Standby Power: Pull The Plug On This Greedy Energy Thief


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 energy costs.

Here are some simple steps to reduce your home’s wasteful standby power usage.

  • 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.