Do you unplug your cell phone charger?

Do you unplug your cell phone charger when you’re not using it?  I used to leave it in all the time because I figured since it wasn’t charging anything it wouldn’t be pulling any electricity.  Apparently I was wrong; it and so many other appliances draw so much more power than I’d ever known.

I’ve always unplugged my microwave when I wasn’t using it because, really, I’d use it for a few minutes to heat something up and then through the rest of the day it’d sit there with the clock on telling absolutely no one the time.  And with my stove already telling me the time, why do I need multiple appliances telling me something I already rely on my watch and my cell phone for?  Sure it’s somewhat inconvenient to keep resetting the time on the microwave before I go to use it, but should I leave it plugged in just for the few seconds of convenience?  The average microwave draws about 3.08 W/hour when it’s just sitting idle with the door closed.  Yes, it’s not a lot, but consider this:  According the United States Energy Information Administration, in 2011 the average US household used 11,280 kWh of electricity.  If  about 420 people only used their microwaves when they cooked something and unplugged it the rest of the time they would be able to save 11,280 kWh of electricity.  Only 420 people.  How many people are in the average American city??

Now what about cell phone chargers?  When the charger is just plugged into the wall without your cell phone attached to it it draws 0.26W/hour.  Assuming that you only have your phone plugged into the charger for just as long as it takes to charge (I’m giving everyone some leeway here and saying it takes 5 hours to charge your phone) that means the charger will pull 4.94 W/day or 1.8 kWh/year.  Again, not a whole lot when you think about it as just one person.  According to Wikipedia, there were 327, 577, 529 active cell phones in the US in 2012.  If everyone unplugged their charger when their phone was finished charging we would save 590 million kWh of electricity per year.  Using the EIA figure again, this means that if everyone in the US unplugged their cell phone chargers when they weren’t using it we would save enough electricity to power 52,273 homes for an entire year!  52,273 homes for an entire year!!!!

Think about all the other appliances that you leave plugged in when you aren’t using them: your tv, dvd/bluray, stereo, computer, coffee machine….need I go on?  

If you’re interested in seeing how much electricity is used in a variety of common household appliances check out this table

It’s really not that costly or inconvenient to throw your TV and all the attachments on a powerbar and turn them on before you turn on the TV.  Or unplug your cell phone charger when you disconnect your cell phone.  Just sayin’.


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