You have probably heard that a great way to save money on utilities is unplugging devices that are not in use, like phone chargers, appliances, and hairdryers. While this is true, the question is, how much money? If you’re like most people, saving a few pennies on your electric bill isn’t worth the hassle of unplugging and re-plugging your electronic devices every day (even though, as we will explain further below, this is not actually necessary). In today’s post, our Cary electrician dives into the true costs of “energy vampires”, and how much you can save by pulling the plugs.
How Much Power Do Energy Vampires Consume?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American spends an average of $1,444 annually on electricity costs. It is estimated that 14% to 20% of those expenses go to powering idle “vampire” devices. One interesting thing to note is that, while overall electricity costs are decreasing, the amount of wasted energy has shot up from its 2015 levels, which ranged from 5%-10%. This is likely because, as our gadgets become more capable and powerful, more and more of them are making their way into our homes, meaning more and more items to plug in and forget about.
The Biggest Idle Energy Draws in Your Home
Research conducted by utility company Save On Energy found that the devices which consume the most energy in an average family home are:
- Desktop computers: About $80 per year when on, but idle; about $25 when asleep
- Set-top digital cable boxes: About $50 per year when turned off
- Set-top DVRs: About $40 per year when turned off
- Set-top satellite box with DVR: About $30 per year when off
- Gaming consoles: About $30 per year when turned off
With so much focus placed on unplugging small devices like phone chargers, these figures may be surprising. However, the research showed that small plug-in devices are only drawing “pocket change” when compared to the devices listed above.
- USB hub: About $1.60 per year
- Laser printer: About $2 per year
- Scanner: About $3 per year
- Mobile phone charger: About $0.60 per year
- Coffee maker: About $2 per year
- DVD player: About $2 per year
- Floor lamp: About $2 per year, per lamp
- Surge protector: About $1 per year
As you can see, if you are worried about all these small devices draining your power, you can rest easy—the biggest offenders are the large devices in your office and living room.
Controlling Energy Vampires with Our Cary Electrician
Now that you have learned how much you could be paying for idle electronic devices, you are probably eager to learn what you can do about it. The following methods can be used to control energy vampires:
- Use smart power strips that automatically cut off power when devices are not in use.
- Make use of energy-saving features such as the “sleep mode” that is commonly built into computers.
- Upgrade to energy-efficient devices which have a lower-than-average standby consumption rate.
- Invest in “smart home” devices, such as a smart thermostat, that can automatically adjust energy settings when you are away
If you live in Apex, Holly Springs, Garner, Raleigh, or Cary, our local electrician can help you make these upgrades to your home and more! We can also perform an electric energy audit to determine which areas of your home are drawing the most power. To schedule an appointment, please click here!