Five Percent of U.S. Electricity Wasted By "Vampire" Electronics
You may not know it, but your electronics use electricity even when they're "off." Most home electronics, including your microwave, TV, and DVD player, continue to consume small amounts of power even after you're done using them. Why? Because rather than switch off all electronic circuits, gadgets and devices often switch into "standby" mode.
This small amount of power adds up over time. It's estimated that five percent of all electricity in the United States is wasted powering devices that are not in use, and that figure could rise to 20 percent by 2010, according to the Department of Energy.
California, which is usually at the forefront of conservation efforts, passed the Vampire Slayers Act last year, which requires that electronics have a tag detailing the amount of energy used not only during normal use, but also in standby mode, as well as when turned off.
Even chargers, such as those for cell phones, are a major drain on the system. They use up a trickle of energy after the phone is completely charged, or even if the phone is disconnected.
You can avoid adding to the problem with some simple tips:
- Unplug any devices you can when not in use. If you're done charging your phone, don't simply disconnect the phone, but unplug the charger completely. The same goes for laptops, electric razors and toothbrushes. When you're done watching TV, unplug the set from the wall.
- Utilize power strips. Plug your home entertainment system, as well as your computer, monitor and other peripherals into power strips or surge protectors so that you can easily shut off the whole set up when you're done. You can try "Smart" power strips, which shut off automatically if a device isn't on for a certain period of time, as well as shut off, say, all your peripherals if you turn off your computer. (That said, make sure to keep your cable box plugged in to a separate, always-on power strip, since the cable box often de-authorizes itself if left unplugged for too long.)
- Look for the Energy Star logo. The government backed program rates electronics on energy efficiency. Looking for electronics with the highest Energy Star rating possible will guarantee you waste as little electricity as possible.
Vampire electronics not only drive up your electricity bill, but also drive up the price of energy in general and pollute our environment. These tips along with switching your light bulbs to compact fluorescent bulbs will make sure you contribute as little as possible to global warming.
From AOL News (AP)
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