If you're trying to save energy in your home, you probably know the importance of turning off electrical devices when not in use. But did you know that many devices and appliances will continue to pull energy even when they're switched off?
The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found around 50 devices and appliances in the typical American household that are energy vampires. This means they continue to draw power, even when they are in idle, stand-by, or "off" mode. These items include printers, televisions, speakers, satellite or cable boxes, phones, and air conditioners.
All that power adds up. According to a study from the Natural Resources Defense Council, idle electronic devices can waste a huge amount of energy. In fact, energy use by inactive devices costs the country approximately $19 billion a year, or $165 per U.S. household. That's equal to the energy generation of 50 large power plants.
Here's some tips for reducing the energy waste from your idle electronics.
Know what has gone digital
Many homeowners aren't aware of all the devices in their homes that are pulling energy. Mechanical devices such as washers and dryers used to be purely mechanical, meaning if they weren't being used they didn't need electricity. However, any device that has a digital display is pulling energy, even if you've switched it to "off."
Consider unplugging devices with digital displays when not in use, such as coffee pots or extra televisions in rarely used rooms.
Try a smart outlet
If you don't want the hassle of plugging and unplugging your devices, you can also plug them into power strips, timers or smart outlets to give you extra control over when they are pulling energy. With a power strip, you can easily shut off the electricity for multiple devices by flipping one switch. If you plug a timer into your outlet, it will only allow the device to pull energy at times you specify.
Smart plugs are a new development in home energy efficiency. These devices act as stand-ins between the outlet and your device. In addition to keeping the device from draining electricity when not in use, smart plugs have Wi-Fi capability so you can turn them on or off remotely by using your phone. There are many varieties available, including ones with built-in surge protectors.
Pay special attention to these items
Certain items are bigger energy vampires than others. The NRDC found the devices that draw the most energy, even when idle, are heated towel racks, whole-house audio systems, and security/surveillance systems. However, not all of these items are designed the same, and consumers can compare manufacturers' specifications to find a model that uses less energy.
While the biggest energy hogs aren't found in every house, other, more common devices, including treadmills, doorbells, cordless phones, and electronic pencil sharpeners, have an idle load of at least one watt per hour.
Visit Gexa Energy's website for more energy-saving tips.