10 Household Appliances to Unplug

Group of high energy using household items

Did you know that simply having an appliance plugged into the wall costs you money (not to mention wastes a lot of energy)? Appliances that drain energy when off include common ones like televisions, cable boxes, video game systems, computers, and even rechargeable toothbrushes. What’s more, most chargers plugged into the wall draw power no matter if there’s something in their dock or not. The loss of energy is sometimes jokingly called vampire energy, but it’s not a laughing matter if you care about conserving energy and saving money. Energy efficiency is an easy shortcut to energy conservation and savings.


It may be impossible to unplug everything all the time. Unplugging your cable box and DVR isn’t going to work for most people (especially if you’ve got a show to record), but there are plenty of items that are easy to unplug and will save you energy and money. And remember, to make things easy, you can always plug your appliances into a power strip and simply turn the power strip off when your appliances are not in use. For info on exactly how much wattage standard appliances draw, see this list1 from the Berkeley Lab.


1. Computers. You don’t have to power down your computer every time you get up to use the bathroom, but you should have it set to go into power-saving mode after a short idle period to ensure energy efficiency. As well, most energy experts agree it’s best to power down and unplug you laptop or base station and monitor every night, as they draw power even when in hibernation mode.


2. Printer. If you have a power-sucking laser printer, you don’t want it on unless you’re using it. Inkjet printers take up less wattage, but if you’re not using your inkjet printer, it’s best to turn it off and unplug it because energy is still leaking away.


3. Television. You likely have more than one TV and even when they’re not on, they are sucking power and draining money from your wallet. Rear-projection TVs are especially big energy hogs when on. In the name of energy efficiency, turn off any TV when you stop watching it, and unplug your TVs whenever possible.


4. DVD Player and VCR. A DVD player uses almost as much energy when it’s on and playing a DVD as when it’s on but not playing. Turn it off when not in use and unplug if you can.


5. Game Consoles. In ready and active mode, game consoles eat a lot of power.  Make sure they’re off when not in use, and unplugged if possible.


6. Stereo Equipment. Receivers and subwoofers need energy to blast sound, and when on but not playing, they deplete energy. To save money, turn ‘em off and unplug ‘em.


7. Cordless Power Tool. If you’ve got a cordless drill recharged at all times, you might want to pull the plug, as it will drain energy regardless.


8. Microwave Ovens. If you rarely use your microwave, unplug it! While it might not be practical to unplug it after every use, if you only use it once a week, you’ll save money by keeping the plug out of its socket.


9. Mobile Phone and Charger. If your phone is plugged into a power source but fully charged, it’s still draining energy. To ensure energy efficiency, unplug your phone from the charger when it’s done charging, and unplug the charger from the wall for even more savings.


10. DVR and Cable Box. It may not make sense to unplug these every night, especially if you’re recording something, but if you can pull the plug when you’re away for a long weekend or vacation, you’ll save some major energy. Most use almost as much energy off as on. 


If you're looking for more ways to save money on energy, consider switching to solar.




1Lawrence Berkely National Laboratory: Standby Power, http://standby.lbl.gov/summary-table.html

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