Perhaps after turning off your appliances or devices, you assume that they’re no longer using electricity. Yet this is not the case. Most household appliances—including your printer, phone, router, and even laptop—still run and consume electricity when they’re plugged in even if they’re not turned on. Fortunately, the solution is pretty straightforward: Consider unplugging the devices. This should stop them from consuming electricity and silently increasing your power bills.
How Much Standby Energy Do Your Devices Potentially Consume?
Phantom energy accounts for about 5-10% of your household’s energy use, according to the United States Department of Energy. The institute also mentions that unplugging your devices could save the average household approximately $100 each year.
Another study by the Natural Resources Defense Council discovered that unplugging devices that are not in use can save consumers about $8 billion each year and 64 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity. Besides, it also comes with environmental benefits such as stopping the release of 44 million metric tons of CO2 into the atmosphere.
Calculating Your Household’s Standby Energy
Perhaps you’re curious to know which device is wasting the most money on your electric bill. You can figure this out by following a simple method that establishes how many kWh a gadget uses each month or year and then cut back when possible.
In essence, kilowatt-hours measure the amount of electricity in kilowatts that a particular device uses in an hour. Most appliances list their wattage or wattage range, or how many watts they burn each hour, on their labels or in their product guide. To convert watts to kilowatts, divide by 1,000 and multiply by the number of hours each day you use the item. This should tell you how many kilowatt-hours per day you’re consuming.
From there, use the United States Department of Energy’s average U.S. energy rate of $0.14 per kWh to calculate the standby energy. You can also ask your energy provider about your specific utility rate. The findings should help you determine which device consumes a lot of standby energy.
Which Devices in Your Household Consume Too Much Standby Energy?
How much you can save hinges on the types of devices you have and your usage habits. Some of the biggest consumers of standby energy include any equipment that has a remote control, which includes DVD players, televisions, and garage door openers. It also includes equipment with external power supply sources such as a router, cable modem, or printer.
Tablets, PCs, mobile phones, handheld gaming devices, and laptops also consume too much energy during standby modes. For instance, cable boxes and laptop computers draw an average of 44 watts and 9 watts, respectively.
Lastly, devices with continuous displays such as a microwave, alarm clock, coffeemaker, and cable box equally consume a lot of energy. And so, if you have lots of these devices at home, your standby energy costs could be higher.
It’s worth mentioning that old appliances, including ovens lacking digital clocks, dryers, and washers with manual dials rather than brightly lit consoles, don’t draw too much energy because they don’t perform any task during the standby mode; they’re simply on or off. Nevertheless, the compromise is that they’re less energy-efficient and effective when running.
Reducing Standby Energy
Among the easiest ways of reducing standby power consumption is to plug devices such as the basement VCR, TV, and gaming systems into a power strip. Then, turn off the power strip when you’re not using the devices.
Some innovative power strips allow you to designate or set a controller device, such as a smartphone or computer, and automatically switch off power to connected devices, for instance, speakers, scanners, or printers, when the main device isn’t in use.
One of the greatest advantages of using power strips is that they eliminate the need to repeatedly unplug devices from the sockets, reducing the risk of frayed wires. Also, most strips don’t use power when you switch them off, cutting standby power consumption to zero for any devices that you’ve plugged into them.
What to Do with Devices That Can’t Be Unplugged
Undoubtedly, there are devices you can’t simply turn off or unplug such as your refrigerator. Appliances like smart coffeemakers and clock radios are pretty useless if you’re forced to reset or reprogram them each time you switch them on. Also, you need to leave DVRs on to record your favorite shows, and most cable boxes take forever to reboot once you unplug them. And so, when you shop for these items, check their Energy Star ratings for phantom power or standby power before purchasing. Compare with others to get the most efficient products you can buy.
There are a number of advantages to periodically unplugging your appliances.
Reduces Energy Use
The biggest advantage of unplugging your devices is that you’ll reduce energy usage and your impact on the environment. We often underestimate the influence that decreasing our electric consumption might have on the ecosystem around us. The reality is that unplugging unused appliances minimizes our carbon emissions as most of our electricity is generated from fossil fuels. Reducing your usage by 10% may well not sound like a lot. But think of the energy that could be saved if you could encourage your family and friends to do that as well.
Protects Your Devices
Unplugging your devices helps protect them against power surges. Unless you have whole-house surge protection equipment or have individual protectors for your gadgets, your plugged-in appliances might be susceptible to surge damage.
Most of us are aware of the harm that could be caused to our electronic devices by lightning strikes and transformer failures. However, did you realize that even minor surges can damage your gadgets over time? When larger appliances are activated, small surges are created. Typically, these surges do not cause immediate damage. However, they degrade smaller gadgets along the same circuit over time.
Reduces the Risk of Electrical Fires
Did you know that kitchen appliances are considered to be more deadly than sharks? Any tiny appliance, including toasters, coffee grinders, and blenders, is hazardous if it malfunctions while plugged into an outlet. As per the U.S. Fire Administration, electrical faults are responsible for an estimated 6.8% of residential fires. This should be sufficient reason for you to unplug unused appliances. And although the risk of an electrical fire is negligible when your devices are working optimally, the only sure way of completely eliminating such as risk is by keeping them unplugged.
Call Christian Brothers Air Conditioning, Plumbing and Electrical today if you still have questions about saving energy and cutting down your utility costs. Additionally, our staff or insured and certified electricians can upgrade and install wiring, electrical panels, smoke detectors, and outlets and switches, and more.
Additionally, we can handle any of your HVAC system installation, maintenance, and repair. We also service and install heat pumps and ductless mini-splits for all residents in the Phoenix area. Additionally, our professionals can handle emergency plumbing services and repairs. Call Christian Brothers Air Conditioning, Plumbing and Electrical today to get a free estimate and schedule for your residential AC services.