With record-high inflation and surging electricity rates across the country, a high monthly electric bill is one of the biggest fears a resident of South Carolina has today. These times of economic peril have strained the budgets of a majority of homeowners, who are now extremely concerned about restricting their electric bills to a value that they can afford to pay.

Fortunately, there is a very easy way for you to reduce your energy consumption and hence your electric bill without forgoing any of your precious appliances. Unplugging instead of turning off your devices is a simple tactic that can help you save quite a bit of energy and in doing so, reduce your electric bill. But how does that work? Let’s find out!

Unplug a Device to Lower Your Electric Bill – How Does It Work?

Contrary to popular belief, an electrical device does not stop consuming energy once you turn it off. Instead, Energy.gov reports that appliances that are plugged in will keep drawing energy from the outlet even when they are turned off.

There are an enormous number of household appliances found in almost all average American homes that have been found guilty of leeching on electricity when powered off. This is primarily because these modern-day devices have certain functions and features baked into them, which require them to use electricity even when the device is turned off. These appliances can range from your ovens all the way to your phone chargers.

However, the solution to the problem is pretty simple; all you need to do is make a habit of unplugging instead of turning off your appliances. Doing so will prevent these electricity leeches from drawing any electricity from the grid when they are not in use and will save you quite a bit of power and money in the long run.

Unplug a Device to Lower Your Electric Bill – How Much Power and Money Can You Save?

Realizing just how significantly standby power consumption contributes to your monthly electric bill can be quite shocking for most people. The US Department of Energy reports that the energy consumed by standby appliances accounts for 5% to 10% of the residential energy consumption.

This means that unplugging instead of turning off your appliances can save an average American home up to $100 each year. It is important to remember that this is only an average value. How much you could actually save depends on how many devices you have plugged into your home’s outlets and how carefully or carelessly you use them.

Colorado State University conducted an educational experiment in which they found that a radio, tape player, CD player, or anything of the same sort could use 4 watts of power regardless of whether it was in use or not. Unplugging the device after you’re done using it could potentially save approximately 400 watts of power over the lifetime of the device.

According to research done by The Natural Resources Defense Council, decreasing the load from always-on appliances would save 64 billion kilowatt-hours of energy each year. This translates to $8 billion worth of savings for consumers each year. In addition, this also yields a reduction of 44 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. According to the NRDC, the average annual cost of always-on devices is $165 per household.

What Appliances Use the Most Electricity When Turned Off?

As mentioned before, the easiest and simplest way to lower your electric bill is to unplug the devices that are not in use or aren’t used often. Here are 9 most power-hungry devices you should unplug to lower your electric bill:

Desktop Computer

According to data gathered under the Standby Project done by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, it was found that keeping a desktop computer plugged in or on standby can amount to more than $23 per year. Add to that the cost of energy consumed by the monitor and router, which can equal $1.53 and $7, respectively.

If you have a gaming computer, the savings can be even more significant owing to all the additional hardware you’ll be saving energy on, such as fans, gaming cards, higher resolution monitors, etc.

While it may not seem like you’re saving a lot of money, it is worth considering how fast this amount can add up over the years. Just a simple desktop computer can cost you or save you $30 on electricity each year; factor in all the other electronic devices that are capable of the same, and you have the potential to save or waste a sizable amount of money each year.

Televisions and Set-Top Boxes

Keeping your television plugged in, even if it is turned off, can cost you over $20 worth of energy each year. Knowing this, unplugging your TV is a good place to start if you want to lower your electricity bill. Another measure you could take is to replace your LCD or Plasma TV with an LED option since LEDs are more energy-efficient.

The set-top box you use to binge all your favorite shows is even worse than your TV. Digital cable boxes like the ones your cable provider offers can set you back almost $50 annually if you don’t unplug them. Third-party set-top boxes such as those offered by Apple and Amazon tend to be more energy-efficient, however. Whatever the case, it is important that you make a habit of unplugging your TV and set-top device to lower your electric bill.

Speakers and Sound Systems

Speaking of entertainment, your home music system undoubtedly uses a significant amount of electricity, especially those audio receivers and subwoofers. When left plugged in, audio systems can use about $10 annually, and audio input devices such as record players or CD players can add another $5 or more. To avoid incurring these extra charges on your electric bill, consider unplugging your music system when you aren’t jamming out since they tend to consume a lot of power even when they aren’t in use.

Small Kitchen Appliances

Unplugging your small kitchen appliances such as coffee makers, food processors, and microwaves can save you quite a bit of money over the long run. This is because these smaller appliances have features such as always-on digital displays showing you the time of the day. Needless to say, these features will draw energy from the grid and drive up your electric bill.

Unplugging instead of turning off the larger appliances such as ovens, refrigerators, and dishwashers are not advised since it would be very difficult to plug them back in again. However, if you can manage the extra hassle, doing so could save you a significant amount of money on your electric bill.


If you’re fond of aquatic life and have an aquarium in your home, you should know that your artificial aquatic habitat is likely one of the most high-consumption devices in your home, when turned on and when off. In fact, aquariums can draw as much as 150 to 200 watts and can cost you over $200 yearly, owing to the different components that go into an aquarium, such as heaters and lights.

The majority of power is consumed by the heater, which uses the energy to maintain the temperature of the tank.

It is worth noting that unplugging the heater may not be a viable solution for everyone. You need it to be active in order to maintain an optimum temperature for your aquatic pets. However, you can reduce your dependency on the heater by insulating the tank and relocating it to a well-heated space.

Cellphone Chargers

Cellphone chargers draw a very small amount of power when left plugged in, which can roughly amount to 0.1 to 0.5 watts. While this may seem like a minuscule amount, considering that your chargers will be drawing this small amount of power for approximately 24 hours a day and 365 days a year can turn this negligible amount into a sizable value.

In addition, there could be multiple chargers plugged in different outlets of your home that’ll be drawing power from the grid year-round. Knowing this, unplugging this device to lower your electric bill seems like a solid strategy.


Perhaps you use your printer on a daily basis and therefore leave it on standby instead of unplugging the device. However, an average laser printer can use up to 70kWh of energy each year while on standby. This is energy that you could easily save by simply unplugging instead of turning off the printer.


Fans are another appliance that is often overlooked when it comes to power consumption. These machines can consume roughly 110 watts of power when running and can still draw quite a bit of power when turned off but are left plugged in.

Unplugging instead of turning off these appliances can, in fact, save you somewhere around $12 worth of electricity each year. This may not appear to be much in itself, however, combined with the savings you’ll make by unplugging other devices, this can turn into a much appreciable amount.

Space Heaters

In addition to being a safety issue, space heaters are also energy vampires and can drain quite a bit of energy even when powered off. The wiser approach would be unplugging instead of turning off the appliance.

You could also consider reducing your usage of the device altogether. These power-hungry appliances can cost over 1.3kW of power which translates to more than 13 cents per hour. To help facilitate this, you could add an additional layer of insulation to your room so that it retains its warmth for longer, reducing your need for running the heater.

Lower Your Energy Bill by Going Solar

Hands down, the best way to lower your electric bill is to become self-sustaining of your energy needs and become fully or partially independent of the grid-supplied electricity. The most effective way for homeowners to achieve this is by going solar.

Residential solar panel systems offer homeowners in South Carolina a variety of benefits such as a reliable energy supply, reduced carbon footprint, increased home value, and of course, a reduced electric bill. By designing a system large enough to accommodate all your energy needs, you’ll be able to power all your electricals through your solar system and won’t have to worry about getting a high electric bill. This also means that you can forgo the hassle of unplugging devices when you’re done using them.

In addition, you’ll also be immune to the annual increments as well as any unforeseen surges in the electricity rates. Best of all, South Carolina offers homeowners the option of net metering. This allows you to sell any surplus energy generated by your system to the grid. This means that by going solar, you not only save money but you can also earn some by selling your excess electricity to the grid.

Generally, the high cost of solar systems is the only thing that keeps homeowners from going solar. However, by introducing a large number of solar incentives and tax rebates, the South Carolinian state government has taken care of that problem too. With these innumerable solar incentives and a variety of financing options at your disposal, going solar in South Carolina is easier and more advisable than ever before.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What Is the Best Way to Cut Down on Your Electric Bill?

Going solar is the best way to reduce your electric bill. However, if your financial condition doesn’t allow you to afford a solar system, unplugging appliances that aren’t in use would be a good way to lower your electric bill.

What Appliances Should Be Unplugged When Not in Use?

There are various appliances you should unplug after using them, such as your monitor, desktop computer, cellphone charger, etc. To learn more about this, read the sections above.

In What Way Can You Reduce Your Electric Bill?

Unplugging instead of turning off your appliances is one way you can reduce your electricity bill. You could also try replacing high-consumption appliances with more energy-efficient alternatives. For instance, replacing incandescent bulbs with LEDs.

Does It Save Electricity to Unplug Appliances?

Unplugging your appliances can save you anywhere from $100 to $200 annually by lowering your utility bill.

Final Thoughts

Unplugging your appliances is a great way to lower your energy consumption and reduce your electric bill. This is a relatively simple and cost-effective solution that requires you to know what appliances use the most electricity when turned off and unplug them. However, there are other, more effective methods of doing so, such as going solar. A solar system not only helps you reduce or completely eliminate your electric bill, it also provides you the opportunity of earning money by selling your surplus energy to the grid.

Some companies have also invented an energy saver device to lower your electric bill by as much as 80-90%. However, the effectiveness of the device is questionable.

Contact us today at Firefly Solar with any questions and get a no-obligation price quote. Call us at 864-252-7858 or book a consultation online. And we’ll get in touch within 24 hours.