Your home is full of electronic devices that are sucking the energy right out of your home. Reduce your energy consumption by identifying the biggest electricity wasters and making changes that control their energy use. Here are some of the typical places in your home where you may be wasting valuable energy, and money.
Look for Those Phantom Loads
The true energy vampires in your home are those devices that use electricity even when they aren't turned on. You could be paying for the energy use of the following phantom loads in your home:
- Televisions — These consume electricity when turned off to allow the "instant on" feature to work. Newer TVs that connect to your home network are using energy when turned off to maintain the network connection.
- DVD/Blu-ray player — These use energy for the remote and display when turned off.
- Stereos — These use a small amount of energy when off so they recognize when you use the remote control or to display a clock on the display.
- Clock radios — These use energy for the clock display even when the radio is off.
- Computer — If left in sleep mode, these use a small amount of energy. Even if shutdown, they will use energy to maintain the battery and keep some power to the disk drives.
- Printers — These can use a lot of energy to talk with your computer even when not printing.
- Microwave oven — Any programmed features and the clock are using energy when not being used.
Smartphones, tablets, laptops and other rechargeable devices will use energy when turned off but plugged into the charger. Many chargers go into a trickle-charge mode when the battery is full. This allows the battery to drain slowly then charged back up once it goes below a certain level.
To make sure you've found all of the energy wasters in your home, have a residential electrical services company (such as those from Alpine Electrical Construction LLC) come in and do a room-by-room check of how much electricity is being used when all of the devices are turned off. Some can leave a monitor with you that will watch your home's consumption of energy over a period of time. This is the best way to narrow down that list of energy vampires.
Defeat the Energy Vampires By Removing Their Source
Short of turning off the power to your entire house, you can reduce the energy consumption of these devices a number of ways.
- Unplug any item not being used — You may want to leave your TV plugged in if you use it often, but you can unplug the clock radio in the guest room when no one is staying with you.
- Use light timers to control when a device has access to electricity — Timers used to control when lights turn on and off can be used to control when devices such as the stereo, DVD player and printer have access to electricity.
- Use power strips to control multiple items at once — Two power strips in your home office can shut off the electricity to your computer, monitor, printer and external disk drives with the flip of a couple of switches.
Take the time to identify and control these energy vampires in your home. You'll have a more energy efficient home and keep more of your money in your pocket.