We all have items around our house that we leave plugged in all the time. Some common items that stay plugged in 24/7 include alarm clocks, smartphone chargers, and coffeemakers. While leaving these items plugged in may not seem like a big deal, in many cases, it can be costing you more on your electric bill than you realize.
4 Types of Household Electronics You Shouldn’t Leave Plugged In
The reason that leaving these items plugged in all the time can cost you is because of phantom power use. The term phantom power use refers to the consequences of leaving certain electronics and appliances plugged in 24/7. If certain items are left plugged in all the time, they continuously use power, even if they’re turned off. That day-in day-out power use adds up over time and ends up costing homeowners dearly.
The following are four common types of household electronics you should never leave plugged in when you’re not using them:
- Kitchen Appliances – Clearly, you can’t unplug certain appliances in your kitchen, such as your refrigerator, stove/oven, or dishwasher. However, there are smaller appliances that can be unplugged between uses, like your coffeemaker, toaster, can opener, blender, and microwave (in some cases). The danger of leaving smaller kitchen appliances plugged in all the time is that they will continue to use power 24/7 whether you’re using them or not.
- Computers – If desktop computers, laptops, and tablets are plugged in 24/7, they will continue to use power constantly, even when you’re not using them. Yes, this includes when the screensaver is on or the device is in sleep mode. In addition, if your home experiences a power surge and your computer is plugged in, it could be damaged or destroyed, especially if you don’t have it plugged into a surge protector.
- TVs, Sound Systems, Cable Boxes, and Streaming Devices – Just like other electronics in your home, your televisions, cable boxes, streaming devices, and sound systems continue to use power if they’re left plugged in. However, we know that it would be inconvenient to unplug items like your TV or streaming device every time you finished using them. So, we understand why most people would leave them plugged in. We would recommend that if you are not going to be home for an extended period, such as when you go on vacation, that you unplug your TVs, cable boxes, and other entertainment devices while you’re gone. It will save you money and prevent them from suffering damage if there’s a power surge while you’re away.
- Chargers – Many of our electronics, such as our smartphones, tablets, and laptops, must be charged from time to time. In many cases, people leave chargers plugged in even when they aren’t charging their devices (or the device isn’t even connected to the charger). This is another way you could be adding to your utility bill unnecessarily, because if they’re left plugged in, some chargers continue to use power even if they’re not charging your device anymore.
There are also electronics that are okay to keep plugged in all the time. For instance, since older, non-digital electronics often don’t have features that require power even when the device isn’t being used, it is generally safe to leave them plugged in 24/7 without worrying that they’re using power while they’re off. Another device that it is often okay to leave plugged in all the time is a power strip/surge protector. Many power strips have an on/off button. If that button is in the off position, the surge protectors will be prevented from using power even if they’re left plugged in.
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