How to Save Electricity by Unplugging Appliances When Not in Use
Why Unplugging Appliances Saves Electricity
Many of us are looking for ways to reduce our energy usage and save money on electricity bills. One simple way to do this is by unplugging appliances and electronics when they are not in use. This can make a significant difference in electricity consumption over time.
The main reason unplugging saves electricity is that plugged-in devices continue to draw power even when turned off or not in use. This is known as phantom load or standby power. Some common culprits include:
- Computers and monitors
- Coffee makers
- Chargers for phones and other devices
These appliances pull electricity from the outlet to power display clocks, keep settings programmed, or for other functions. This constant trickle of power can add up, especially when multiplied by all the devices in a home.
Experts estimate that up to 10% of home energy use comes from standby power alone. Unplugging stops this wasted electricity and can save the average household hundreds of dollars per year.
How Much Electricity Can Unplugging Save?
The amount of energy savings from unplugging appliances varies widely depending on the devices, but the overall reduction can be significant. Here are some estimates on potential savings:
- Unplugging a DVD player when not in use can save $1-5 per year.
- Doing the same for an idle game console saves around $15 annually.
- An unused freezer in the garage uses nearly $100 in electricity if left plugged in all year.
- Unplugging idle computers and monitors can save $40-75 per device annually.
- A home entertainment system (TV, DVD, etc.) saves $50-150 when powered down completely.
These numbers illustrate how even small efforts to unplug add up. The more devices you remember to disconnect when not using, the greater your energy and cost savings will be.
Tips for Unplugging Effectively
Here are some useful tips to make unplugging appliances a regular habit:
Use power strips – Plug electronics like TVs and computer equipment into power strips. When these devices are not in use, you can turn off the strip to disconnect everything at once.
Unplug battery chargers – Unplug the chargers for phones, laptops, and other devices when the batteries are fully charged or the devices are not connected.
Pay attention to standby lights – Unplug if you see lights or clocks glowing on appliances when they are turned off.
Unplug rarely used devices – If you only use an appliance occasionally (e.g. a window AC unit or dehumidifier), unplug it after each use.
Check for energy saving settings – Many new electronics have options for auto shut-off to reduce standby power. Take advantage of these features.
Consider smart power strips – These sense when devices are in standby mode and cut power automatically.
Unplugging unused appliances is one of the easiest and most effective steps you can take to start reducing your home energy costs. The small effort to disconnect devices when not needed can save hundreds of dollars each year on electricity bills. Pay attention to standby power usage and get in the habit of unplugging chargers, electronics, and other appliances regularly to maximize savings. With a few simple changes, you can make an impact.