Should you unplug chargers when you're not using them - tested

Discussion in 'Articles of Interest' started by The_Traveler, Oct 21, 2015.

  1. The_Traveler

    The_Traveler Completely Counter-dependent Supporting Member

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  2. JacaRanda

    JacaRanda Hobbyist Birdographer

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    Very very useful and informative.
     
  3. SoulfulRecover

    SoulfulRecover Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I leave my phone charger plugged in next to the bed. aside from that, everything else gets unplugged or turned off when we aren't home. Typical electric bill is 120 during the summer/winter and 80 during spring/fall.
     
  4. waday

    waday Do one thing every day that scares you Supporting Member

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    Get ready, I'm going to poo-poo this story. Sorry for being a Debbie Downer.

    I understand from one person's perspective, it doesn't seem like all that much. It's only $0.34 per person per year. Not bad, right?

    Assuming the author's numbers are accurate... now take that 2.628 kilowatt hours (kWh) and multiply it by approximately 275,000,000 adults (over the age 18) in the US (source: Kids Count Data Center). (Although, I should probably include kids, because they have so many electronics nowadays.) I'm assuming all adults would have similar vampire power demand as the author.

    So, now we have 722,700,000 kWh being used by chargers that are not in use. Multiply that by the author's $0.1298 per kWh, and we have a cool $94 million dollars being wasted a year. Ouch.

    Not only is that money wasted, power is wasted. Power has quite the negative effect on the environment. We waste a heck of a lot more than just $0.34 a year per person. Billions of gallons of water are withdrawn EVERY DAY here in PA for power plants. Now include the rest of the US. Oof.

    Not only that, other natural resources such as coal, oil, natural gas, and plutonium have to be mined and transported to the facilities. Where does all the waste go? Back into the earth as waste. Water withdrawn can impinge/entrain aquatic communities in the intake systesm. Heated wastewater has negative impacts on the aquatic community downstream of the facility.

    I read a similar article from someone in California a few months ago that essentially said it was ok to leave the water running while brushing/etc, because 'so little water' is used. Yes, by one single faucet, not a lot is used. For the population as a whole, it's another story. A bad story.

    I'll be the first to admit that I don't always unplug when I should, but I think articles such as this give a false impression of our impact on the environment. They pull a very tiny piece of the entire process and say its ok. We need to look from cradle to grave.. look at the process holistically.

    These articles try to justify our laziness. IMO, that's not right.

    End rant.
     
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  5. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    ^^Agree^^ In addition, I'd be curious to know just how accurate their $24.00, Amazon purchased consumption meter is. With consumption rates that low (at the individual level), it would not surprise me at all to learn that it was 25, 50, or even 100% inaccurate (and most probably on the low side).
     
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  6. waday

    waday Do one thing every day that scares you Supporting Member

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    Totally agree. The error range on this is likely very high, probably in the 50-100% range.

    That's not to say it isn't a good device to get an overall generalization of how much energy is being used by different devices. It's absolutely good for that purpose. But, if we're going to start calculating costs and energy usage for the explicit purpose of trying to dissuade people from trying to be environmentally and financially conscious, I want to be more accurate than using that meter.
     
  7. runnah

    runnah Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I always do regardless of power use. Force of habit.
     
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  8. The_Traveler

    The_Traveler Completely Counter-dependent Supporting Member

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    perhaps we should stay off the Internet?
     
  9. 480sparky

    480sparky Chief Free Electron Relocator Supporting Member

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    Istead of worrying about 34¢ of electricity being used by a plugged-in phone charger, why not offset that by installing just ONE single CFL or LED lamp in your house or office?
     
  10. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I'm working on getting them all replaced. Got quite a lot replaced already.
     
  11. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Why offset, why not save? Is it really that difficult to unplug a wall-wart when you're done with it? LEDs? Perhaps, but I don't see any benefit to CFLs when you considered all the energy needed to deal with the HAZMAT aspect.
     
  12. 480sparky

    480sparky Chief Free Electron Relocator Supporting Member

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    No, not really. If you only do it once. But I plug in my phone to three different chargers scattered throughout the house. So I'd be unplugging three times a day, and plugging in three times a day. Six times a day, times 365........

    Yeah, that would be a freekin' big hassle.

    What about the HAZMAT aspect of that computer you're using? No, not the electricity it's sucking out of the wall..... the hazardous materials that went into it? :icon_scratch:
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2015

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