Unplug those devices now and watch your electric bills go down

This story is part of Home Tips, CNET’s collection of practical tips for getting the most out of your home, inside and out.

Not using your toaster today? Unplug it. Even when you’re not actively using an appliance or appliance, it continues to absorb energy, even when it’s turned off. Many devices in your home, from your printer to your laptop charger to your coffee maker, still perform certain functions when plugged in. This means that they continue to consume electricity and increase your monthly electricity bill.

However, there is a very simple solution: just unplug the devices when you’re not using them. Unplugging them will prevent the power from draining silently and increasing your bills, saving electricity and money in the long run. Below, we answer how much money you can actually save by unplugging appliances and whether the energy savings are worth it to you by unplugging and plugging appliances in every day. (To maximize your energy savings, we also have tips on how to lower your water bill, the best temperature to set your thermostat to save money, and the most energy-efficient way to do laundry. to reduce utility costs.)

How can unplugging your devices save you money?

It seems counter-intuitive to unplug devices. After all, they’re gone, so why would they suck in energy?

In fact, according to Energy.gov, your devices are still consuming power even if they’re turned off but still plugged in. Whether the device is off or in sleep mode, some of the worst culprits are:

  • A device that may still be consuming power in the form of lights that stay on or other indicators that the device is off
  • Computers that simply went into sleep mode
  • Chargers that continue to draw power even when the device is unplugged
  • Media players that constantly consume power, especially those that may still check for updates in the background
  • Phones with screens that display when not actively in use, such as B. cordless phones
  • New smart home appliances like fridges, washers and dryers with always-on screens, internet connectivity and electronic controls

The power consumed by these devices when not in use is often referred to as standby power, but it goes by other names such as phantom load, phantom load, idle power, or even vampire power.

Save energy and money by controlling standby power

Many people are shocked when they realize how much standby power can add up. According to the US Department of Energy, standby power accounts for 5-10% of household energy consumption. Disconnecting devices could save an average household up to $100 a year.

However, how much you save depends on how many devices you use and how you use them. For example, an educational experiment at Colorado State University found that a radio/CD player/cassette player combo used 4 watts continuously whether it was in use or not. Unplugging when not in use would save 100 times the power over the life of the device.

A study published by the Natural Resources Defense Council (PDF) found that by reducing the load on always-on devices, consumers would save a total of $8 billion per year and avoid electricity consumption of 64 billion kilowatt hours per year. year. It also has environmental benefits, like avoiding 44 million tons of carbon pollution. The NRDC estimated that the cost of always-on devices averaged $165 per household per year.

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How to control standby power

The first step, of course, is to stake out anything that is not actively used or not often used. An example of devices that could easily be unplugged are televisions and set-top boxes in bedrooms. It’s also usually easy to unplug media players, like a radio or CD player, when not in use. When you unplug your device, it can also help you get used to unplugging the charger as well. You might also be surprised at how many devices we’ve connected that we don’t even use anymore. Examples could be old cell phones, old media players, or lamps that are decorative rather than functional.

However, unplugging it and plugging it back in can become a real hassle, especially if your outlets are in hard-to-reach places. When the socket is inaccessible, it becomes difficult to follow. So you can also configure ways to make the phantom load disconnect process more automated. You can connect devices to power strips. This way, a single press of the power 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 plugged into an appliance. For example, you can set the TV’s power-on time so that it is only plugged in during peak periods such as evenings or weekends.

You can also check if you receive Energy Star products. Many of these products consume less power in standby mode than non-Energy Star certified products.

More resources to save electricity

As utility bills rise and become more erratic over time, finding ways to save on electricity bills is more important than ever. For example, in addition to disconnecting appliances in the house, you can check out our guide on how to turn off lights when not in use. Another important way to improve your electricity/heating bills is to know the ideal temperature to set for your home. You can also read our guide with quick tips on how to save on your gas and electricity bills, for example B. turn down the water heater or change your air filters.

More saving tips:

Source: www.cnet.com

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