How to Save Electricity and Money on Turned-Off Plugged-In Appliances

kettle on stove

A few years ago I was really focused on saving money (what is new…ha!) and was researching appliances that are taking energy while you think they are turned off. With Christmas soon approaching, I started googling up “money saving devices for saving money on electricity” and found some cool articles on what other people were using to save money. However, I didn't find many people that were walking through their house and actually checking appliances that were using energy when they didn't even notice it.

electricity usage monitor

So, for after finding some cool money saving devices on Amazon I decided to add the Ensupra Electricity Usage Monitor to my Christmas wishlist! Low and behold, Aaron and I exchanged Christmas presents, and he happened to get this little device for me! Thanks, Aaron!

When I got it I was super excited! “Now I can track down my electricity guzzling appliances and save my family boat loads of money” I thought. I went around a found a number of devices that were using a lot of energy that I wouldn't have expected. This included:

  • Microwave
  • Vacuum
  • Home Desktop PC
  • Fan

turned off appliances cost

With this device, I was able to determine just how much money each device was costing me per kWh (with Nebraska's average price being $0.09/kWh). It helped me make a really compelling case to get rid of appliances, replace them with energy efficient appliances, or just reduce the usage of certain appliances.

Fast forward three or four years since I got the electricity usage monitor, and I decided to dig it out of storage. I was interested to see what appliances were using energy while I slept and thought were “off”. With my monitor in hand, I walked around my housing hunting down those appliances. As a result, I produced this YouTube video:

Wow!! I was really amazed at appliances that I thought would be using energy and weren't. Then I was even more amazed at the sneaky appliances that were stealing money from me when I didn't even know it! Ugh!

Have you done a similar type experiment? Do you know your top energy consuming appliances?

With my data in hand, I decided to do something about it! I couldn't just stand by and let these appliances belkin consere energy power saving switchsteal my hard earned cash and drive up my fixed expenses. As a result, I utilized a few of my Belkin Conserve Energy Saving Power Switches, and cap the appliances there were using energy when they were technically turned off. This way I could help control my electric expenses a little more and save money month over month.

I'd be interested if you've tried a similar type experiment? Have you researched money saving electric devices? What are you using to cap your electricity costs? I'd like to hear your ideas!

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  1. Before anyone goes out and buys these Belkin caps, please run the math for yourself. In Charlie’s example, the 17.2 W of power from unused electronics works out to 0.4128 kWh per day. At a rate of $.09/kWh, that’s 3.7 cents per day, or $13.56 per year for the three appliances. If you purchased 3 of these for those appliances, it’s going to take 2.2 years before you break even. And that doesn’t include the cost of the tester.

    You’re probably better off just unplugging the appliances.

    • Badier – thanks for taking a stab at the cost benefits. That definitely does need to be weighed. However, as home automation goes comes along and energy saving caps become cheaper and cheaper, I can foresee that this is a realistic way to save money over the long term. Also, I failed to mention that I live in the #9 cheapest state to buy power, so my crossover point to save money would take more time or more unused devices sucking power. If you live in Hawaii, then they pay 31cents per kWh, which would easily pay for itself in a year.

      My prediction is that home automation will eventually automate all of our savings on electricity as we will have some centralized device to control on/off our unused appliances. I hope others can see the benefit of looking at what appliances are costing you when you didn’t even know it.

      Thanks for the comment! Keep’em coming!

  2. Oh man, I didn’t know those electricity caps existed! I know that plugged-in appliances do suck energy, but for most of us it’s about finding the tradeoff with convenience vs. money for plugging in the coffee maker every time you want to use it.

    • Ya…they even sell wirelessly controlled caps, so you can automate all of your energy savings.

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