Appliance Off – It Doesn’t Mean No Energy Used

Many modern appliances may be using as much as 15 to 30 watts when off or in Stand-by mode. Some may actually be using the same amount of energy off as they are when on. One common term for these devices is ‘energy vampires’.

Stand-by power is estimated to be as much as 5 percent of all residential energy being used in the United States. A homeowner can see hundred of dollars per year being used by stand-by power. It is estimated to be about 65 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity each year costing consumers more than 5.6 billion dollars.

What are some common items that use this stand-by power? Anything with an external power pack, has a remote control or displays a clock will be using some stand-by power. The most common are TV’s VCR, Cable Boxes and Stereo Systems.

The real problem with this stand-by power consumption isn’t that they use power, but they have been poorly designed to use more power than necessary. Manufacturers presently have no reason to design their products with efficiency in mind. Only when consumers begin to evaluate brands with this as a consideration will that occur.

In many cases the older the appliance the more energy it may be using than with a newer model. When purchasing a new appliance look for the one that uses the least amount of stand-by power by checking the label and specifications.

While it may not make much sense to unplug the TV, VCR or DVD player when not in use, it may not be a bad idea to unplug these devices when away for an extended period of time such as when on vacation or even a weekend away.

One thing you probably would want to consider unplugging when not in use are battery chargers for items such as cell phone, MP3 players and blackberries. If you have all of these chargers plugged into the same power strip simply turn the strip off when not in use. Make it a habit to charge all of the devices at the same time and turn the strip off when done.

© 2007 Steven G. Atkinson – All Rights Reserved

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