The Biggest Energy Hogs?: Your Electronics
Trying to save energy? Have you paid attention to your electronic devices? The number of televisions, DVD players, stereos, computers, and other electronic appliances in a home has increased steadily over the past few years. While these devices don’t seem like they’d use a lot of power, the fact is that even just a trickle can add up over time. Here are just a few things you can do to keep your electronics from increasing your bill.
Turn off your computer when it’s not in use. Computers draw a relatively small amount of electricity per day, but it adds up over time. Just the monitor, which uses less power than your CPU, will cost you around $20 per month if left on every day.
Turning off your computer doesn’t take much time, and saves power. Many people think that leaving the computer or monitor on will increase its usable life, or that starting the computer up again uses more power than leaving it on. Both of these misconceptions date from the days of room-filling mainframe computers. Modern machines aren’t as fragile, and use much less power on startup.
Don’t leave your cell phone charger plugged in. While this practice might keep the charger ready for your phone, it also uses a trickle of power. This amounts to around a dollar fifty per person, per month, in the United States. It doesn’t seem like much on a personal level, but it costs the country around eight billion dollars a year in total, says the Alliance to Save Energy. This goes for other battery chargers as well. Once the battery is full, unplug the charger.
Avoid phantom loads. Most electronics now require energy, even when off! The little lights on televisions, stereos, and other electronic devices draw power when we’re not using them. To prevent this, unplug those devices when they won’t be in use.
When buying new electronics, look for the Energy Star certification. Computers, printers, televisions and more are available, and will use as much as 70% less power than devices that aren’t certified by Energy Star. This is a great way to reduce the amount of power you use without saying goodbye to electronics you need.
Use rechargable batteries instead of disposables. You won’t be contaminating landfills with heavy metals, and you’ll save money in the long run. Rechargable batteries have thousands of uses in them before you’ll need new ones, and they may have longer life between charges than disposables. This makes them the ideal choices for cameras, MP3 players that take standard batteries, and other devices.
Author: Andrew Wroblewski