How to Cut Your Energy Bills By Unplugging Seldom-Used Appliances

How to Cut Your Energy Bills By Unplugging Seldom-Used Appliances

How to Cut Your Energy Bills By Unplugging Seldom-Used Appliances

Why Unplugging Appliances Saves Energy

Unplugging appliances that are not in constant use can lead to significant energy savings. This is because even when turned off or in standby mode, many appliances continue to draw a small amount of electricity. This phantom load, as it is called, accounts for 5-10% of home energy use according to the US Department of Energy. By unplugging appliances when you’re not using them, you can eliminate this unnecessary energy consumption.

Some of the biggest phantom load offenders in homes are:

  • Computers and monitors – A computer in sleep mode can use 10-25 watts. Shutting it down completely saves the most.

  • Game consoles – Game consoles use 2-20 watts even when not being played. Unplug when not in use.

  • DVD/Blu-ray players – These use 3-12 watts when off. Unplug if you don’t use frequently.

  • Cable/satellite boxes – Cable boxes use 15-35 watts when not in active mode. Unplug if you don’t watch TV daily.

  • Microwaves – Use up to 10 watts when display clock is on. Unplug to eliminate.

  • Phone chargers – Continue to use power when plugged in with no phone attached. Unplug when not charging.

How Much Energy Can You Save?

The amount of energy you can save by unplugging appliances depends on the types of devices you have and your usage habits. However, to give you a sense of the potential savings:

  • Unplugging your cable box when not in use could save $8-35 per year in electricity costs.

  • Unplugging your computer and monitor when not in use could save $40-120 per year.

  • Eliminating microwave phantom load by unplugging could save $5-10 per year.

  • Unplugging unused phone chargers could save up to $10 per year per charger.

These numbers will vary based on local energy prices and how often you use the devices. But it demonstrates that the savings can really add up, especially when multiple appliances are addressed.

Tips for Unplugging Effectively

Here are some tips to help you unplug seldom-used appliances in your home more effectively:

  • Identify the biggest phantom load offenders – Focus first on devices that use the most energy like computers, cable boxes and game consoles.

  • Use power strips – Plug appliances into power strips so you can easily cut power to multiple devices at once.

  • Unplug before lengthy vacations – Unplug all unnecessary devices when away from home for multiple days to maximize savings.

  • Charge devices then unplug – Don’t leave chargers like phone chargers plugged in when not actively charging a device.

  • Check outlets – Periodically check outlets and unplug any devices that are inactive but still plugged in.

  • Consider smart power strips – These sense when a device is inactive and automatically cut power, adding convenience.

Bottom Line

Unplugging unused appliances is one of the easiest ways to reduce your home energy use. Even though the savings per device may seem small, they can quickly add up to substantial savings on your electricity bill. Be vigilant about unplugging seldom-used devices like game consoles, computers, TV equipment and chargers to slash your phantom load and cut your energy costs. With minimal effort, you’ll see the savings in no time.