Are power vampires sucking electricity through your electric meter?
The answer is yes if you have any of the following: Remote control, cell phone charger, instant-on TV, cordless phone, VCR or phone answering machine
Most electronic appliances use power while the off button is pushed. These small power thieves are costly because there are so many of them taking power all the time. They use power 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
So what do you look for?
Look for anything that has a digital display or a remote control. Look for anything that has and adapter that is plugged in to a wall outlet.
Perhaps the most common item is the cell phone charger. A “wall cube” plugs into an outlet. A small power cord plugs into your cell phone. Most of us leave these wall warts plugged in all day. They use power even when your cell phone is in your pocket.
Here is a list of items that use power all the time: Microwave ovens, coffee makers, stereos, video game consoles, satellite TV receiver, cable TV converter, cable telephone modem, internet cable modem, computers, printers, monitors, garage door opener, electric can opener, electric toothbrush, rechargeable screwdriver, bread maker, security system
What can you do?
Some items, like your security system must stay on all the time. Plus you do not want to “unplug” items that need to be programmed when the power is restored. You can save on your electric bill by unplugging the wall wart when you take your cell phone with you.
An example of a way to save is the power strip on my computer table. Everything at my home computer workstation plugs into it. When I am done with the computer, I flip one switch on the power strip. When I flip that switch I cut my computer, monitor, printer, scanner, and cable modem off from the electric meter.
Another example is some folks plug all their TV equipment into an outlet that they control with a wall switch. Folks usually use wall switch controlled outlets for lamps. It is OK to take control of your entertainment center this way. Leave your VCR plugged into a live outlet so you do not need to reset the clock when you want to record a TV show.
Some big screen TV sets use more stand-by power, than your refrigerator.
The problem of phantom power loads is even bigger at work.
The idle power load in most offices is as much as 40% of the power used when producing at full capacity.
After you go home for the day power is used by the following: Copy machines, dust collectors, fax machines, hydraulic power units, electronic scoreboards, welding machines, drinking fountains and many many more.
How would management react if your production line made scrap while it was scheduled down for a shift?
A similar waste of resources happens when someone leaves equipment running that should be off.
We can improve our energy productivity by powering down everything we can when the job is down.
When you finish the job, at work or at home, don’t leave the electric meter running.
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