Did you know that if your TV, computer and other appliances are plugged in, they are quietly draining electricity – all day, every day – even when they are turned off? Electric power consumed by products when they are switched off or in a standby mode is known as standby power. While it may not be readily noticed, standby power is a big issue. It accounts for 5 percent to 10 percent of residential energy use, and could cost the average U.S. household as much as $100 per year.

Here are three easy tips that you can take action on right now to reduce your standby power loads and save money.:

  • Use a Power Strip with Switches. You can use a power strip with on/off switches to plug in your appliances. Surge protector power strips typically have such switches and help protect your appliances and electronics  If you plug all of your products into a power strip and flip off the power strip when these items are not in use, they are truly off.
  • Unplug Your Products. Another sure way to reduce your standby power load is to just unplug your products. Now, there are some products that you will want to keep plugged in, such as the digital alarm clock in your bedroom or the refrigerator.  But there are many appliances that you may not need to have plugged in, such as a toaster oven.
  • Use a timer for electronics with a constant display: Devices with a constant display, such as clocks and televisions, can be set to turn off after a certain amount of time. Use a timer to automatically shut off these devices to save on standby power.
  • Consider using ENERGY STAR® products. Many ENERGY STAR products are energy efficient and have lower standby power than comparable non-ENERGY STAR products.

So, there you go — three simple ways to reduce or eliminate your standby power, and save some money too!