This story is partCNET’s collection of handy tips for getting the most out of your home, inside and out.
Just because you’re not actively using aor device does not mean that it does not consume energy. In fact, many devices around your home, your to your laptop to your , perform certain functions while they are still plugged in. This means that they continue to consume energy, which unnecessarily increases your monthly electricity bill. But there’s a simple solution: just unplug devices when you’re not using them. Unplugging them will prevent the power from draining silently and increasing your bills, thus saving electricity and long-term.
But how much money does unplugging devices save? Are the energy savings you get from unplugging appliances even significant? And is it worth constantly plugging and unplugging devices?
Below, we’ll explore why unplugging devices can save money, how much you could save, and ways to make it easier to turn off plugged-in devices. (We also have tips on how tothe and the .)
How can unplugging your devices save you money?
It seems counter-intuitive to unplug devices. After all, they are extinct, so why would they suck energy?
The fact is, your devices are still consuming power even when they’re turned off but still plugged in, according to Energy.gov. Whether the device is off or in sleep mode, some of the worst offenders are:
- A device that may still consume power in the form of permanently on lights or other displays indicating that the device is off
- Computers that have simply been put into sleep mode
- Chargers that still consume power even when the device is not connected
- Media players that continually consume power, especially those that may still check for updates in the background
- Phones with screens that show up when not in use, such as cordless phones
- New smart home appliances like refrigerators, washers and dryers with always-on screens, internet connectivity and electronic controls
The energy that is used by these devices when not in use is often referred to as standby power, but it also goes by other names such as phantom load, phantom loads, quiescent current or even.
Save electricity and money with standby power control
Many people are shocked to realize how much standby power can add up. Standby power accounts for 5-10% of residential power consumption, according to the US Department of Energy. Unplugging appliances could save the average household up to $100 a year.
However, the amount you save may depend on the number of devices you use and your habits with them. For example, a Colorado State University educational experiment found that a combo radio/CD player/cassette player used 4 watts continuously whether it was in use or not. Unplugging it when not in use would save 100 times more energy over the lifetime of the device.
A study published by the Natural Resources Defense Council (PDF) found that reducing the load of always-on devices would save consumers a total of $8 billion per year and avoid using 64 billion kilowatt hours. of electricity per year. It also has environmental benefits, such as preventing 44 million metric tons of carbon dioxide pollution. The NRDC has estimated the cost of always-on appliances at up to $165 per household per year on average.
Here are 23 ways to save on your electric bills right now
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How to control standby power
The first step is, of course, to unplug anything that isn’t actively in use or isn’t used often. An example of devices that could easily be unplugged include televisions and set-top boxes in bedrooms. It’s also usually easy to unplug media players when not in use, such as a radio or CD player. When you remove your device from its charger, it can also be helpful to get into the habit of unplugging that charger as well. You might also be surprised at how many devices we’ve plugged in that we don’t even use anymore. Examples might include old cordless phones, old media players, or lamps that are more decorative than functional.
However, unplugging everything and plugging it back in can become very tedious, especially if your outlets are in hard-to-reach places. If the socket is inaccessible, it will be difficult to follow. So you can also implement ways to make the phantom load shutdown process more automatic. You can plug devices into power strips. In this way, a single press of the power switch button can turn off multiple devices. You can also get timers for plugging in appliances or smart plugs so you can automate when power is connected to a device. For example, you can set the TV’s power-on time so that it’s only connected during peak hours like evenings or weekends.
You can also consider getting. Many of these products are rated to have lower standby power consumption than products that are not rated by Energy Star.
More resources to save electricity
As electricity bills rise and become more erratic over time, finding ways to save on electricity costs is more vital than ever. For example, in addition to unplugging appliances in the house, you can consult our guide onwhen not in use. Another key way to improve your electricity/heating bill is to know the you need to set for your home. You can also check our guide on to save on your gas and electric bill, like turning down your water heater or changing your air filters.