Save Energy. Unplug Electronics

Unplug Your Electronics and Save on Your Energy Bill

In addition to looking for the ENERGY STAR label when purchasing new electronics products, there are several steps you can take to further minimize the energy used by the electronics in your home now.


Unplug electronics

The simplest and most obvious way to eliminate power losses is to unplug products when not in use. For example, unplug chargers for your portable devices when you take the products off.  Use a Power Strip. Plug home electronics and office equipment into a single power strip with an on/off switch. This will allow you to turn off all power to the devices in one easy step. But remember to keep your power strip in an easy-to-reach location! Once the power strip is turned off, no power will be delivered to the outlets, thereby eliminating power wasted by power supplies. One caveat: home entertainment equipment such as TVs, cable and satellite boxes, and DVRs will need to be reprogrammed or given time to reboot and download information when turned back on. You may want to plug these devices into a separate strip and only turn them off when you plan to be away for more than a few days.

Learn how to identify which electronics to unplug by reading Ecolife's Power Vampires article.


Use a power meter

Inexpensive power meters are now available that can accurately gauge power consumption even at very low power levels. You plug the device in between the appliance and the wall socket, and watch the electricity use change as the appliance goes in and out of power modes. In addition to giving instant readings of power use, several of these devices will record energy consumption over the course of an hour, day, week, or even a year, and hook into your computer to show you a graph of the trends. Use a power meter to find your leading sources of energy consumption. This will help you to prioritize which products to unplug or to replace. Two models to look for are the Kill A WattTM and the Watts Up?


Pro power meter

For an even more sophisticated, big-picture look at your home’s real-time electricity use, you might also consider purchasing a power use monitor. These devices are programmed to read information from your electric meter and communicate the real-time changes in use through an easy-to-read screen. The best monitors are wireless and portable. When your clothes dryer turns on, you’ll see the degree to which your electricity use spikes. When nothing is operating, you’ll see what the background buzz of electric use is in your house, and try to track down the top appliances to be unplugged. Plus, power meters and real-time monitors can be a way to get your family involved and interested in saving energy. Some good monitors to look for are The Energy Detective (TED), the Power Cost Monitor, and the Cent-A-Meter.


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