You have likely already heard how important it is to unplug your cellphone charge if you aren’t going to be at home or when it isn’t connected to your phone. That’s because the charger will continue draining power. While this is true, in most cases, a cell phone charger is only going to draw a small amount of power alone and as a result, you likely won’t notice any reduction in your power bill if you leave yours unplugged.
However, this isn’t the case with other electronics – especially the modern ones that have “standby mode.” These can actually increase your monthly energy costs significantly – even if you aren’t using them. According to information from the Department of Energy, energy vampires in your home actually account for about 10 percent of your home’s total energy consumption.
Handling High-Tech Energy Waste
The main reason that cell phone chargers are considered a prime example of energy vampires is due to the fact that they are doing nothing when they aren’t charging. There’s no downside to unplugging them when they aren’t in use. Another example is your microwave. It likely uses more standby energy that a phone charge because it is powering a digital clock. But, you likely leave it plugged in so you can check the time.
The type of devices listed here don’t add up to very much energy waste. However, this isn’t the case for things such as your flat screen television, video game console or computer.
With these electronics becoming more and more sophisticated, the manufacturers have been paying more attention to how long it takes them to start up. This is where “standby mode” came from. While the device may not be “on,” it also isn’t “off.” When in standby mode, these types of devices are still drawing power to keep components and processes working so they are able to “wake up” in just seconds when you are ready to use them again.
While the power settings can be customized, the default settings are likely not the ones that are the most energy efficient. If you aren’t sure if your devices are in these categories, then consult your manual for each device or explore the power settings menu.
Getting Rid of Energy Vampires
Even though high-tech electronics can create issues when it comes to wasted energy, there is usually a low-tech, fail safe solution: just pull the plug. When you completely disconnect these devices from the grid, you won’t have to worry about them driving up your energy costs.
When it comes to saving energy, there are several other things you can do, as well. You may want to consult with a professional electrician and schedule an energy audit. This can let you know what in your home is using the most power, and where you may be able to save both energy and money. In the long run, this will be well-worth the investment that you make.