keeping lamps, televisions, stereos, and the full range of kitchen appliances plugged in all day, every day.  Out microwave and range oven both had electronic displays with digital clocks that ran all the time.  Here, we don't have that option, even with the big built-ins.

The oven is activated by a special switch on the power wall socket in Dublin, Ireland

The oven and the flat cooktop both have built-in rocker switches dedicated specifically for them.  To operate, follow the same procedure- flip the switch, use the appliance, flip the switch.

The outlets in the rest of the apartment don't use lights, but the good habits are developing to flip switches off when we aren't using them.  Hopefully, with some practice, we can keep driving down that power bill.  I would love to see tricks like this catch on in other parts of the world, at least to show how much difference some small steps like this can make.


  1. I'm glad our energy saving is a plesant suprise to you..When I discussed it with my american work colleague they thought I lived in a hippy commune..There biggest shock was being charged for plastic bags in shops..It startled me when I seen the amount of plastic bags I had in my apartment after one trip to the supermarket.

    1. I really do admire what the people here do to save energy. Smaller cars, immersions, power sockets, and the bags. Keep your eyes open for an upcoming post about the bags. More cider brewing happening here, too.

    2.,2436.0.html is the most used recipe used.. Lidl cloudy apple juice is the key

    3.,2436.0.html is the most used recipe used.. Lidl cloudy apple juice is the key

    4. I did find some cloudy apple juice at Aldi or Lidl. I started a small 2L batch the other day. I'll post it to the forum and let you know how it turns out.


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