How to Save Money By Unplugging Rarely Used Appliances

How to Save Money By Unplugging Rarely Used Appliances

Unplugging appliances that are not in frequent use is one of the easiest ways to reduce energy costs and save money on electricity bills. With rising energy prices, consumers need to be more conscious about their power consumption. Identifying appliances that continue to draw power even when switched off can generate significant savings over time. This article provides a comprehensive guide on how unplugging unused appliances can help save money.

Why Unplugging Appliances Saves Electricity and Money

Many electrical appliances and electronic devices continue drawing power even when switched off or in standby mode. This is known as phantom load or vampire power. This standby power allows appliances to restart quickly, receive remote signals, show displays, etc.

Some common culprits that waste electricity through phantom loads include:

  • Televisions
  • Cable and satellite boxes
  • Stereos and speakers
  • Computers and monitors
  • Microwaves
  • Coffee makers
  • Phone chargers
  • Game consoles

Although the power drawn may seem negligible per device, it adds up over time and across multiple appliances. According to the US Department of Energy, phantom loads can account for 5-10% of an average household’s electricity bill in the United States. By unplugging spare appliances, you can make an impact by reducing this standby energy consumption.

How Much Money Can You Save?

The amount of potential savings depends on three key factors:

  • The number of appliances unplugged – The more equipment you eliminate from standby mode, the higher your savings.
  • Energy usage of specific devices – Newer appliances with digital displays tend to draw more phantom loads. Older analog devices use less power.
  • Electricity costs in your area – Electricity rates vary across utility companies. Higher per-kilowatt-hour cost means greater savings.

To determine possible savings, first list out all your appliances that stay plugged in but are not used daily. Televisions or air conditioners only used occasionally are prime examples.

Next, check their standby power ratings, usually listed in watts. Multiply this by the number of hours per day each device is in standby. This gives you the kilowatt-hours (kWh) consumed per day for each item.

Finally, multiply the kWh per day by your local electricity rate. For example:

  • Extra fridge on standby uses 50 watts per hour over 24 hours = 1.2 kWh daily
  • At electricity rate of $0.12 per kWh, 1.2 kWh x $0.12 = $0.14 per day
  • Over a month, around $4 per extra fridge unplugged
  • For 10 such appliances, $40 savings per month!

Use this formula to calculate potential savings for each infrequently used device. The small amounts per item can really add up over weeks and months.

Which Devices Should You Unplug to Save Money?

Aim to unplug appliances that are only used occasionally or seasonally. Smart picks include:


  • Extra televisions in guest rooms or ‘man caves’
  • DVD players, cable boxes and gaming consoles with long standby times
  • Computer peripherals like scanners, printers, speakers
  • Phone chargers when not actively charging devices
  • Desktop computers when not in use, especially CRT monitors

Kitchen Appliances

  • Spare refrigerators or mini-fridges
  • Coffee maker, toaster oven, microwave when not in daily use
  • Stand mixer, food processor, blender used once a week
  • Waffle maker, panini press for occasional weekend use

Climate Control

  • Window AC units, dehumidifiers in off-season
  • Portable space heaters when not needed
  • Ceiling fans in unused rooms

Smart Home Devices

  • Voice assistants like Amazon Echo
  • Smart speakers like Google Home
  • Wireless routers, smart locks, security cameras

Tips to Easily Unplug and Reconnect Appliances

Follow these tips to make selective unplugging of appliances more convenient:

  • Use power strips or smart plugs to control multiple devices with one switch. Easily cut standby power instead of unplugging.
  • Coil and organize cords behind appliances for quick access when reconnecting. Use zip ties or clips to manage slack.
  • Label plugs and outlets so it’s simple to reconnect correct devices later. Use colored tape, stickers or tags.
  • List what is unplugged so you know what needs reconnecting if required. Jot on whiteboard or keep digital notes.
  • Review usage occasionally and adjust what gets unplugged. Account for seasonal needs or new purchase

Additional Ways to Cut Phantom Loads

Along with selectively unplugging devices, consider these tips to further reduce standby power:

  • Activate sleep modes so devices enter low-power states when inactive
  • Where possible, switch devices completely off, not just standby
  • Replace older appliances with ENERGY STAR certified models
  • Use advanced power strips to eliminate phantom loads
  • Check for alternative uses before eliminating extra appliances
  • Enable smart power settings on computers, displays and consoles


Unplugging unused electrical devices is a simple and effective way to reduce energy waste from standby phantom loads. To maximize savings:

  • Make a list of spare or seasonal appliances to unplug when not in use
  • Calculate potential savings using the standby wattage and electricity costs
  • Organize cords and outlets to make reconnecting straightforward
  • Combine with other tips like sleep settings and advanced power strips

Taking a few minutes to unplug extra equipment can lead to significant savings each month, while also reducing your environmental impact. Over time, these small daily reductions will really add up!