Depending on where you live, your electric bill can be super expensive, no matter which season we’re in. You run the AC during summer and the furnace during winter. We don’t seem to get a break.
Smart devices can go a long way in saving you some cash. Smart sprinklers, for instance, stop watering when it’s raining and monitor to ensure you’re not wasting water. Tap or click for the features to look for when upgrading your sprinkler system.
But what about the rest of your home? Most electronics continue to consume energy when they’re “off.” Why does this occur, and what can you do about it? We’re here to answer these questions and help slash your power costs brought to you by our sponsor, SimpliSafe.
Why do appliances stay on when powered off?
When certain appliances are powered off but still plugged into electrical outlets, they passively consume electricity. This is referred to as “phantom energy.” Most of these devices draw an insignificant amount of energy, but others, such as those listed here, suck a higher quantity of power, earning the title “energy vampires.”
Research shows that when enough devices are plugged in, the standby power can equal 20% of your electric bill. Here are some of the most significant contributors:
1. Chargers: Have you made it a habit to leave a charger or charging cable plugged in next to the couch or other convenient location? As handy as this practice is, the charger will continue to draw power. When your fully charged cellphone remains plugged into an outlet, it will continue to drain your home’s electricity.
2. Computers: Most of us don’t bother turning off our computers. Instead, we put them into sleep or hibernate mode. While these settings allow the computer to turn on quickly, it can be a drain on your electric bill. If your desktop has a monitor with a separate power supply, it will consume energy in this lower power mode.
3. Televisions: When you turn your TV off, do you notice its power light turns red? If so, this indicates your television is still sucking electricity. Note that most newer TVs have a listening feature that your voice or other devices can automatically turn on despite being “turned off.”
4. Streaming boxes: If you have a streaming box for your TV, any time you power it down, it continues to use energy to record shows you’ve scheduled. The device requires power to receive a signal from its remote anytime.
5. Game consoles: Ever turn off your game console before completely shutting down your last session? Though keeping them on allows you to pick up where you left off, it requires the devices to remain powered. Of course, during any period your gaming system is off, your console continues to perform tasks like installing software updates.
6. Printers: Do you turn off your printer at all? Or do you leave it in standby mode when you’re done using it for the day? This habit ensures your printer sucks up electricity at all times. If your printer is wireless, be aware it requires more energy due to maintaining an active Wi-Fi signal, even when powered down.
How to reduce or stop energy vampires
Beyond the unrealistic recommendation to unplug all devices when not in use, there are ways to reduce and stop wasting electricity, including using energy star appliances, outlet timers, surge protectors and standby power killers.
Energy Star appliances – Energy Star is the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) program that certifies devices that meet various energy efficiency standards. While using Energy Star appliances will not eliminate your phantom power issue, it will decrease energy consumed when your appliances are both on and off.
Outlet timers – The use of outlet timers, such as this handy mechanical model, will not stop powered-off appliances from sucking electricity; however, they can reduce power consumption by turning off devices and equipment that are left on by mistake or are in standby mode.
Surge protectors – Surge protectors and power strips have come a long way from protecting a few household appliances. Why not make turning off your office devices simple with a surge protector power strip that can accommodate various outlet sizes and has USB ports for charging cables?
Plug all your devices’ power cords into one surge protector to ensure that your equipment’s energy pull is equivalent to unplugged devices when you turn the power strip off.
Standby Power Killers – Equipment like your TV should be unplugged to stop it from racking up kilowatts on your energy bill; however, you can eliminate this phantom power by merely plugging your television into a TV Standby Killer. This device plugs into a standard wall outlet and uses an infrared sensor to determine when you turn off your TV using its remote. Once detected, your television is OFF, not in standby mode.
Don’t let energy vampires suck your home’s electricity. Unplug your devices, install some power-saving gadgets and slash your energy usage.
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