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Mar 02, 2024

Does Unplugging Appliances Really Save Electricity?

Many of us leave our appliances plugged in when we’re not using them. If you look around your home, you’ll be surprised by just how many appliances are plugged in around the clock. From the refrigerator that you never turn off to phone chargers that you rarely think about in terms of the amount of power they draw.

In this article, Mr. Electric answers this question as to whether unplugging appliances can save money on your power bill and gives more guidance on which appliances to unplug to save on your energy bills.


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So, does unplugging appliances save electricity? The answer to this question is yes. Unplugging appliances can help you save on your electricity bill. Even when switched off, many appliances continue to draw a small amount of power, known as standby power or phantom energy. This can accumulate over time and contribute to your electricity usage.

The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that standby power accounts for 5% to 10% of a typical household’s electricity use. Unplugging appliances you’re not using can help reduce this energy waste and potentially lower your electricity bill.

How Much Electricity Is Used by Leaving Things Plugged In?

The exact amount of electricity used by leaving things plugged in depends on the specific appliance and its power draw in standby mode. However, estimates suggest that phantom power or standby power can account for 5% to 10% of a typical household’s electricity use, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Which Appliances Use the Most Electricity?

While unplugging appliances can help save energy, it’s important to target the biggest energy guzzlers in your home for the most significant impact. Here's a breakdown of the top culprits:

  • Heating and Cooling Systems: These appliances account for a whopping 45-50% of a typical household’s energy consumption.
  • Water Heater:  Water heating accounts for roughly 14-18% of your home’s energy use. Consider installing a low-flow showerhead and taking shorter showers to reduce hot water usage.
  • Clothes Washer and Dryer: Together, these appliances can consume around 12% of your home’s energy. Our electricians recommend you wash clothes in cold water and use the dryer only when necessary to reduce energy consumption.
  • Refrigerator: This constantly running appliance accounts for about 9% of a home’s energy use.
  • Oven and Stove: While not always in use, ovens and stoves can use significant amounts of energy when operating.

Which Appliances to Unplug

  • Electronics with transformers: These include devices like TVs, computers, game consoles, and phone chargers. Even in standby mode, they continue to draw a small amount of power due to the transformer.
  • Kitchen appliances: Coffee makers, toasters, and microwaves use minimal standby power, but if you’re not using them daily, unplugging them can help reduce energy waste.
  • Secondary appliances: Do you have a spare refrigerator in the garage or a small freezer in the basement? Unplugging these appliances when not in use can save energy, especially if they are not very energy-efficient models.

Even small changes in how you use these appliances can make a big difference in your energy consumption and electricity costs.

Are You Looking For A Professional Electrician? Reach Out To Mr. Electric

Mr. Electric is a reputable electrical service company offering reliable electrical services to both residential and commercial customers. Our licensed electricians are highly trained, licensed, and experienced to handle electrical tasks safely and effectively.

Some of the electrical services we offer include:

Call Mr. Electric today to schedule an electrical service appointment.


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