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Does Unplugging Appliances Really Save Money?

A group of appliances sit on a counter.
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There’s never a bad time to save money, but right now seems like a particularly good time to do so. Keeping your appliances unplugged is one easy trick you might have heard, but does it work?

While it might be shocking, unplugging your appliances and electronics can actually save you some cash. As a bonus, it takes very little effort to do.

But if you always turn your appliances, electronics, and devices off, why does unplugging matter?

It’s due to standby power, which is also referred to as phantom or vampire power. It’s the energy that’s used while devices aren’t in use, because, yes, they are still pulling power, even if it is less.

Amazon Basics 6-Outlet, 200 Joule Surge Protector Power Strip

Make unplugging easy by pulling the plug on this power strip.

Overall, standby power is responsible for 5% to 10% of your electric bill. With energy prices where they are, that’s not an amount to balk at. When you cut that out by unplugging your appliances and electronics, you can save up to $100 per year.

Some devices are a bit guiltier than others in pulling excess power. Appliances or electronics with lights that indicate it is turned off, computers in sleep mode, chargers, and smart home devices with always-on displays are all pulling a bit more power than your blender or toaster oven.

If you’ve been looking for a way to save money, unplugging electronics and appliances might be a great way to make a subtle difference.

Shea Simmons Shea Simmons
Shea Simmons is an Atlanta-based writer who has written about everything from whether Crisco is a good moisturizer to how to KonMari your space. Her work has appeared in Bustle, My First Apartment, and Make It Grateful. Read Full Bio »
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