How to Save Money By Turning Off Power Strips When Not In Use
I have found that turning off power strips when the devices connected to them are not in use is an easy way to save a bit of money on my electricity bill each month. Here is an in-depth look at how turning off power strips can help you save as well.
Why Devices Plugged In Still Use Electricity
Many people don’t realize that devices continue to draw a small amount of power when they are plugged in, even if they are turned “off” or in standby mode. This is known as phantom energy use.
This happens because the devices are never fully shut down – they still use a miniscule amount of electricity to be ready to power back on quickly. For example, a television that appears off may still be drawing power to keep the clock on display or to listen for signals from the remote.
Over time, thisphantom energy use can add up on your electricity bill. The Department of Energy estimates that phantom load accounts for 5-10% of an average home’s monthly energy use.
Calculate How Much You Can Save
To get an idea of how much you can save by unplugging devices when not in use, you’ll first need to take stock of what’s plugged into your power strips and calculate their standby power draw.
The average power strip uses about 1-2 watts when it’s switched on but nothing is actively drawing much power. Newer energy-efficient models may use less than 1 watt.
Then, you’ll need to check the standby power draw of devices that are frequently left plugged in, which is usually printed on the device or can be found with a quick online search. For example:
- Laptop computer: 1-5 watts
- Game console: 1-2 watts
- Television: 1-2 watts
- Cable/satellite box: 5-15+ watts
- Desktop computer and monitor: 1-5+ watts
Add up the wattages and multiply that by how many hours per day the devices are powered on but inactive. For a household that leaves multiple devices plugged in 24/7, unplugging them when not in use or using a power strip to cut off power could save 100 watts or more per day.
At the average electricity rate of $0.14 per kWh, that could mean over $50 in savings per year – and even more for high energy-use homes. The more devices you use this strategy with, the more you’ll save.
Tips For Managing Power Strips
To start taking advantage of power strip energy savings in your home, follow these tips:
Locate Near Major Device Clusters
Look for the groups of devices in your home entertainment system, office area, and other hotspots that tend to be left plugged in and inactive for long periods. Position power strips in those areas to make it easy to cut power.
Label Strips and Outlets
Use simple labels to mark what devices are connected to each outlet on a power strip. This makes it easier to check that everything is turned off.
Create Reminders To Unplug
Post notes on power strips or near devices to remind yourself to switch them off before bed, before leaving the house, or when not in use.
Consider “Smart” Power Strips
These specialized strips detect when a main device like a TV is turned off and automatically cut power to secondary devices like DVD players. This automation can make it easier to ensure no phantom load.
Unplug Fully When Away
Any time you’ll be away overnight or out of town for a few days, unplug power strips completely to ensure zero energy use in your absence.
Making It A Habit Pays Off
Turning off power strips completely when not needed takes just a moment, but doing it consistently can lead to impressive long-term savings. By being mindful of phantom energy draws and developing new habits around your home electronics, you can reduce your electricity bill painlessly. Give it a try – your wallet will thank you!