Part of a post on Dollar Stretcher Community called Conserving our budgets reminded me of some research I'd done in the past about "leaking electricity," or appliances that use electricity constantly, whether they're "on" or not.
Any electronic device or appliance with an "instant-on" feature (most have this now), uses a trickle of electricity all of the time that it's plugged in. TV's, answering machines, cordless phones and microwaves are good examples of this. Other electronic appliances that are rechargeable are often made to be left on the charging transformer between uses, which constantly draw a trickle of electricity.
According to American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, the average American household pays 5% of its electricity bill for these phantom loads.
I've found that the best way to minimize this waste is to put appliances on power strips with an on/off switch. If you can put several of them on one strip, you can turn them all off at once. Since it can be a problem to get to some wiring, using a power strip also simplifies that problem.
After I did the research, I walked around my home counting instances of wasted electricity and, to tell the truth, I was ashamed at what I found. Today, I repeated the exercise and found that I'd become lax about it, so it's off to the store for another power strip and a little rearranging of some electronics.
Power strips are not expensive so it won't take long to recoup the cost. With summertime coming on, when electricity use usually rises, I'm all for saving wherever I can.