Do you have memories of your grandmother walking around the house at the end of the day and unplugging nearly anything with a cord?
Maybe you chuckled at her old-fashioned ways, but it turns out she was onto something.
Can unplugging appliances save you money on your electric bill? And are there other potential benefits to unplugging some of the equipment in your home?
The answer to both of these questions is yes.
In this article, we will explain exactly why and let you know just how much you could save by unplugging appliances you aren’t using.
Does Unplugging Appliances Really Save Electricity?
Does Unplugging Appliances Save Money on Electric Bills?
6 Appliances and Electronics That Should and Shouldn’t Be Unplugged
Are There Other Benefits of Unplugging Appliances When Not In Use?
Save More Than Just Money with Gexa Energy’s 100% Green Electricity Plans
It sure does.
According to the National Resources Defense Council:
“There has been a veritable explosion in the number of electronics, appliances, and other miscellaneous devices plugged into, or permanently connected to, America's homes. Most are consuming electricity around-the-clock, even when the owners are not using them or think they have been turned off. This always-on energy use by inactive devices translates to $19 billion a year -- about $165 per U.S. household on average -- and approximately 50 large (500-megawatt) power plants' worth of electricity.”
That’s a huge amount of electricity being used unnecessarily, which leads to extra money being spent on energy bills.
We love our devices, electronics, and appliances — and we have become more dependent upon them with time.
Around 50 devices in the typical American household are drawing energy even when they appear to be off. So we need to figure out the smartest way to use them … or more importantly, not use them.
There are three different types of “always-on” electricity usage:
Idle load or baseload consumption — Appliances or equipment that are in off or standby mode but still drawing power.
Sleep mode — Devices are not fully on but are ready to power up quickly when needed.
Fully on but inactive — For instance, leaving your television on when you aren’t watching it or maybe aren’t even in the room.
This always-on energy provides little or no benefit to consumers because most devices aren’t performing their primary functions in these modes and are not being actively used by home occupants.
The NRDC believes that if all homes in the United States committed to reducing their always-on load for inactive devices, it would:
Save consumers $8 billion annually on utility bills
Reduce electricity use by 64 billion kilowatt-hours per year; and
Prevent 44 million metric tons of carbon dioxide pollution caused by standard electricity generation.
So if you’ve been wondering, “Does unplugging things save electricity?” you can now see that it makes a huge difference.
But what will your individual savings be? Read on to find out.
It is estimated that about one-third of all residential energy consumption is used by devices in idle power mode.
That’s the equivalent of 50 large power plants’ worth of electricity every year.
Let’s look at some common household items to compare electricity usage when they are on versus when they’re off:
Cable box — Draws 28 watts when on and recording a show, or 26 watts when it’s off.
Laptop computer — 48 watts when open and charging and the same amount when closed and charging; how many of us leave our fully-charged computers plugged in all the time?
Apple TV — Uses 21 watts when it’s on and 17 when it’s off.
As you can see, these items have pretty big power draws even when they’re not being used. Think about how much that adds up for every appliance over time.
Recent data from The World Bank indicates that the average American uses around 13,000 kilowatt-hours. To put that into perspective, 50 years ago that number was less than 6,000.
It would be nearly impossible for a person living a modern lifestyle to get back to early 1970s-era numbers, but unplugging appliances is a step in the right direction.
Our plans are sustainable and 100% green at no extra cost to you. The choices you make with your energy usage add up over time, and we want to help you pick options that work for your lifestyle.
The Department of Energy calls appliances that stay plugged in when not in use energy vampires because they suck away electrical power.
It turns out that energy vampires could add an extra 10% a month to your monthly utility bill.
Think about what 10% of your current bill is, and calculate how that would add up over time. That could be a huge difference in your budget.
There are many different ways to keep your electricity bills low, and unplugging your appliances when you aren’t using them is probably the easiest among these.
How much money you can save depends on a couple of different factors, such as:
If you aren’t already using energy-saving tricks whenever you can and are more like the typical American household, you are likely to save an average of $165 per year by unplugging appliances in your home.
Now that you know it is a good idea to unplug electronics to save electricity and money, let’s dig a little deeper and figure out which ones you should be unplugging and others that you needn’t worry about.
Obviously, it doesn’t make sense to unplug large appliances such as your refrigerator and oven.
But little things like the...
Coffee maker; and
… can be easily unplugged when not in use.
This will make more of a difference than you might think in your home’s usage.
Once your cell phone, laptop, and any other rechargeable electronics are fully charged, unplug that cord to keep the energy vampires at bay.
Even if your computer is in standby or sleep mode, it’s still consuming a lot of electricity.
Getting in the habit of unplugging your desktop computer each night will not only save money over time, but it will also help protect you from power surges.
If you watch a lot of TV you probably won’t want to be constantly unplugging and plugging in every component of your entertainment system.
But since all those different elements add up on your power bill over time, it’s a good idea to unplug when you know you won’t be using them for a while.
If your equipment doesn’t have a digital display, it’s probably not much of an energy vampire.
Still using an older washer and dryer with manual dials? Leave those plugged in with no worries.
Power strips are excellent devices to keep plugged in because they do double duty of preventing surges and saving electricity.
A smart power strip can detect when devices plugged into it are in standby mode and cut off power at the source, which prevents you from having to manually unplug each appliance or piece of electronics.
These power strips have a great return on investment because you’ll get back the money you spent on them many times over in savings on your utility bill.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that every year electrical products are associated with injuries, deaths, and fires in homes.
A piece of equipment that isn’t plugged in can’t start a fire or shock someone, so better to be safe than sorry in this instance.
Power surges are sudden spikes in voltage in the flow of electricity throughout your home.
They can be caused by a variety of reasons, including:
Lightning strikes in the area
Old wiring in your house; or
Utility company working in your neighborhood.
No matter the cause, power surges can destroy anything plugged into your walls, from your computer to your microwave.
There is no safer way to protect against power surges than unplugging equipment unless you have individual surge protectors all over your house or a whole-home surge protection system.
A huge lightning strike or transformer explosion doesn’t have to occur to damage your appliances, either.
Small surges happen all the time, like when large appliances in your home (such as the air conditioner) cycle on.
Over time, these small surges gradually damage electronics on the same circuit and can cause them to fail sooner than they normally would.
We hope we’ve convinced you that unplugging certain appliances when they’re not in use could save you on your electricity usage and monthly bill.
But why not take that a step further?
Contact Gexa Energy today to find out just how much you could save. We are one of the fastest-growing electricity providers serving residential and commercial customers in Texas since 2002.
All Gexa plans are 100% green!
And if for any reason you’re not happy with your new Gexa Energy plan, you can take advantage of our Happiness Guarantee and switch to a different plan without penalty.*
Take a look at our energy plans and find the one that’s right for you. Let Gexa Energy help you save in a sustainable way.
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