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HOW TO PLUG APPLIANCES
THAT LEAK ELECTRICITY

Before you plug in that new electrical gadget for your home consider this: A study by Berkeley Lab scientists reveals that home appliances are using energy even when they are switched off or not providing the service for which they were designed.

"Many household appliances draw power in their 'standby' mode," says Alan Meier, a scientist in the Energy Analysis Program of Berkeley Lab's Environmental Energy Technologies Division. "These include common household appliances such as televisions, VCRs, alarms, smoke detectors, cordless phones, video games, even rechargable electric toothbrushes."

Energy specialists call this "leaking electricity" because the devices are using energy without performing their principle function.

"We estimate that the average home leaks about 50 Watts, or 450 kilowatt-hours per year," says Meier. "Since the average residential energy consumption in the U.S. is nearly 10,000 kilowatt-hours per year, this is about five percent of a home's electricity use." The problem is exacerbated by the proliferation in American homes of emerging electronic appliances like burglar alarms, garage door openers, telephone answering machines, cordless phones and others.

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Excerpted from Berkeley Lab Research Review

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