What does a Garden Gnome do when she is not gardening, in the kitchen or doing genealogy? Well the answer might just surprise you so read the entries to find out more. This blog focuses on everything we do to make our house a home. There will be a strong emphasis on home energy efficiency and do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. At the same time there will also be crafts, knitting and crocheting projects along with any other little tips we do to create that down to earth, I want to be here home. Please enjoy your visit :)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

New Phone System

When we were newlyweds there really wasn't a lot of choice in phones other than colours. They were corded units with no extra functions. Over the years as times changes with a busier lifestyle stand alone answering machines became quite popular. These devices used micro-cassettes but they served the purpose. The down side answering machines was of course power outages. Well Bell Canada saw they could be making more money off of customers by offering their own answering service (voice mail) and they sweetened the deal by allowing you to call into your voice mail from another location so you could hear your messages. This was an attractive feature for those traveling a lot but really was meant for the business people. At the same time telemarketers saw residential homes as the perfect market. Bell quickly started adding new features with one of the most useful being caller id that is a somewhat effective way of dealing with telemarketer.

The last phone system we bought had a built-in answering machine. We saw this as a way to eliminate voice mail from our phone service. If I recall correctly the system consisting of the base and two addition hand sets cost $79.99. It worked well for us for about 8 years but over the last couple of months it was apparent the system was dying. None of the handsets would hold a charge longer than about 5 minutes and two of the handsets lost partial parts of the display. It was time to go shopping for an eco-friendly solution.

Panasonic KX-TG6473 Phone SystemPanasonic KX-TG6473 Phone System

Pictured is the Panasonic KX-TG6473PK eco-friendly cordless expandable phone system we purchased at Sam's Club for $59.99. This is the first phone system I've seen with the EnergyStar logo! It is also RoHS specified no chemicals used which includes lead, mercury, hexavalent chomium, and specified brominated flame retardants (PBB and PBDE).

The standby power consumption has been reduced by 59% over their previous model which means we use 10.52 kWh verses 25.83 kWh annually on standby. In terms of electricity savings that is $1.63 so nothing to get really excited about. However, calculation of our previous system that used 2 - 6.5 W and 1 - 18 W adapter the cost for that phone system worked out to be $28.54. The new system will cost $11.07 annual to operate at our current electricity rates. Again, an $11 annual savings doesn't seem like much but it gets better!

The phone system has a built-in answer, call block, call screen, call waiting, 4-way conferencing and ringer id all features that cost extra if using Bell Canada's services. The call block is not limited to just phone numbers either as this system allows the blocking of calls without phone number such as out of area, private caller, or long distance with no phone number identified. What this really means is that the only additional service we need from Bell Canada is caller id. That's it! This should give a maximum savings of almost $30 per month for 3 months then $24.95 for a total savings of $290.60 the first year then $275.20 annually depending on the plan we replace our current home complete plan (most expensive) with. So now that really is a savings but if we consider the new phone system also acts as an alarm clock we save an addition $6.31 in electricity. In short we stand to save $307.98 the first year the $292.58 each year after that making this purchase very frugal with a payback period of 2.3 months! In terms of combining frugality with being eco-friendly this ended up being an excellent purchase.

Garden Gnome


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