Save Money and Energy: Electronics

By: Contributor Last Updated: August 28, 2011

If you live in a typical American home, chances are your appliances and home electronics are responsible for about 20 percent of your energy bills. Here are some ways you can reduce electricity use in your home and save money.

High Energy Appliances
The following is a list of appliances that generally use up a lot of electricity. Please note this list is not exhaustive

  • Washers and dryers
  • Dishwashers
  • Refrigerator and freezer
  • Room air conditioners
  • Water heaters
  • Computers
  • Home audio equipment(speakers, stereo system)
  • Televisions
  • Video players and VCRs

While you can’t do a lot about the energy consumption of some of these appliances, such as your refrigerator, you can do something about how much energy you use with your other appliances.

Power-Controlling Devices
Appliances older than 1990 use more electricity than newer appliances. If you have an old appliance in your home, you can easily reduce the amount of electricity it uses by installing a power-controlling device, which applies and regulates the correct amount of power to the appliance’s motor. For more information, visit

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Turn off Your Computer
Computers eat up a lot of energy when they are left on for long periods of time, such as overnight. Most computers have a feature known as sleep mode, which consumes less energy if your computer is on– but you should still shutdown your computer if you’re not going to use it for more than two hours.

Reduce Standby Power
Many appliances use electricity even when they’re turned off; that electricity is known as standby power. While this power is necessary for some appliances, like your refrigerator, it can add up on your energy bill. A simple fix is unplugging those appliances you don’t use often, such as your VCR or printer. You can also plug a group of appliances into a power strip –this reduces the electricity they draw from using many outlets at once. An example would be grouping your computer, monitor, printer and speakers. Look for other ways to save on your energy bill with our Live Well, Work Well series on saving money and energy.

Did You Know...?
While unplugging your appliances saves on standby power, plug things you use all the time into a power strip. Frequent plugging and unplugging can cause frayed wires and plugs, which poses an electrocution risk.