How many electric appliances, devices or gadgets are plugged in throughout your home right now? A LOT.
In the kitchen alone there are the refrigerator, coffeemaker, dishwasher, stove, microwave, toaster and cordless phone. Then there’s the TV, DVD player, cable or satellite box, lamps, and stereo equipment in the family room. Of course, the study or office has its share of electronics, too, like the computer, printer, cable modem, wireless router and various phone and mobile device chargers. And then there are all of the other electrical things in the bedrooms, bathrooms, laundry room, basement, and garage.
When it comes to saving money on your electric, you probably think you’ve got it covered.
Setting the air conditioning a few degrees higher. Switching to LED fixtures and bulbs. Turning the light switch off when you leave the room. But even when you make the effort to lower your electric bills and improve your energy efficiency, there are still hidden energy costs coming from all of those appliances you thought were turned off. Just how much power do our gadgets consume when we aren't even using them?
Blame it on phantom power.
According to ENERGY STAR®, phantom power is the energy used by appliances and electronics when they’re turned off but still plugged in to a power outlet. Research conducted by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has found that the average home contains 40 products constantly drawing power, such as the electricity flowing to a TV that's been turned off or a coffeemaker programmed to brew in the morning. Individually, the amount of these sleeping devices is small, but when combined, they can account for as much as 10 percent of household energy. The biggest phantom power consumers include:
- Laptop computers and cable boxes (they’re among the worst offenders)
- Any device with a remote control, such as such as a TV, DVD player or garage door opener
- External power supplies
- Chargers for mobile phones, tablets, laptops or handheld gaming devices
- Anything with a continuous display, such as an alarm clock, oven, microwave, VCR or coffeemaker with a digital clock.
Of course, there are some appliances you simply can't unplug all the time.
Your refrigerator is obvious, but it’s also impractical to have to reset clock radios and programmable coffeemakers every time you turn them on. An easy way to reduce your phantom power consumption is to plug appliances like the TV and VCR into a power strip, then turn the power strip off when the devices aren’t in use. Using a power strip also eliminates the need to repeatedly unplug the appliances from the wall, reducing the danger of frayed cords and wires. Most power strips use no electricity at all when they’re switched off, cutting phantom power consumption to zero for any appliances plugged into them.
Unplugging your appliances probably won't make you noticeably wealthier, but it's an easy way to save as much as 10 percent on your electric bill. For more information on how to save energy in your home or place of business, please .
About M.R. Electricians: Since 1996, M.R. Electricians has been serving the electrical needs of homeowners and businesses throughout Montgomery County, Washington, DC, Baltimore, and surrounding areas. The company also specializes in commercial fire protection, contract needs from small tenant fit outs to whole building installations, and motor controls for industrial spaces. From major renovations to the smallest of electrical jobs, the family-owned company is committed to providing high quality products, superior results, and unmatched customer service. Regarded as a leader in the electrical industry, M.R. Electricians has set the standard for excellence in the region. For more information, please visit the website at or call 301.871.0477.