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If you like computers, large screen TVs and other gadgets, you are not alone. The average American household contains 24 electronic devices, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Although these devices can be expensive to purchase, they also cost your on their electric bill. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) estimates that consumer electronics account for 15% of total household electricity use.
How much are you spending to power your household gadgets? The DOE's Appliance and Home Electronics Energy Calculator can tell you. Just select the type of device, as well as the estimated number of days and hours used — and the calculator will estimate your annual cost.
Cutting your energy costs
If your gadgets are guzzling too much power, consider these energy-saving measures:
Turn things off. Contrary to popular belief, turning electronic products on and off will not wear them down more quickly. Leaving them on wastes energy and costs you money.
Watch out for phantom loads. Many electronic devices, such as cable boxes, game consoles and stereos, continue to draw phantom power when they are switched off. Unplug these devices when they are not in use or use a power strip to cut off power to multiple devices.
Unplug chargers. Charging devices continue to draw even when they're not charging anything. Pull the plug on charging devices when you're done using them.
Plug smarter. Plug devices into advanced power strips whenever. These "smart" plugs sense when a device is no longer in use and shut off power.
When you purchase new devices, look for the ENERGY STAR® label. ENERGY STAR devices use less energy than standard models.
Also, consider donating old devices to local schools or charitable organizations. If they device is not usable, make sure to recycle it properly.