Unplug electronics when they're not in use

Why? Many electronic devices continue to draw power even when they are turned off. By unplugging devices and chargers when they are not in use, you can avoid paying for this extra energy.
Helpful terms: The energy that some electronics draw while they are off is called a "phantom load." Products that waste electricity this way are often called "vampire devices."

Which of my electronics are likely to be vampire devices?

  • Televisions
  • Digital video recorders (DVRs)
  • Computers
  • Entertainment systems
  • Video game systems
  • Printers, scanners, and fax machines
  • DVD players
  • Coffee-makers
  • Microwaves
  • Cell phone and battery chargers
  • Any device with a remote control or LED indicator light

For extra convenience: The plugs for devices like TVs or entertainment systems sometimes can be hard to reach. A power bar in an easy-to-reach location will enable you to cut off and restore power to these electronics more easily. You can also purchase a power bar with a remote control, or a "smart power bar" that will automatically shut off power when a central device is idle — like the computer in your home office or the TV in your entertainment system.

Good to know:

  • Many vampire devices have rectangular adapter boxes on their plugs. Plug adapters stay warm to the touch even when the connected device is off — a sign that it is a continuous energy user.
  • Some electronics use standby energy to run digital clocks, displays, or lights. They may have a small light that is always on, even when the device is turned off, and they may have a remote control. If you see a light or display that is always on, you'll know to unplug the device to save energy.

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