Many of the appliances in the average household spend most of their time turned off. Things like televisions, stereos, video game consoles and computers are probably turned off for far more than half of every 24 hour period. One reason that we don’t just leave everything on is to save electricity. Who wants to pay for the electricity to run these things when we’re not using them? Unfortunately, they still draw electricity when they are turned off.
Electronics draw power even when turned off
All of the items mentioned above and many others, use internal transformers to convert the AC power they receive from the wall outlet to DC or to reduce the voltage. Unfortunately, these transformers draw electricity from the wall outlet all the time. When the device in which they reside is not in use, that power drain is reduced, but still present. Consumer electronics devices such as stereos that have an Energy Star rating must comply with maximum energy usage requirements when in the “off” state, but they still draw power.
Logical groups for a power strip
While things like lamps don’t use power when they are turned off, almost everything with electronics inside does. Often these items are clustered in groups. Let’s look at the computer desk for example. At a typical computer workstation you will find:
- A computer
- A computer monitor
- A computer printer
- Computer speakers
- A router
- A modem
How much does it cost when turned off?
Every one of these devices is drawing electricity when not in use. That means you’re paying for electricity that you’re not using, and the generation of that electricity is contributing to the addition of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. Many people want to live a green lifestyle, but overlook some of the easiest lifestyle changes that could help them get closer to that goal.
Power strips can cut electricity usage
Eliminating the power drain from electronics devices not in use is one of the easiest ways to lower your carbon footprint and live a more green lifestyle. All you need to do is plug these groups of equipment into a single power strip and make sure that when you are finished using them, you turn off the power strip. That cuts all power to the transformers of each attached device and stops wasted electricity cold.
More logical groupings for a power strip
Think about other logical groups of equipment that could benefit from the use a power strip in your home.
Home entertainment system
- DVD player
- cable box
- video game console
- home theater audio system
Kitchen countertop appliances
- microwave oven
- electric food processor
- electric coffee maker
- DVD/ CD player
- wireless audio sender unit
- Cell phone charger
- iPod charger
- chargers for other portable devices
- docking stations for portable music players
Just unplug it
If there are items that don’t fall into these logical groups, then you may not need a separate power strip for them. You can simply unplug them. The power strip isn’t a substitute for the on off switch on many of these devices. The computer for example should always be shut down properly and completely before the power strip is used to cut power.
Reduce wasted electricity
It is estimated that thirty percent of the electricity used by such devices as an ordinary television set is used when the device is turned off. In part, that’s because it spends more hours per day in the off position drawing a reduced, but still significant amount of electricity. That’s not to say that your power usage will drop by 30 percent overall, but it will almost certainly be a noticeable difference in your electric bill each month, and a noticeable improvement in your carbon footprint.