Money Down the Tube

The average U.S. household now has three televisions, according to the Consumer Electronics Association. That’s one reason why electronic devices today consume 15 percent of the average home’s electricity–up from 5 percent in 1980. A Chicago Tribune article highlighted several ways to tame those energy monsters, starting with your choice of TV. The larger the screen, of course, the more energy consumed (a 52-inch high-def TV can use as much as a new refrigerator), and plasma TVs use more power than LCD sets. The article also suggested turning down the brightness of your TV, which can cut energy use by as much as 25 percent. Most TVs are pre-set at an overly bright level designed to work best in retail stores. Go to the onscreen setup menu and choose the “standard” or “home” mode.

If you have a television, DVD player, stereo, and other such devices plugged directly into wall sockets, plug them into a power strip instead. When they’re not in use, turn off the power strip. The only exception is a set-top box such as a digital video recorder or a cable or satellite box. Many of these units need to stay powered up in order to work properly (check your manual). But at least ask your provider about getting an ENERGY STAR-qualified unit.

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