4 Energy Sucking Electronic Devices You'll Want to Keep Off or Unplugged

Living in a 1930's building, it's obvious the era of "plug in everything" is a very recent change in lifestyle. And although our modest one-bedroom apartment isn't a big energy hog (modest refrigerator, window AC, gas heater, and LED/CFL bulbs throughout), there are always a few more ways to nip and tuck at the monthly energy bill...

A great money saving guide post over by Lifehacker's Adam Daschis spells out the usual culprits you'll want to keep an eye out on for runaway energy use: central air and heating, laundry washer and dryers, dishwashers. But guess what? I bet there are plenty of you out there like myself who live without any of these modern day conveniences because you live in an older house or apartment. I'd LOVE the option to minimize energy use of my own washer and dryer instead of relying upon the local laundromat...but that's another topic altogether.

What's applicable to my life are the cumulative energy requirements of smaller appliances/electronic devices of modern convenience and entertainment; together, these devices help make up about 17% of the energy used in the average American household. And amongst this category are four energy hogs we should all look out for:

  • Modern video game systems (e.g. Xbox 360, PS3)
  • Electric kettles
  • Always-on desktop computers
  • Television sets (especially plasma-based displays)

"The easiest solution? Stick everything you can on a power strip and turn off the power strip. Chances are you have a few of those around the house already so you won't need to buy them. In the case of computers, even letting them sleep can draw a decent amount of power, so you should shut them off completely. To avoid the nuisance of turning them on and off, simply schedule your startup and shutdown times so the computer handles the task automatically."

In other words, if it doesn't need to be used often and instantaneously, avoid standby modes and keep these devices turned off (but not my TIVO...gotta get my Boardwalk Empire and The Walking Dead episodes recorded!).

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Another idea is to use one of these Belkin WeMo app controlled switches, which can help automate some of the plugged-in device energy use management with the option for programming pre-defined actions (e.g. motion sensor activates light when you walk in, turns it off after 15 minutes without any activity within the room; after 2pm, device is programmed to turn off your HDTV because you recognize you often fall asleep at the couch while watching late night TV, etc). The WeMo lets me turn off lights and window AC from afar, perfect for the chronic "oops, I forgot to turn off the ____ before I left" types.

More at Lifehacker's: How to Reduce Your Energy Bill with No Cost or Sacrifice

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