Why Unplug Appliances When Not in Use

Plug laying on a counter by an outlet.

Have you ever walked through your house and noticed that almost everything that has a power cord is plugged in all day, every day?

Did you know that leaving devices plugged in uses energy even while not in use? Other than having a higher electric bill, leaving your appliances plugged in can cause all sorts of hazards in your home, including increased fire risks.

It’s easy to forget to unplug your appliances whenever you leave the house for a while, but there are quite a few benefits if you remember to unplug them. Read on to learn more about the reasons why you should unplug your appliances when you’re out of town:

Unplug Your Appliances to Save Energy

Most homes have around 40 appliances. When these appliances stay plugged in all the time, they draw ambient power. This ambient power draw accounts for around 10% of an average energy bill. Some appliances draw more power than others, so what should you unplug to save the most money without inconveniencing yourself?

  • Small kitchen appliances – While you should leave large appliances like your fridge, stove, oven, and garbage disposal plugged in at all times, smaller devices don’t need to be plugged in unless they’re actively being used. Leave toaster ovens, coffee makers, food processors, blenders, air fryers, and stand mixers unplugged until it’s time to use them. Leaving things like toaster ovens and air fryers unplugged also lowers the risk of fires.

  • Device chargers – Many people have a bad habit of leaving their phone chargers and other device chargers plugged in at all times. But unless you’re actively charging something, it’s just a waste of electricity. 

  • Entertainment devices – Entertainment devices like televisions, video game consoles, and other devices love to eat up ambient energy with their blinking lights and indicators. Consider plugging your whole entertainment system into a single power strip that you can unplug or turn off whenever you aren’t using your devices.

  • Computers – When you put your computer to sleep, it keeps drawing ambient power to keep basic functions going. Turn off your computer and unplug it when you aren’t using it. While this will increase boot-up time slightly, it also extends the lifespan of your computer and leads to savings on your utility bill.

Unplug Your Appliances for Safety

Leaving appliances plugged in increases the risk of fires. Consumer Reports studies show that about half of appliance-related fires are due to issues with the appliances themselves. Often, this happens when an appliance has been recalled, but the owner isn’t aware of the recall. Leaving recalled appliances plugged in and active presents a major risk.

In particular, you should always leave small kitchen appliances, particularly those with heating elements, unplugged. Air fryers, electric kettles, coffee makers, and toaster ovens all pose a significant threat if they have an issue while you are away from home. It’s also easy to make a mistake and accidentally turn on one of these appliances or forget to turn them off, which can cause a fire.

Unplugging these appliances is a great safety tip and is an easy way to prevent hazardous fires. Get additional appliance safety tips from your local Mr. Appliance professional. 

Unplugging Appliances FAQ

Should I unplug electrical appliances when not in use?

Yes, unplugging electrical devices saves electricity and reduces the chance of an electrical fire.

What appliances use the most electricity when turned off?

Generally, any device that has an LED display or a light that blinks to indicate whether it is on or off will draw a meaningful amount of power even when turned off. Other devices, such as toaster ovens, coffee makers, and lamps, also draw a lot of power when turned off.

How much money does unplugging things save?

It’s estimated that devices left plugged in and unused account for 10% of the average household’s utility bill. By properly unplugging your appliances, you can save as much as 10% on your utility bill.

Is leaving appliances plugged in a fire hazard?

Yes, leaving appliances plugged in is a fire hazard. This is particularly true for kitchen appliances with heating elements like a coffee maker, toaster, or air fryer.

Call On Neighborly for All of Your Appliance-Related Needs

Turning off your appliances saves you money, reduces the risk of electrical fires, and can even extend the lifespan of your appliances. Make sure to unplug them whenever possible, and always unplug them when you leave for an extended period of time.

Want to learn more? Read about more reasons to unplug your appliances from our partners at Rainbow Restoration. And when you need help getting things done around the house, the Neighborly® family of home service brands is ready to help. Whether it's to maintain, repair, or enhance your home, our experienced and trusted pros will get the job done right!