Unplug It And Save On Electric Bills

In Florida, electric bills run high, particularly in the summer. I save on my electric bill in two ways:

First, I hang my clothes to dry, only using my dryer to de-wrinkle the clothes. In this way, the dryer is on for only 20 minutes vs. over an hour.


Second, I unplug everything that is not being used: the microwave, the toasters, the hair dryer, the cell phone chargers, the computers, the washer and dryer.

Although it is minimal, these items still use electricity even when dormant. We probably save around $20 or more a month just by unplugging everything.

By combining these two methods, along with having cooler weather and being able to turn off our A/C, last month we had our lowest electric bill since moving into our house (which has vaulted ceilings) from an apartment. Contact your local electric company for more ideas on how to use less and save more--they are glad to help.

By Lynne from Orlando, FL

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By Ginnee (Guest Post)
February 7, 20090 found this helpful

Actually, only the items that have a time display or something similar save power when unplugged. The hairdryer and toaster and washer/dryer have no such display (at least mine don't) so there is no savings by unplugging them.


I do unplug my stereo, it has a display.

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February 7, 20090 found this helpful

good reminder ! thanks !
My friend & I were just disscussing this a couple days ago !
He & I are both on a company which we can prepay accounts & I get daily usage emails which I can see my households usage on a chart.
One day last month I used $9.55 worth of electricity!
Two days last month I used under $2 !
It's amazing to be able to watch the usage in this way.You might check your providers website to see if this option is available to you in your area.
When I noticed this, I first unplugged the coffee pot
which has the pretty lights & clock -- very wastefull even though "interesting".
Anything with lights especially in the family room,office,kitchen & bathroom I have normally left plugged in for convenience sake is using my prepaid electricity when no one at all (not even the cat) is using or enjoying it!


My friend mentioned that someone is planning to build ANOTHER nuke plant soon
to create electricity
(Nuclear power plants use nuclear fission to produce electricity)
so we as a country can be even MORE wastefull...
in turn adding to "global warming" (even if there are people who say it's a conspiracy) through the heat that creating the electricity puts off!
(then we wonder sometimes where our dollars go! sheesh!)
I'm going to remember today to UNPLUG all that I can that is not in use & not worry so much about being a little bit inconvenienced to have to plug it back in when I want to use something!
My friend also mentioned that we can't light our homes with LED even though all the little import toys & gadgets we buy have LED.
He pointed out that LED's last so much longer & take so much less to operate that THAT's why we can't do that!

Very good post Lynne from Orlando, FL !!!
I will pass this post on to my wise chum so maybe he would kindly eleaborate a little if he would!

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February 7, 20090 found this helpful

I forgot to mention my favorite electricity saver is to light candles for the "hot spots" in my home.
One on the kitchen stove at night I can see my sink &/or coffee maker
One in the bathroom sometimes a 3rd one in the front room.
3 votives is plenty for me to be able to see my way through the house.
It's a little awkward at first until you get used to it.
If you have kids this might not be a good idea unless they grasp the concept of HOT or BURN.


Also pets are sometimes too curious.
If that's the case then put a candle in a candle box so they can't touch the flame.
I got a really pretty one at a yard sale cheap that I sat a candle in in the basement last night seeing how my cat was undoubtedly going to become a victim trying to sniff it!
Your best bet is to stock up on after holiday or seasons end sale candles which I do regurally!
I have bought big candles for as much as 80% off.
I kicked around the idea of using luminescent or phosphorescent paints :
(like hiway paint but for walls or floors & possibly concrete or rocks to line my driveway or paths in the yard or garden!)

"One technique for reducing home energy use: Phosphorescent paint's active ingredient, strontium aluminate, has been tested repeatedly for environmental safety and found virtually nontoxic. The paint stores energy from light--either natural or artificial--and releases it when darkness falls, for up to 12 hours after significant light exposure."


If I find out a Brand Name that sells glow paint for household use or a method in which to achieve the effect - I will post it here !

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By tex (Guest Post)
February 7, 20090 found this helpful

I've seen some strange comments here...

Nuclear power plants do not contribute to global warming by "warming the air." Global warming is believed to be caused by greenhouse gases. Compared to coal power plants nuclear is very clean (provided a disaster does not occur, of course).

LED lights can be used to light homes. Almost every light in my home is currently LED. We can power 7 LED bulbs for the cost of a single tungsten. Cheaper LED bulbs last longer if not switched on and off often. This means leaving an outdoor LED light on all night long may be less expensive for you in the end than leaving a normal light on for several hours. There are a lot of variables. I use normal Phillips LEDs and they are resilient to being switched on and off several times a day. Not sure if they'll last the full seven years like this but they've made it over two.

Concerning the standby power usage (also known as vampire power or phantom load), amounts will vary. Anything that's warm when it is off is probably costing you at least $1 a month. If you really want to know, order the "kill-a-watt" (Amazon is one of many places you can buy them). For $20 you can measure the standby power in dollars and cents. You could also unplug everything in your home and read your electrical meter but that is going to be much more difficult.

Old electronics which aren't energy-star compliant may be costing you several dollars a month. My TV uses 10 cents a month. Not worth unplugging to me.

There are other considerations to be made in my opinion.

If you live in an older home, each time you unplug and re-plug you're slowly wearing out springs inside your electrical receptacle. Eventually that outlet will no longer hold a plug in place. This will lead to electrical "arching" and is one of the most common causes of electrical fires. It'll start with an outlet making a crackling sound and smoking.

Power strips which can be turned on and off should be employed instead. Of course, if you're using a $5 power strip, chances are you don't have the highest quality of switch in there. The advantage is that when a power strip starts to smoke you can unplug it- when the outlet itself starts to smoke you need to make your way to the circuit breaker and a fire extinguisher. You could purchase expensive power strips but those are more for people trying to save the environment than those trying to save money.

I cringe when people say they unplug their microwaves, kitchen, or bathroom appliances. All it's going to take is for someone who is careless or in a hurry to not completely dry their hands before plugging it in and suddenly their $1 to $5 a month savings is going to cost a life.

Even everyday household appliances can be dangerous. So much plugging and unplugging is bound to lead to a shock here and there.

Of course, if candle burning is preferred over LED lighting (cost around 20 cents per 100 hours), then I guess safety is already going out the window.

If you own a DVR or TiVO, feel how much heat is coming off of that when you're not watching TV! Of course, if you unplug that... well, your favorite shows won't record ;).

Some computers have switches in the back which completely cut power to them (they are usually labeled with a "1" and a "0"). Not pushbutton switches, but lever-type switches. No need to unplug if you use that. If you insist on cutting power to your inkjet printer, make sure the ink cartridge has sealed into its resting position before cutting the power or your ink will dry up quickly (most seal several minutes after printing has completed).

Regulations on standby power are getting stricter but this doesn't do you much good here and now. I'd suggest ordering the kill-a-watt or a similar power meter so you can determine which devices really NEED to be unplugged or switched. This will lower the chance of accident and save you money.

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February 7, 20090 found this helpful

I'd like to offer this cooling tip for emergencies. When the weather turns hot, fill empty pop liter bottles about 2/3 full and pop into freezer.Keep as many as you have room for. If you electricity goes out, they will stay frozen a while. Wrap bottle with frozen water in a light tee shirt and put next to your abdomen and it will cool you greatly during a heat wave. Works like a hot water bottle, only in reverse. It feels good to sleep with one next to your abdomen as well. If heat wave and electricity remains off, you can always dress lightly and step into shower and get thoroughly wet. Until you are dry, air on the dampness will make you feel cooler. If your head feels hot, pour water on yourself, head and all. Don't worry how you look. Heat stroke is serious as we all know. I tried all of these things one unusually hot summer when our air conditioner was barely functional.

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February 7, 20090 found this helpful

this is the least expensive glow paint i could find
there are also glow tapes,glow paper,glow rocks for the garden or houseplants.All sorts of wonderful novelty items & household items.You could also do a search for safety paint or tapes
I am almost sure I will order some glo-tape from the tape depot
but i would very much like to find a roll of glow paper that I can cut my own shapes from.
Anything you can illuminate with the application of paint or paper to be able to see it at night is a plus & saves from switching on lights & possibly disturbing others in the house while doing so.
Here's the link to the Economy Green
1/2 Fl. Oz. - $9.98
1/2 Pint - $46.98
1 Quart - $139.98
1 Gallon - $415.98
5 Gallons - $1,580.98

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By Ginnee (Guest Post)
February 8, 20090 found this helpful

I don't know much about LED lighting, would like to know more. I do know it saves electricity but the bulbs are very expensive. CFLs are unsafe in my opinion... the mercury contained in them which will end up in our environment, is not worth the energy saved. A broken bulb is difficult to clean up safely. Until LEDs are cheaper, I will keep using incandescents until they are phased out, starting with 100 watt bulbs in 2012.

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February 10, 20090 found this helpful

Atmospheric Heating from Electric Power Plants
(very interesting & informative article)
gases are ranked by their contribution to the greenhouse effect, the most important are:
water vapor,
which contributes 3670%

& the wind doesn't always carry this steam heated air off fast enough.
carbon dioxide, which contributes 926%
methane, which contributes 49%
ozone, which contributes 37%
The major non-gas contributor to the Earth's greenhouse effect, clouds, also absorb and emit infrared radiation and thus have an effect on radiative properties of the greenhouse gases
Glad I could help ;)
about my friends LED "thing"
I will make him lick my boots.

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July 7, 20090 found this helpful

I unplug certain things, such as my coffee maker. I had one go up on fire and melt in on itself in less then a minute and I was in the room when it happened. Thank God. I was just about to go in the shower. Now mind you it was not on, JUST plugged in.

My tip to save money on the electric here in Good Old Florida is to use an electric skillet, a toaster over, a Nuwave etc. instead of turning on the 220 stove/oven. This sucks up electric just like your Dryer does. I also only run my dryer on off peak hours like when I do sheets and towels. I do it late in the evening and I have noticed lower bills this year. Every little bit helps.

ps. Someone mentioned an accident waiting to happen on all the plugging and unplugging. I did it with the darn coffee machine cause I keep it unplugged now. With a big fat wet hand I grabbed the plug and plugged it in. Lucky for me nothing happened. I couldn't believe how foolish I was. I was so upset with myself that morning. So Ladies be careful with those plugs.

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July 8, 20090 found this helpful

I also flip the switch on my water heater for the day. I don't use any hot water and when I do there's enough for anything that I might want. It's summer and the water heater is completely insulated with extra insulation around it.

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July 8, 20090 found this helpful

Get a copy of Time Magazine dated Jan of 2009. There is an article on all the energy we waste each day in the USA, enough to power the entire country of Japan (day)! We pay for this energy on our bills, and in terms of pollution et. We don't need to build more power plants either! Just use the energy we have generated more wisely, and we can stop building more plants and close some of the dirty, and dangerous ones like old nuclear plants. For a better understanding go to to see how this works. Also if you have smart meters through your electric company, get one. You can buy energy off peak when it's much cheaper. Plus with an energy storage system like Mr. Electricity you can purchase and "store" your energy while it's cheapest, for use the next day when costs are much higher, saving even more money. See if dual rates, or smart meters are offered by your electric company, then do the math to see what you will save.

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July 8, 20090 found this helpful

Yes, you're right! When my dryer went out I couldn't believe how much money I started saving by not running it & hanging my clothes to dry! Also, don't heat up the oven for small things, instead by a cheapie toaster oven to use instead. It'll pay for itself in no time! I once lived in a house with huge vaulted ceilings. When we installed a ceiling fan it made a BIG difference!

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July 8, 20090 found this helpful

I live in hot Northern Ca. We mostly use swap coolers here..I know you can't do that in humid areas. They don't work. But one thing you can do besides unplug everything, except for essentials, fridge, etc. I just don't turn on any lights. ANY. except task lighting. when I am finished, I turn it off. I know my way around in my own house and get by using the ambient light from the TV, When I go from room to room, it is dark, but I know where the light source is. I turn it on, then when I"m through I turn it off. Night lights in strategic areas are a help. I just go around in the dark. But if you have babies. That's not good. My elec. bill is about $20.oo a month. It takes getting used to, but it pays off in the end. Everyone thinks they have to be surrounded by light. Not so. It can be fun! just don't step on the cat.

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July 9, 20090 found this helpful

Hey Tex, where can I get led lites for my house?

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July 9, 20090 found this helpful

We already protect many of our electric and electronic items using surge suppressors. If outlets are difficult to reach, or if several "energy vampires" are using one surge suppressor, I simply turn off power to the surge suppressor.

I unplug what I can reach, and use the surge suppressor switch for at least some others. I only leave power running to things I can't reach, and one or two items that need a continuous power supply. In these tough economic and energy-conscious times, every little bit helps! JustPlainJo, Ohio

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September 24, 20120 found this helpful

Please be so kind to explain exactly how ones hair drier uses power when being plugged in but not turned on? I could understand if they we power with a wall wort, or had an led light on them or they had a timer or transformer.

If you want to save electricity even more put you hot water heater on a timer. Set it to turn off when you are gone or late at night when you are sleeping. You would be amazed how much electricity you can save by doing just this one thing.

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