By Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Unplug_when_not_in_useDid you know that 40%-75% of energy in households is consumed by electronics that are turned off but plugged in? The energy consumed is often referred to as “phantom power.”

Reduce your energy bill and environmental footprint by unplugging electrical appliances and electronic equipment when they are not in use. That means toasters, blenders, computers, lights, entertainment centers, cell phone chargers, game console charges, etc.

Some may draw only very, very little and as to some of them which are often listed, such as toasters, blender, lights and some others, I wonder whether they draw really any current wend not in use.

If you have dimmer lights, aka dimmer switches, by the way, fitted in your home please note that they take a fair bit of current when not in use. When they are in use and you dim the lights, while you may think that you save because you have less output from the bulbs you do not. You use more power even than the lights would use on their own. The electronics in those switches eats a load of current.

To make it easy on yourself plug computers and entertainment centers into power strips. That way all you have to do is turn off the power strip.

The worst culprit is your cell phone charger. It consumes energy whether your cell phone is plugged in to it or not.

You can save from 40% to 75% on your energy bill just by unplugging.

So save energy, money and reduce your environmental footprint - just unplug.

One warning... if you use a monitor, and obviously with a PC and such you do, turn off the monitor physically on it's own power button prior to turning off its power supply. The on/off spikes can cause damage to the monitor's internal chip and cause it to malfunction. This has happened to me with the use of the “Bye, Bye, Standby” remote controlled switching units.

On the other hand, I am using an Intellipanel on one computer set up, and that one seems to work well that way (fingers crossed – I hope I haven't just jinxed things).

The Intellipanel system senses when the PC has shut down and then shuts down the power to all peripherals, that is to say, monitor, external drives, printers, etc.

For your cell phone charger you can now get a plug in socket from SavaSocket that turns off the charger as soon as it senses that the phone is fully charged. This should save you a small packet if you plug your cell phone in on a daily basis to charge; something that I do not have to do, luckily.

In the UK we are, theoretically, lucky for our sockets, our wall outlets, are fitted with individual switches and thus we can, if we can be bothered, and bothered we should be, turn each outlet off one by one. We don't, therefore, have to pull the plugs out each and every time and still people don't so it.

Very much in the same way that laziness – or a non-caring attitude – is the cause for the majority of office buildings having their lights on in nearly all the offices all night and every night, even if no one is anywhere in those places.

The skyline of London (and other towns and cities) is permanently lit up at night with the majority of all office blocks and whatever else having most of the lights on, and that even on a weekend night when no one is in those offices. And if someone is in the building they are hardly in all those offices at the same time.

Could the last person to leave please turn off the building...

© 2011