You’re a conscientious, eco-thinking, budget-smart consumer who turns off her appliances when not in use. So how come you’re not saving a bundle on your electric bills? An electricity price comparison of devices that are turned off as opposed to being completely unplugged may open your eyes to secret suckers of power that are silently robbing you of your hard-earned cash.

Off Vs. Unplugged - Looking for the energy savings

First, a Look at Wattage

Electronic devices identify how many watts they require to operate. As those watts are powered over a period of time, watt-hours are spent energizing the devices. So, a 75 watt device powered for three hours takes 225 watt-hours; divide that figure by 1000 to determine how many kilowatt-hours (kWh) it costs to run that device. In this case, three hours at 75 watts/hour equals 0.225 kWh. Standby drainage is typically lower, but–and here’s the kicker–that’s not always true of every device.

Consult your electricity provider to find out how much you are charged per kWh at each time of day. Rates vary by location, may change throughout the day and perhaps change again after you have consumed a “base” amount of energy within a period of time.

With utility rates in hand, review your household electronics. Reference the wattages on your own devices, and look up their standby energy pulls. Average standby figures below will give you an idea of what’s up with your watts.

You needn’t shut everything off at the mains. Surge protector power strips suit the bill well for disconnecting multiple devices with a single unplugging, so you can turn off a major portion of a room while continuing to use power in another portion of the same room. Speaking of rooms, let’s start…

In the Kitchen

Numerous small appliances scattered about the kitchen are used regularly enough that it’s easy to rationalize keeping them plugged in for the sake of convenience. How convenient is it, though, to burn extra energy–aka money–on appliances you’re not using? Some examples:

  • Blender: 1.5
  • Coffee maker: 6
  • Electric kettle: 14
  • Microwave oven: 5
  • Refrigerator: 155 (as cycling)

Clearly, there are some devices you don’t want to unplug, such as the refrigerator. But if you have a second fridge that you only scarcely use, then calculate its operational costs to determine whether it’s worth it to chill the amount of food you actually store there. You may find it wiser to chuck the bonus fridge and opt to employ a standard ice chest for occasional use.

In the Family Room

Again, some electronics will need to be on ‘round the clock, particularly if they are connected into larger systems, such as a broadband modem that controls your home’s heating cycles. But you could benefit by letting quite a number of your devices take a break from the outlet:

  • Broadband modem: 14
  • Computer monitor: 11
  • Desktop computer with peripherals: 15
  • Digital top box: 30
  • Fax machine: 9
  • Printer: 5
  • Stereo system: 12
  • Television: 13
  • USB Hub: 2
  • Clock radio: 8
  • Cordless phone: 5
  • Mobile phone charger: 4

In the Bedroom, In the Bathroom and Around the House

Electronic toothbrushes, razors, hair dryers, curling irons, facial steamers, paraffin dip baths and other personal products each have a hunger for power. Those little tidbits of 2 or 3 watts apiece quickly become big bites out of your bank book over a year’s time. Game consoles, when they’re off, each add a few more watts per device (did you know that in active use, game consoles are edging toward the same power drain as refrigerators?)

Add up each of the few items listed above, assuming each is left on standby for 20 hours a day, seven days a week, and find out how many standby watts are eaten up in a year’s time. Remember, this example doesn’t count all the items in your actual home.

Also, notice that the computer, monitor, hub, mobile phone charger and other electronic items were only tallied once in the above example. How many of these devices are on standby in your home?

Items that are always running will, naturally, cost more. A powered aquarium may cost you 700 kWh per year (that’d buy a lot of fish food). Got a home security system? That’s 12 watts of security for every hour it’s on.

Watch Your Watts

Don’t let standby power suck money out of your wallet. Conduct an electricity price comparison of your devices when unplugged vs. when left on standby, and put a stake in the heart of energy vampires.

Featured images:

Laura Ginn knows that some home appliances are more energy hungry than others and this can impact on the host of her electricity bills. When searching for the best supplier you should run an electricity price comparison on the price comparison website uSwitch.com.

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