General Question

osakarob's avatar

Leaving town for 7 weeks. Should I really unplug all my appliances?

Asked by osakarob (1304points) June 30th, 2007

I will be returning to the US for an 7 week long vacation. I am wondering if I should unplug all of my appliances. My friend says "absolutely". Will it really save that much energy?

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8 Answers

occ's avatar

Yes. I work for an environmental organization nd we recommend that people unplug their appliances when not in use. Appliances continue to suck energy even when they are off. For example, if you leave your cellphone charger plugged in when it is not charging your phone, it is still apparently using trace amounts of energy. The bigger offenders are the appliances that have a digital display (i.e. the clock on your microwave) because that is using energy to display the time, light, etc. I can't say you'll see a substantial difference in your energy bill, but it just takes a minute to unplug everything and it does make a small difference if you're out of town for 7 weeks. The most important thing is to turn off your air conditioner since that uses a ton of energy and you won't need it if you're gone. For the future, an easy way to do this is to plug appliances, computer, etc, into a power strip and then you can simply switch off the power strip when not in use, without having to unplug and replug everything.

occ's avatar

and btw--here's an article with more stats on this topic...given the number of appliances we all have (and most are left plugged in 24 hours a day) it really adds up -- apparently Americans waste $4 billion a year on electricity costs for appliances that are not in use, and experts have estimated that up to 5% of our energy needs goes to appliances that are not in use. That number seems very high to me, but even if it were only 1%, the idea is the same: the little things add up.

Perchik's avatar

well occ beat me to it.....YES

gailcalled's avatar

Also, if you own your own home, throw switch that heats water; when you get home, you will be mildly inconvenienced for a while until hot water tank heats up.

archer's avatar

all good advice, but be sure to leave the refrigerator running and well stocked with quality beer, unplug your alarm system, and post your address here just prior to departure.

girlfriday's avatar

hey guys, i have another question about this. i understand that plugged-in appliances suck energy, even if it's small, and it could save a bit on the energy bill, but i'm confused as to whether this actually saves energy. how do energy grids actually work? i thought that once a certain amount of energy was thrown to a grid, it was gone, whether or not the population used it... is that true?

occ's avatar

Hi girlfriday, that's a good question. At the very least, it reduces the demand for new powerplants from being built. Right now there is a new "coal rush" of the big coal companies trying to push through permits for over 100 new polluting coal-fired dirty power would drastically increase the U.S.' global warming pollution...the companies are getting away with it because they are citing an increase in needs for new power. But in cities that have encouraged massive efficiency measures (incentives to buy energy efficient air conditioners, and education campaigns to get people to reduce energy use at home) they have been able to reduce demand so much that they have avoided building a new power plant. I've heard that Austin managed to do this...
Not sure if that answers your question, but at least it shows one of the benefits of saving energy...

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