How to Reduce Your Energy Bills By Unplugging Rarely Used Appliances
Why Unplugging Appliances Saves Energy
Many of us likely have several electronics and appliances plugged in that aren’t being used very often. These idle gadgets still draw power even when switched “off”, which is known as phantom energy drain or standby power. This wasted energy really adds up over time, leading to higher electricity bills. Fortunately, unplugging appliances when not in use is an easy way to reduce this energy drain and save money on your monthly energy costs.
Some common appliances that use phantom load energy when not in active mode include:
- Televisions and DVD players
- Desktop computers and monitors
- Microwaves and coffee makers
- Chargers for phones and other devices
- Gaming consoles like Xboxes and PlayStations
These idle gadgets can use anywhere from 1 to 25 watts. That might not seem like much, but it builds up significantly over weeks and months, especially when multiple devices are plugged in. For example, an electric kettle uses about 1 watt on standby, but that’s still almost 9 kWh over the course of a year. With electricity prices around 12 cents per kWh, that single kettle is costing over $1 annually just to sit plugged in.
Simply unplugging unused devices is an easy way to avoid all these standby losses and keep more money in your wallet.
Tips for Unplugging Effectively
Follow these suggestions for conveniently unplugging appliances and gadgets not in regular use:
Use power strips – Plug multiple devices like computer setups and entertainment centers into one power strip. Turn it off when equipment isn’t needed.
Unplug chargers when not in use – Don’t leave phone, tablet, and laptop chargers plugged in all the time. Unplug them when devices are fully charged.
Identify “energy vampires” – Check labels or do some research online to find which devices drain the most energy in standby mode. Focus on unplugging these energy hogs first.
Unplug small kitchen appliances – Things like coffee makers and toasters use energy even when not actively brewing or toasting. Unplug them in between uses.
Create reminders – Leave notes or set calendar reminders to prompt yourself to unplug devices before going on vacation or leaving home for extended periods.
Use power strips with switches – Pick power strips with integrated on/off switches. Just flip the switch to cut off standby power to everything connected.
Unplug rarely used electronics – If you only use certain electronics like TVs or game consoles occasionally, get in the habit of unplugging them when not in use.
Consider smart power strips – These specialized strips sense when devices are in standby mode and automatically cut power, adding convenience.
How Much Energy Can You Save?
The amount you’ll save depends on which specific devices you unplug and how often you do so, but the impact can be substantial. Here are some estimates:
- Unplugging a DVD player when not in use could save 50 kWh per year, equal to about $6 annually.
- Doing the same for a desktop computer and monitor could reduce power usage by 200 kWh annually, or $24/year.
- Unplugging an Xbox gaming console when not playing games saves around 90 kWh per year, about $11 annually.
- Leaving phone and laptop chargers unplugged when not needed saves 80 kWh per year combined, around $10 annually.
For a household with 10 major devices using phantom load, unplugging them consistently can save $100 or more per year. And remember, the financial savings will be even greater as electricity rates rise over time.
In summary, plugged in devices continue drawing power even when “off” or not actively powering electronics. All this standby energy use really adds up, inflating your energy bills unnecessarily. But diligently unplugging appliances like TVs, chargers, and kitchen gadgets that aren’t being used regularly is an easy way to stop these unnecessary losses. Just be consistent, use reminders and power strips to stay organized, and identify the biggest energy hogs first to maximize savings on your electricity costs.