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Saving money can be as easy as pulling the plug

August 24, 2012
By JACKIE STARK - Journal Staff Writer ( , The Mining Journal

MARQUETTE - As area residents lay their heads down to sleep after a long day, they may be using electricity in their home without even knowing it.

Because, with most modern appliances, just because they're turned off, or on standby mode, doesn't mean they're not using power.

The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science national lab, has compiled a list of some of the worst offenders, and a few may come as a surprise.

Article Photos

Consumers may be surprised by how much money can be saved each year by pulling plugs out of outlets, even if the equipment is turned off. (Journal file photo)

Your DVD/VCR player if left on, sucks 7.54 extra watts of electricity on average every year, and even uses 1.55 watts on average when it's turned off.

Game consoles, such as an X-Box or Playstation, come at one of the highest idle costs. If left on, they will continue to use an average of 13.51 watts. If turned off, they will still use 5.04 watts.

Laptop computers also eat away plenty of electricity, no matter what they're being used for. Notebook computers that are on and fully charged use an average of 29.48 watts. If they're charging, they use a whopping average of 44.28 watts. If left on sleep mode, they use 15.77 watts on average, and even when they're turned off, they're still using 8.9 watts on average annually.

One of the more obvious offenders is the cable or satellite box with DVR capabilities sitting next to your television. Because these machines are most likely never turned all the way off - as they need to constantly update their programming and be able to record TV in real time - they are always using energy.

A digital cable box with DVR uses only 1 watt less when it's turned off than when it's turned on, with a total average watt use of 44.46 when it's off.

A satellite box with DVR uses 27.8 watts on average when it's off.

And televisions themselves come at a decent cost, with a rear-projection television using an average of 6.6 watts of electricity when it's turned off.

Each watt equates to about $1 of electricity costs per year.

One way to combat these vampire electricity users is to simply unplug them when not in use. However, to prevent frayed cords or loose outlet covers from appearing because of constant plugging and unplugging of cords, try buying an energy-saving power strip, which is designed to cut power to devices when they don't need it.

Consumers are also advised to buy smaller TV sets. The smaller the screen, the less electricity is needed to run it.

Jackie Stark can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242.



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