Does Leaving Plugs In Use Electricity? Myth Busting & Other Energy Saving Tips

In this day and age, saving energy is a big deal and every penny counts. We’d all like to say we are wary of this and try our best to be energy efficient, but that’s not quite the case. You can admit it, you’ve left lights on when you’ve gone out before or took forever getting in the shower.

Don’t worry; we’ve all done it.

But the real question that has eluded people for years is:

Does leaving plugs switched on with nothing attached still use electricity?

We’ve decided to see how much truth is behind this widely debated subject and given some tips on how to save some pennies around the house.


Does Leaving The Plug In Use Electricity?

So let’s lay down some facts.

Plug sockets do not produce energy if they are not switched on, and empty sockets do not produce electricity because you need a full-completed circuit to get the energy flow. So turning off empty sockets doesn’t really do anything. But let’s take a look at what happens when you leave something plugged in and switched on.

Does Leaving The Plug In Use Electricity?
According to the Energy Saving Trust, any switched on charger that is plugged in will still use electricity, regardless of whether the device is attached or not. The amount of electricity produced from this only costs a few pence, but it will shorten the shelf life of the charger. So we suggest unplugging and switching off. We know we’re all guilty of it, but every penny counts!

We’ve also outlined a few simple tips on how to save energy around the house and how it can help you.


Heating

Heating plays a big role in the amount of energy used in your home and you can see this by how much it’s costing you in bills.

Let’s start by talking about the thermostat. At the first sign of a breeze, most people blast the heating on to warm up the house quickly. By setting it at a high temperature, it’s forced to try and heat up as quickly as possible and uses a lot of energy in the process. The fix to this is keeping the thermostat at a lower temperature for longer, progressively warming up your home without having to produce all of this heat straight away.

Heating
Another tip when it comes to heating is to wrap yourself up. A simple solution to being cold is to put on a jumper or a thick pair of socks. Heating shouldn’t be used if you only feel a bit chilly, get your slippers on and make yourself a hot drink. Try putting a blanket underneath your duvet to keep yourself warm at night. You will be surprised by how much money you can save by using the heating less and when you do, having it set at a low temperature.

One of the other big offenders when it comes to heating is showers. We all know someone who takes what feels like a lifetime in the shower, and if you don’t then it’s probably you. But showering tends to rack up a large sum of the heating bills. You can remedy this by turning on the water at the last minute. Don’t turn it on and walk off for 5 minutes, you’re basically burning through money there. Another option could be leaving the water running if multiple people need showers in the morning. This keeps the water hot and isn’t forcing the shower to keep heating up, using a lot of energy. You should also turn the shower pressure down as this uses up a lot more water, sometimes even more than a bath would.


Washing

Washing your clothes is essential, and something we definitely can’t avoid. But there are means and ways to reducing the amount of energy used in the process.

Firstly, you should try washing your clothes at a lower heat where possible. Setting your machine at a lower temperature will reduce the amount of energy used and save you money on your bills. It’s important to also use detergent that is designed to work better at lower temperature to produce the best results.

You should also consider what you are washing, for example items like towels need to be washed at a high temperature to kill any germs or bacteria. Another tip is to wash more, less often. Try and avoid doing half loads. By filling your machine, you will end up doing fewer loads and therefore reduce the amount of energy and money spent on cycles.

Tumble dryers are also appliances that eat up energy and cost you money. Where possible, you should avoid using them. Make use of the sunshine and hang your clothes out to dry instead of wasting energy using the dryer. When the sun fails to show (which is usually often), try hanging your clothes to dry around the house. Making your way through a cloth jungle will be worth it when you’re saving energy. If you are using the dryer and plan to iron, it’s an idea to take the clothes out slightly before the end; as they will iron easier.


Cooking

Now let’s move into the kitchen. You can’t really avoid using energy when it comes to cooking, but there are definitely ways to cut down on the amount used.

You should try baking multiple meals at once when using the oven; there’s more than one shelf for a reason. The oven is another big user of energy and by preparing multiple meals at once; you’re cutting down on the usage and saving energy. It takes a lot of energy to heat up an oven, especially when you keep opening it to check on food, so make use of the window to see how your food is cooking.

Cooking
If you’re making a hot drink, use the right amount of water that you need for that drink when boiling the kettle. People often boil more water than is needed and it’s a pointless action. Not only does it take longer to heat up, it uses up a lot of energy trying to boil all of that water as well. It’s the opposite however for fridges and freezers.

You should always make sure your fridge/freezers are fully stocked. Having a fully stocked fridge/freezer will be more likely to keep the contents cold than a bare one. If you open the doors and let hot air into the fridge/freezer, the fridge/freezer will need to use energy to cool down again. By having lots of cold products inside, it will take less time to reach the correct temperature, therefore using less energy.

It should also be noted that you should use the right pan/cooker ring combination. If you’re cooking a tin of beans in a huge pan on a small cooker ring, you’ll be there for ages. Use an appropriate size pan for the meal you’re making and find the right ring with the right sized flame.


Household

Let’s talk about some general things around the house that you could do to save a little bit of energy.

This next tip is an obvious one but we need to talk about it. When not in use, turn off and unplug any electrical appliances. This includes TVs, chargers, toasters, kettles and so on. Leaving things running or forgetting to turn off appliances is a big waste of energy and can be avoided so easily. Don’t leave the likes of TVs on standby either, it’s an easy way of turning things off but it still wastes a lot of energy in the process.

Try and use natural light to your advantage. Instead of turning the lights on in the morning, let some sunlight in and draw those curtains. It only makes sense to use natural lighting to brighten up your home. Another way to conserve energy is to use low energy light bulbs, which require less energy to power and actually last longer.


Energy Saving Extras

If you really wanted to help save energy around the house, you could consider some of these options.

Installing solar panels can help cut electricity bills down, providing a clean and free way of powering your house. If sunlight is an issue for you, fear not as a lot of solar panels can work even if it’s not a blistering sunny day and using battery storage can help you store unused energy for a rainy day.

Energy Saving Extras
You could also consider getting cavity wall or loft insulation, helping store heat in your house. You lose a lot of heat through the roof and walls of your house, so installing this type of insulation would have many benefits on your home. Cavity wall and loft insulation stores the heat within the walls and gets rid of any draughts coming from the walls.

Summary

There are lots of small things you can change in your daily routines that will help you save energy and money at the same time. These are only a few of the many ways, why not try out a few and see what result you can get from the change.


Categories: Advice