Unplugging it

When I lived in D.C., a huge “I will turn it off/ I will unplug it more” campaign splashed the walls of the subway and the glass shelters of each bus stop I passed. I don’t remember who ran the ads, but I remember them five years later. (Now, that’s good advertising.)

I also remember thinking, “I didn’t realize unplugging was such a big deal. Does it really waste that much electricity?”

But imagine if we all did it. If we unplugged the computers, televisions, microwaves, and power strips behind the t.v. that run the Wii, or Play Station that we don’t use every day. All night while we sleep, it hums along, lit up and hot, eating electricity. It’s called standby or phantom power. Debates and research ensue that it may drive our electric bill up as high as  10%  or it may only add $5 or $10 of lost electricity a year to your bill. Others say it only costs pennies. But stand back and look at all the houses in your neighborhood, in your city, in your state, in your country. $10 adds up. So do pennies. And who is benefiting from that gain? Not you. The electric company! I’m not paying them anymore than I have to.

And no, it’s probably not a lot of electricity. But it’s some. I could spend that extra $10 toward a bill or a meal. Those pennies could fill up my piggy bank and later be rolled and taken to the bank.

It drove my husband crazy when I unplugged the microwave in Virginia because it was inconvenient to reach back there and find the plug when he needed it. But it has a clock on it, which means it’s pulling electricity. So, I  started leaving the plug over the top or sticking out the back to make it a bit easier for him to reach in a pinch. While I was at it, I unplugged the toaster and coffee pot too. Now I’m in the habit of only plugging in  appliances when I use them. Why leave them plugged in all the time? What’s the point of that?

And guess who is doing the same now? 🙂

I realize it isn’t a large amount of electricity. But it’s still waste. Imagine if all of us unplugged the main things, how much of a difference it would make as a community.

Appliances that suck phantom power:
Anything that stays lit after it’s turned off such as VCRs, televisions, stereos, computers, gaming systems, and kitchen appliances. (Or anything with a clock on it.)

What could you start unplugging? Or do you think it’s not worth it/too much trouble? 


5 responses to “Unplugging it

  1. My husband always urges me to do this too. He’s not perfect about it – but it’s good to have someone reminding you to be socially conscious all of the time. One thing I find that makes it easier – we have all of our entertainment console appliances plugged in to one powerstrip – and just unplug the strip when we’re gone. Just one thing to plug in and unplug. It’s harder to make that method work in the kitchen, though.

  2. Thanks for this. I consider doing this every once in a while and have concluded each time that it won’t make that much of a difference, but you’re right, it’s not nothing and if we ALL did it. Wow.

  3. @ Little Sis—girl, you just gave me chills! 🙂

    @Hailey—power strip is the PERFECT idea. You’re so smart. 🙂

  4. Though many of us are suspicious about turning our washing machines down to 30 degrees, this slightly lower temperature will in fact in most cases get your clothes as clean and fresh as a 40 degree wash. 10 degrees less will generally make no difference to how clean your clothes are, but heaps of difference to how much energy you’re using. Next time you put in a load, try turning down to 30 degrees C and you could save a significant amount on your electricity bill.

  5. @ Hazel—brilliant idea. I’ve been washing them in cold water for years, and so far so good. Thanks for the visit!

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