How to Save Energy By Unplugging Rarely Used Appliances

How to Save Energy By Unplugging Rarely Used Appliances

How to Save Energy By Unplugging Rarely Used Appliances

Why Unplugging Appliances Saves Energy

Many of us have appliances in our homes that sit unused for long periods of time. These appliances continue to draw a small amount of power even when turned “off”. By unplugging these rarely used appliances, you can save a surprising amount of energy and lower your electricity bill.

Some examples of appliances that consume energy even when turned off:

  • Coffee makers – The clock and timer features draw power continuously.
  • Microwaves – The digital clock stays illuminated when the microwave is not in use.
  • Televisions – Newer TVs remain in a high power “standby” mode when switched off.
  • Computer speakers – LEDs and amplifiers draw power even without a signal.
  • Phone chargers – Chargers draw power when left plugged into the wall unused.

By unplugging these and other appliances when not in use, you stop the wasted standby power consumption. Studies have shown that standby power accounts for 5-10% of residential energy use. Simply being more diligent about unplugging unused appliances can shave dollars off your electricity expenses each month.

Which Appliances To Focus On Unplugging

The appliances that will yield the biggest savings when unplugged are those that have:

  • External power adapters like phone chargers.
  • Digital clocks or timers that run continuously.
  • LED indicator lights that remain on standby.
  • Built-in batteries that continuously charge.

Appliances that have motors or heating elements like refrigerators and water heaters require more power to operate but use very little when switched off, so focus your efforts on the appliances above.

Specific targets include:

  • Kitchen appliances: Coffee makers, toasters, microwaves.
  • Entertainment devices: TVs, DVD players, cable/satellite boxes, computer speakers.
  • Office equipment: Printers, scanners, paper shredders.
  • Chargers: Phone, tablet, laptop, toothbrush, etc.

Tips For Successfully Unplugging Appliances

Follow these tips to make unplugging unused appliances an easy habit:

  • Use power strips. Plug appliances into power strips that can be switched off to disconnect multiple devices at once.
  • Unplug before lengthy vacations. Unplug all unnecessary appliances when away for multiple days.
  • Recharge on demand. Only plug in battery powered devices when recharging is needed.
  • Share chargers. Limit to one charger for each device type that is used by the whole family.
  • Time appliances. Manually unplug appliances with timers and clocks after each use instead of having them run continuously.
  • Be diligent. Check for unused appliances to unplug at least weekly as part of a routine home energy audit.

How Much Energy Can You Save?

The amount you can save will depend on three factors:

  1. The number of appliances successfully unplugged.
  2. The standby wattage of each appliance.
  3. How many hours per day each appliance is now unplugged.

Most unused appliances draw 5-10 watts continuously. Unplugging 10 such appliances for 12 hours per day results in energy savings of 0.6-1.2 kWh per day. At an energy rate of $0.12 per kWh, that equates to $73-146 in annual savings for this simple step.

Savings add up quickly, so get in the habit of unplugging unused devices. Your electricity bill will thank you!