Modern electronic devices are continuously at work, even after you shut them off. As long as they’re plugged in, they’re drawing power in order to connect to remote servers, receive updates, and run background applications. 

Because they’re programmed to respond instantly to signals from remotes, keyboards, and touchscreens, they don’t fully power down. Instead, they enter standby mode, which requires them to continually draw a small amount of power.

Experts refer to these types of devices as “energy vampires,” and the average family has about 40 of them in their home. Roughly twenty percent of your energy bill is spent powering them. For most homes, that comes out to almost $300 a year. 

These devices aren’t only a financial drain. They contribute enormously to CO2 emissions as well. The National Day of Unplugging was created partially in response to these burdens. It’s observed in the first weekend of March (March 4-5, 2022), from sundown to sundown. 

Participants spend 24 hours unplugged from their technology. It’s a chance to reduce your carbon footprint and establish a healthier relationship with your electronic devices. 

Six Ways to Unplug

If you’re interested in taking part in the National Day of Unplugging, your energy vampires are a great way to start. Look around your house. You’ll generally find them lurking in one of six rooms.

  1. Living Room. On standby, a plasma TV uses around 1400 kilowatts (kWh) per year. LCD and LED televisions use less, but still around 1.3 watts every hour, which adds up over the course of a year. DVD players, DVRs, cable boxes, streaming devices, and gaming consoles can suck up an additional 500 kWh every year.
  2. Home Office. Personal computers consume energy almost constantly, but so do monitors and wireless routers. Fax machines are even worse, using almost as much energy in standby mode as they do when fully powered.
  3. Bedroom. Many people enjoy watching TV in bed, as well as playing on their smartphones or tablets. These devices are continuously processing data, even when the apps are closed. However, few realize that their alarm clocks, space heaters, and air conditioners (anything with an LED display) also drain energy when not in use.
  4. Kitchen. Refrigerators can’t be unplugged, so your kitchen will always be a little higher than the other rooms in your house. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t steps you can take. Unplug your coffee maker, toaster oven, and microwave. They use more energy powering their LED displays than they do making food.
  5. Garage. Don’t leave cordless power tools plugged in. As long as they’re connected to an outlet, they’ll continue drawing energy even if they’re fully charged. 
  6. Bathroom. Leaving your electric toothbrushes and razors plugged in means they’re continually draining energy.