Extension Lead Plugs

Are Your Plugged In Appliances Wasting Your Money?

It’s night time. You’re tucked up in bed. It’s dark, quiet and peaceful. But unbeknownst to you, vampire power is draining energy from all around your home. Sounds spooky!

Actually… it’s less exciting than it sounds. Vampire power is just a more interesting term for the power being used by your appliances when they are left on standby. And it’s not garlic or a wooden stake which will ward off this vampire, just some good habits to minimise your energy use.

Switching off and unplugging your appliances more often when they’re not in use will save you money on your energy bills – around £30 a year according to Energy Saving Trust. And if more and more people get on board with eliminating vampire power they won’t just save energy but the planet too!

The Main Culprits

Mobile Phone Charging On Wooden Table
TVs and computers left on standby use their fair share of vampire power. Even if you turn your TV off completely it springs to life pretty instantly when it’s switched back on and modern computers also start up quickly so it’s worth turning them off between uses. Feeling hot? Some of the energy these sleeping machines use is released as heat so not switching your appliances off on hot days will also make your home warmer. That means extra hard work for your fridge, freezer or air-con.

Appliances with brightly lit consoles like modern washing machines and tumble dryers are also power drainers. It’s the work of a moment to switch them off after each cycle.

Chargers for laptops, mobile phones, tablets, and even electric toothbrushes still use a little power when the device is fully charged and even when they’ve not got the device connected. Overcharging a rechargeable battery is really bad for it – over time it’ll get less efficient, eventually losing the ability charge altogether – so avoiding overcharging is win-win for your electronics and your energy use.

Ways To Save Energy

Unplugging appliances when you’re not using them is the most effective way to save energy.  But we know it can be inconvenient to go around switching everything off before you go to sleep in the evening or in the mornings before you head off to work (especially if you’re running late)! Extension leads make it easier to cut the power to your appliances.  It’s handy to be able to turn off multiple appliances at once and you can put the leads in easy to reach places too.

You can also save energy by charging smarter and maximise the life of your mobile or laptop battery at the same time. Charge your devices for a couple of hours in the evenings rather than overnight and unplug your chargers afterward.

When buying new appliances take energy usage into account when making your choice. A more energy-efficient machine may cost a little more to buy but will cost less to run over the course of its life so it may well work out cheaper overall. Look into standby power usage as well as the power the machine uses whilst it’s running.

What Not to Turn Off

Washing Up By Hand
Your fridge freezer is a no brainer, but there are a few other appliances that are best left on. Turning off your broadband router can have an impact on your internet speed so if your broadband provider advises you to leave your router on, do so. TVs, TV boxes or DVD players that have been set up to record shows or a movie need to be left switched on too. You don’t want to miss the big soap event of the year or the whodunit reveals on your favourite detective programme!

It’s probably more trouble than it’s worth to unplug appliances like ovens or digital clock radios that need the time resetting whenever they’re switched back on. It’s a pain enough having to do this if there’s a power cut or the clocks go back.

To make your home more energy-efficient and eco-friendly just ask yourself one question when you’ve finished using each appliance – does this need to stay on? If the answer’s no, you know what to do.

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  1. David Jackson

    on September 27, 2016 at 6:08 am - Reply

    Excellent article. Thank you.

    • Eleanor @ eSpares

      on September 27, 2016 at 7:56 am - Reply

      Glad you found it useful David. 🙂

  2. Norman

    on November 21, 2016 at 3:04 pm - Reply

    Thoroughly enjoyed the article. Informative and entertaining.

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