High energy bills plague many families, especially in the summer and winter
when heating and cooling needs increase energy demand. Though your HVAC
system does draw a significant amount of energy, it’s probably not
the only thing spiking your home’s bill.
Common household electronics, such as the television and stereo, draw power
even when they are turned off. It’s important to understand in order
to maximize your home’s energy savings.
What is standby power?
Many appliances and electronic devices are equipped with a standby power
feature that causes the device to continue to draw power when not in use.
Sometimes, this power feature has a useful purpose. For example, the standby
feature is responsible for the clock displays on your DVD player or the
program feature on your coffee pot. Other devices, like your laptop computer
or cell phone charger, draw power just by being plugged in. Over time,
these devices slowly suck power, causing you to pay more for your home’s
Here are some simple steps to reduce your home’s wasteful standby
Use a power strip. A power strip is an excellent device for combating standby power electronics.
Plug all your non-essential electronics into a power strip. Include all
electronics that can be turned off without causing a problem like your
television, stereo equipment, toaster oven, coffee pot and DVD player.
Appliances like your stove or refrigerator need constant power to function
properly. At night, when leaving for work or going on vacation, switch
the power strip off. This turns off the electronic devices at the power
source, killing the standby feature.
Unplug chargers. Many personal electronics use a wall charger to charge the device’s
battery. When not in use, you may be leaving the chargers plugged into
the wall. These chargers continue to draw power, even when the device
is not plugged in at the opposite end. After charging your personal electronics,
unplug the charger from the wall to reduce the wasted power.