When you turn off an electrical appliance, it would make sense for it to not use any power, but our residential electrical contractors note that many of our electronics actually continue to use electricity when they are turned off.

Which Appliances Still Use Energy When They're Off?

Our technicians in Atlanta believe you would be surprised at all of the appliances that still use power when they're off. Any appliance that has a clock, light or LCD panel, like your microwave, TV, cable box, DVR, DVD player, etc., is still using electricity when turned off. Devices that have a standby or sleep power mode are typically never fully off; they just go into standby mode instead. Computers, their monitors, most TVs and cable boxes will do this instead of fully turning off. Even if your computer is fully shut down, it will keep using power to keep the motherboard working while it is off. Any appliance with an external power supply will also still use power, like a cell phone charger, your computer speakers and pretty much any appliance that has a square block for a plug.

How Much Energy Do They Consume?

Our commercial technicians note the amount of energy consumed by these energy "vampires" varies widely by appliance. Some will use merely one watt of energy over time, whereas others can use upwards of 50 watts. For example, a cell phone charger will consume one watt while plugged in, even if it is not charging a phone. (That same charger consumes 4.5 watts when you keep it plugged into your fully charged cell phone and 8 watts when it is charging your phone.) On the other side of the spectrum, a stand-alone DVR or rear projection TV will consume 48.5 watts of power while it is turned off.

How Much Money Does This Cost?

Over time, all of this leaked energy begins to add up. If your home is leaking a mere 2,369.74 kWh each year (which is not unreasonable to expect, our Atlanta electrical contractors note), you will be paying an extra $236.97 each year on your electric bills. Many homes pay significantly more to power devices that are off.

How Can I Stop This?

The simplest and cheapest way to stop losing electricity to energy vampires is to unplug them when you aren't using them. However, many homeowners find that they cannot keep up with all of the things they must plug in and unplug throughout the day, and they begin to lapse. Our Atlanta technicians recommend getting a smart power strip or smart surge protector instead. These smart surge protectors automatically cut off power to any device that is turned off while still sending power to the devices that are turned on.