Should You Unplug Appliances to Save on Electricity?

4 April, 2022
Should you unplug appliances to save on electricity?

Modern homes contain a wide range of electronics and electrical appliances. If you think about how many small appliances, electronics, and the numerous mobile device chargers that are used in a typical household, more than 20 plugs are used every day, and that’s before getting to the major appliances. 

In other words, we use a ton of plugs in our homes.

When electrical appliances are on standby, they still consume electricity. Appliances not in use typically account for up to 10% of your electric bill! Neither your monthly bill nor the environment benefits from that waste of energy.

Why do electronic devices still consume energy when they are turned off? The moment something is plugged into an electric outlet, it starts using energy. This article covers the top 15 household appliances that eat up the most standby power even when switched off and how you can reduce their environmental impact.

Appliances That Consume the Most Phantom Energy

1. The set-top box

In addition to making it convenient to record shows automatically, your PVR has to be working in the background all the time. The device needs to monitor when your favourite shows are on and then record them, something it can’t do without electricity. 

2. Using a router and modem

Whether or not devices are connected to your router, your modem will stay connected to the Internet, to provide a consistent WIFI signal.

3. Television

Do you know that red light that appears when your TV is off? Just one sign that it’s still a power guzzler. Additionally, some newer TVs have listening functionality that can be turned on automatically by other devices or by voice command. Not only is it a little creepy, but it also requires constant power to remain active.

4. When a Blu-ray/DVD player is required

These devices typically have LED displays to display the time, which uses energy constantly. They must also be ready to respond to a remote control signal to start working, which means they are always drawing some power when plugged in. 

5. Computers

Often, when we “power off” our computers, we only place them in a sleep or hibernate state instead of actually turning them off. This is accomplished by maintaining the computer in a low power mode, which allows programs to remain active and enables it to be quickly turned on again. 

In the same way, if a monitor is not turned off by pressing the power button, it will stay in a low power state until a signal from a computer is received to turn it on again.

6. Wireless Phones and Tablets

Wirelessly-connected cordless mobile devices must both charge and maintain a wireless connection between them and the servers they connect to. They are always using power to stay connected to the internet.

7. Games consoles

Even as you take a break from the last marathon gaming session, your console is still working hard. It will continually use energy in the background if you enable automatic software updates or don’t fully shut down your game so that you can resume it quickly.

8. Sound Systems

A stereo clock continually draws power to keep time if one is built-in.

9. Printers

The problem is particularly pronounced for those who leave their printers on standby so that they don’t have to turn them on each time something needs to be printed. Those equipped with wireless capabilities will also need to keep their WIFI signals active, drawing even more energy.

10. Microwaves

When they’re not zapping your food, microwaves also have a clock to display the time, which requires constant energy.

11. Phone Chargers

It’s convenient, but if you leave your chargers plugged into an outlet, they will draw power even if they don’t have anything connected to them to charge. This means that even when your phone or other devices are fully charged, the charger will continue to draw power since it is still plugged in.

12. Coffee Makers

The clock and timer your coffee maker uses require a constant flow of electricity to work. Just like the other entries on this list, this creates a 24/7 drain of electricity.

13. Clocks

Considering all these appliances with built-in clocks that use a lot of electricity, do not forget about dedicated alarm clocks!

14. Electric Toothbrushes

After you’ve finished your morning routine, you’ll need to recharge your electric toothbrush. After they are fully charged, they stay plugged in all day, consuming energy even while they aren’t in use.

15. Night Lights 

Sensors that detect light and/or motion consume a particularly high amount of electricity, even if they are not activated.

Unplug Your Devices 

You can easily stop a device from consuming energy by unplugging it from the wall. Plugging in your devices only when they are about to be used and unplugging them once they have been utilised would be ideal; however, considering nearly all of our activities are done electronically, this can be difficult.

Plug-in Power Strip

An on/off switch is commonly found on power bars, making it easy to cut the power to several devices. An entertainment centre, for example, could benefit from having this solution if many devices are plugged in at once. An extra ten seconds spent switching off a power strip could mean preventing your TV, Blu-Ray player, video game console and stereo from using up power for the rest of the day.

Other Benefits of Unplugging Appliances

While unplugging appliances when not in use can help you save energy, there’s one more benefit: It can protect you from power surges.

Most of your plug-in devices are likely to be damaged by power surges unless you have a whole-house system or individual surge protectors throughout your house.

For example, lighting or transformer explosions don’t need to cause a big surge to damage your appliances. The compressors and air conditioners in your refrigerator and air conditioner commonly cause small surges when they turn on. 

If left unchecked for an extended period, these small surges can slowly degrade other appliances on the circuit, reducing their useful lifespan.

Although electrical fires are a small risk when your appliances are in good working order, keeping them unplugged will eliminate this risk.

For more information about home electrical inspections in Toronto, call Hi-Lite Electric at 416-800-5536 or contact us here.

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Riaz Jilani
Riaz Jilani
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Michael Butler
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Amrik Bhogal
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