Should Toasters Be Unplugged When Not In Use?

by Veronique Vincelli
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It is incredibly common for kitchen appliances and other electronic devices to be left plugged in 24/7. What you may not realise is how much these energy vampires are costing you and what other detriments they’ve left you exposed to. Washers, water heaters, ovens, refrigerators, modems, cable boxes, and TV’s are some things you may want to leave plugged in all the time, just because of the hassle. However, small appliances like microwave ovens and coffee makers and other electronics like phone chargers and game consoles are a different story. Let’s explore the pros and cons of leaving appliances plugged in, and then explore the details with a focus on toasters.

 

Pros of Unplugging Appliances

It likely won’t surprise you that unplugging kitchen appliances and other electronics can bring a lot of benefits into your home. There will be noticeable effects on your energy consumption and the life span of your products, but you’ll also be lowering your risks as well.

Save Energy

You may not realise that your appliances actually continue to use power when they are plugged in, even though they are not actively in use. Even though some electronics need to stay on in standby mode to function properly, most things don’t. Plus, if standby mode is just an option, you should definitely opt for unplugging the unit instead of just hitting the off switch to reduce the amount of electricity it uses down to zero. Even units with timers built in to turn the machine off automatically still do not completely eliminate the energy draw; unplugging is the best way to save on energy.

Save Money On Your Energy Bill

The US Department of Energy has concluded that homeowners can save a fair amount of money on the electricity bill just by unplugging appliances and other electronics. The range is between $100 and $200 every year. Of course, unplugging a single unit such as a coffee maker or toaster won’t have that much of an effect on its own, you’ll still see some savings. If you adopt the unplug-it-all style of living, your bank account will thank you. Plus, you’ll be reducing your carbon footprint at the same time with the reduction in energy usage in your home.

Be Protected From Power Surges

Any electronic device can become a fire hazard under the right circumstances. Aside from the ability to save electricity and reduce the cost of maintaining your home, unplugging your products will also protect your home from power surges. Not only can power surges start a fire when the flammable components of an electronic device or appliance are involved, but it can also severely damage the machine itself and actually render them unusable. The best way to avoid these problems is to simply unplug the machine/device when you aren’t using it.

Extend the Life of Your Products

One of the more subtle benefits of unplugging your appliances/electronics is that you are actually able to extend the life of the product. Leaving a machine plugged in or in standby mode continues to draw power and leave the unit in a state of readiness. When this comes to kitchen appliances like coffee pots or toasters, this means your heating element is constantly going to be receiving input. Not only does this cause it to wear out faster, but it affects many other internal components of things as well. If you want to get the most bang for your buck out of every product you buy, make sure you only plug it in when you are actively using it.

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Cons of Unplugging Appliances

It may not surprise you to learn that there really aren’t that many cons associated with unplugging your smaller appliances and other electronics after each use. Essentially, the only factor to consider here is whether you’re willing and able to remember to unplug things. Let’s discuss the reduction in convenience and user friendliness.

Less Convenient

If you are someone who is very much used to leaving things plugged in all the time, it may be quite an adjustment to change your ways. The last thing you want is to wake up to a dead phone because you forgot to plug the cable into the electrical outlet before bed. If you adopt a lifestyle of unplugging all possible electronics and appliances on a daily basis, you may get frustrated at the lack of convenience and the need to always be aware of what is plugged in and when. However, the pros should more than outweigh the few negatives that come with this practice. Plus, when you think about, plugging and unplugging a cord really only takes a few seconds out of your day. Everyone should have those seconds to spare.

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How Do The Pros and Cons Relate to Toasters and Toaster Ovens?

Toasters and the more sophisticated toaster ovens are some of the most common kitchen appliances you can find in North American homes, rivalled only perhaps by coffee makers. Many, many people leave these appliances plugged in all day and night because its simply more convenient and they aren’t aware of the consequences. Let’s dive into the details and explore what things may be able to lessen your risks and how to capitalise on the benefits of unplugging.

How They Use Electricity

The average toaster will consume about 0.9 kWh of energy for every hour of use. Depending on your rates, it can cost you anywhere between 12 and 36 cents to run a toaster for an hour. While a toaster left plugged in all the time will not consume quite as much energy as when it is actively being used, it still has a draw. 12 cents will add up when you leave the machine plugged in all day every day.

Are Toasters Dangerous When Left Plugged In?

Toasters are fickle machines and may catch fire at any time. Even brand new machines pose a risk. While this is most likely to happen while the toaster is in use and the components are actually hot, even toasters at rest have the potential to ignite. As a result, it is safest to always unplug your toaster when not in use, and keep an eye on it while you are actively using it.

Can Toasters Be Damaged When Left Plugged In?

Toasters can indeed be damaged if left plugged in all day. Power surges can seriously damage a toaster and actually leave them unable to function. The wear and tear that will affect the inner workings of a toaster will also cause more damage over time and necessitate an earlier replacement.

Do Power Strips And Surge Protectors Make A Difference?

Using power strips, especially those with surge protectors built in, will make a difference in the safety and energy efficiency of your toaster. Surge protectors will ensure your unit can never be damaged by a power surge, and this also greatly reduces your fire risk. Power strips also allow you to completely cut off the energy draw to the toaster without physically unplugging it, which may be the preferable option for some people.

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