Does Unplugging Appliances Save Electricity?

Our homes are filled with electrical appliances, from the ubiquitous refrigerator and television to the occasional coffee maker left on standby. While some diligently unplug their devices, swearing by the energy savings and safety benefits, others consider it a mere myth or an inconvenient chore. But as we grapple with pressing environmental concerns and soaring energy bills, the question looms larger: does unplugging appliances genuinely lead to energy conservation?

In this Redfin article, we’ll dive into the science behind phantom energy consumption, debunking myths, and demystifying the real impact on our planet and pockets. So whether you own a home in Los Angeles or rent an apartment in Phoenix, keep reading to learn if unplugging appliances really saves electricity. 

What is phantom energy consumption? 

Phantom energy consumption, often referred to as “vampire power” or “standby power,” describes the energy that devices and appliances use when they are turned off but still plugged into an electrical outlet. Even though these devices may appear inactive, they often remain in a state that allows them to respond to remote controls or maintain digital clocks and timers. 

Over time, this seemingly negligible energy use can accumulate, leading to unnecessary electricity costs and contributing to environmental impacts associated with power production.

How phantom energy impacts energy bills

To comprehend the impact of phantom energy consumption on our energy bills, it’s important to consider the cumulative effect of multiple devices over time. While individual devices may use minimal power in standby mode, the cumulative effect across numerous appliances and electronics in a home can lead to significant costs. For example, chargers left plugged in, televisions on standby, and digital clocks on microwaves, among others, can collectively add up.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, standby power can account for up to 10% of an…

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