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Small Electronics: Use & Care

Use & Care

The more you know about your small electronics & appliances, the more this enables you to know what you can do in order to reduce their energy load on your household.

Unplug When Unused

Some items need to be plugged in around the clock, but many others, such as cell phones, blenders, and electronic toothbrushes, can be unplugged when not in use. This saves energy, because these items normally still consume energy even when merely plugged in.

Protect & Surge (and Save!)

Plug all electronics in your home office or entertainment system into a single surge protector. Switch off the surge protector at night to cut down on phantom energy from devices that like to go on standby mode. A surge protector also serves to protect your electronics from harmful power surges.

Get Smart: Power Strips

Consider smart power strips that automatically turn off electronics when they have not been active for a period of time. There are typically different types of outlets on one strip. Some are uncontrolled, like a normal outlet, while others will automatically turn off plugged in electronics whenever they go idle or after a time period which you can set. Something like this could save you energy without your even having to think about it!

Wall Monitors: Watt Watcher

Another way to monitor energy consumption is by plugging a power use monitor between the wall socket and the electronic device you want to monitor. The power use monitor will tell you exactly how much energy the device is using, and if you do this with other devices you use in your home, this will allow you to figure out which electronics are using the most energy in your home.

Efficient Power Supplies 

Whenever possible, look for products with high efficiency (switch mode) external power supplies to convert the AC supply from the grid into low-voltage DC power for your devices. Unlike larger appliances, which have integrated power supplies, smaller devices typically use external power supplies which look like heavy plastic boxes on the cord (usually near the plug) that are frequently warm to the touch when plugged in. Without a built-in switch on these external power supplies, they use up valuable energy whether the actual device is switched on or off.


If you’re thinking about making efficiency improvements, the Small Electronics Overview is a great place to get acquainted with the basics and your options, before you buy new electronics for your home.
Return to Office & Home Electronics.

This program is funded by California utility customers and administered by Southern California Edison under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission.

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