Unplugged: Benefits of unplugging your appliances

If you're like most people, you use all kinds of household appliances from computers and televisions to coffeemakers, phones and toasters. But do you unplug your appliances when you're done with them?

Many of you are probably nodding your head when it comes to your toaster, but what about lamps, DVD players and computers? They can all take up quite a bit of energy even when they're not being used.

Sarah Carr, a Fayetteville mom of two, always tries to keep her appliances unplugged.

"I unplug my microwave, my toaster, my coffeemaker, anything that's using electricity throughout the day," Carr told CNY Central by phone today. "I only plug it in when I use it."

Carr doesn't see big savings on her energy bill. She does it to be environmentally conscious. "I just do it more for the saving of electricity...I do it because I feel like anything we can do to save electricity and help the environment, is a good thing to do."

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, appliances account for about 9-percent of the average energy bill. Computers and other electronics account for another 9-percent.

The Energy Department says appliances will still draw a small amount of power even when they're switched off. These "phantom" loads, as they're referred to, can happen in most appliances that use electricity, including VCRs, DVD players, televisions, stereos, computers and kitchen appliances. Read more about when to turn off your computer.

To avoid this, make sure to unplug the appliances or plug them into a power strip and simply turn off that power strip when you're not using the appliances.

Click here to see how much energy certain appliances in your house use.

Here are some other tips to save electricity and money on your energy bill:

-- Look for ENERGY STAR labeled office products, which use about half the electricity of standard equipment

-- Consider buying a laptop for your next computer upgrade; they use much less energy than desktop computers

-- Unplug battery chargers when the batteries are fully charged or the chargers are not in use

Click here to read more tips to cut the amount of electricity you use.

To find out where you spend the most energy in your house, get a home energy audit.

Here's what some of you are saying on CNY Central's Facebook page:

Cami Flage: "i unplug all that isn't used on a regular basis, the power strip to computer every nite, coffee maker, toaster, elec. can opener, paper shredder after each use. yes elec. bill went down noticeably."

Maureen Soutar: "...a timer on your hot water tank helps alot too. If noone is home during the day why have it on."

Do you unplug your appliances when you're not using them? If so, which ones? Why do you do it? Do you see savings on your bill? Do you think it's a waste of time? Leave your thoughts below.

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