Our homes are filled with all sorts of electrical appliances and devices. Which of those devices are naughty and which ones are nice, though? That is to say, what devices are more energy efficient and which ones are getting lumps of extra coal in their stockings? We’ll give you a quick rundown of how to figure out what your electronics are consuming and tips on how to cut back on that amount.
One way to figure out the energy consumption of your home electronics is to check out their Energy Guide label. Not all electronics carry this label, but those that do will give you an estimated yearly operating cost and energy consumption. The rate may vary depending on your electricity provider and the electricity plan you have, and the energy consumption will vary based on your usage of the product.
Other, more involved ways to track energy usage are to use an ammeter, which plugs into the wall and the electronic device (or power strip of electronic devices) is plugged into the ammeter. The ammeter will track the amount of energy being consumed, both while the device is powered up and while it is “off.” We’ll discuss that more in depth in a bit. For whole-house monitoring, there are monitor kits that hook up to the main lines at your fuse box and they often come with software to keep a history and projection of energy use.
Going off the Energy Guide method (or if you can find the wattage on the device itself, usually on the serial number plate on the back or bottom), you can find out the amount of energy consumed by keeping a log of how often and for how long an electronic device is used. Say, for example, you use your television 4 hours per day for five days and 6 hours a day for two days each week. That comes to 32 hours per week. An average LCD television consuming about 176 watts per hour would use 5632 watts every week, or 22,528 per month, or 270,336 per year. That’s about 270.3 kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy. At $0.10 per kWh, you’d pay just over $27 to run that TV every year. Doesn’t seem so bad, does it? But when you add in the DVD player, the computer, the Xbox or Playstation, all of your phone and tablet chargers, and even your bedside alarm clock, it adds up quick.
But it doesn’t stop there. Remember when we mentioned that an ammeter measures the power consumption for a device that is off? Just because the device is off doesn’t mean it’s not consuming electricity. The fact is, every electronic device consumes some power while in an off state. This is known as the “vampire effect” or “phantom load.” The only way to stop this energy sucking problem is to unplug the device completely. Better yet, if you have a lot of electronics in your entertainment center, plugging all of them into a power strip and turning off the power strip will save you from having to unplug all those wires while still stopping the loss of energy.
Using the Energy Guide label or an ammeter can help you find out which electronics are on the naughty list, giving you an idea of which ones to unplug and cut back usage on. As electronics advance, they become more energy efficient, and electronics with an Energy Star certification are 20-30% more efficient than similar, uncertified electronics. When shopping for the people on your own nice list, look for more energy efficient versions of gadgets if you plan to get any this year.
About Us: Source Power & Gas LLC is one of the fastest growing retail energy suppliers in Texas. Selling electricity to customers in deregulated markets across the state, SPG Energy takes pride in providing unparalleled customer service paired with information to enhance consumer knowledge. Learn more about us by visiting www.SPGEnergy.com or by following us on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.