Should You Unplug Lamps When Not in Use? (Solved)

In the age of smart homes and smart devices, there are some things you should be aware of when it comes to safety and energy efficiency. For example, did you know that leaving your lights on when you’re not home can cost you $100 a year or more?

According to some estimates, as much as 30% of our home electricity consumption is due to unnecessary standby power from electronics. And that’s not counting the costs from leaving appliances plugged in all day when they aren’t in use.

So what can we do about it? Let’s start with lamps. Do you unplug them? Or does your experience differ from what we’ve found?

In this article, I will explain if you should unplug lamps when not using them and some useful tips for saving energy for lamps.

Here’s If You Should Unplug Lamps When Not In Use:

If you have a lamp plugged in and off, it’s not consuming any electricity. However, if the lamp is on a timer, it may be consuming electricity while you’re not even home. You can save money by unplugging lamps when they’re not in use. But there are times when it’s better to leave them plugged in.

Lamp plugged into a wall socket with the bulb lit.

Is It Safe to Keep a Lamp Plugged in When Not in Use?

Yes, you can leave your lamp plugged in when not in use. However, there is a risk that you may forget about the lamp and it could overheat and catch fire.

It’s best to unplug incandescent bulbs because they get hot enough to start a fire even when they’re not being used. The heat comes from the filament inside of the bulb.

When you flip on an incandescent bulb, current flows through this filament, causing it to heat up. This process generates light as well as heat and that’s why incandescent bulbs need to be enclosed in glass cases with wire mesh screens on the inside so they don’t start fires if they break while they’re still plugged in.

When you turn off an incandescent bulb, it cools down quickly because there’s no more current running through its filament.

If you leave it plugged in for long periods of time though, it can still get hot enough over time to cause problems like melting insulation or starting fires if some insulation catches on fire first.

Many people have lamps, TVs or other appliances that stay on all the time. Is it safe to leave them plugged in? The answer is yes, but there are some important considerations:

First, as long as the device has an on/off switch and you’re not using it, it’s fine to leave it plugged in. An appliance that’s turned off but still plugged in will still use power from the outlet. This is called phantom power (or vampire power) because the device “eats” electricity even when it’s not being used.

The most common culprits for phantom power are laptop computers and cell phones (which may be charging even when off).

But any appliance that uses a small amount of electricity can contribute to phantom power: TVs, DVD players and stereos all use a little bit of energy even when turned off.

The amount of energy consumed by these devices isn’t significant enough for you to notice on your electric bill — unless you’ve got a lot of them plugged into one outlet — but if you’re looking for ways to cut down on your overall electricity usage, unplugging them might help reduce your carbon footprint as well as your electricity bill.

Read our blog here about should I unplug a microwave when not in use?

Does Unplugging a Lamp Save Electricity (And Money)?

There are several reasons why unplugging lamps is beneficial to the environment. One of the most important reasons is that it reduces energy consumption.

The average household spends around $1,000 per year on electricity alone. This means that if you unplug your lamps, you can save money every month on your electricity bill.

Unplugging lamps also helps to reduce carbon emissions because there are no emissions released when an appliance is shut off or turned off at the source.

Some people might think that it’s OK to leave lights plugged in because they don’t use enough electricity for them to make a difference in their bill or carbon footprint. However, even small changes can make a big impact over time.

Should You Unplug Lamps When Going on Holiday?

Here are some things to consider when deciding whether or not you should unplug lamps when going away:

  • Security: If you want to keep your home safe while you are away, then leaving your lights on is a good idea as this will deter potential burglars from entering your home looking for valuables (especially if you live in an area where there is known crime).
  • Energy Efficiency: Leaving lights on saves energy because they are already warmed up when you return home at night and so they do not need to be switched on again at full power which would use up more electricity than leaving an already warmed lamp switched on would consume during the day.

While it’s tempting to just turn off all the lights in your home when you go away, there are some things that should be left plugged in.

“There are certain items that shouldn’t be unplugged, such as refrigerators and freezers,” says Bruce Brown, executive director of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). “If they are unplugged, they could allow food to spoil and become a health hazard.”

Unplugging other appliances may also cause problems. If a refrigerator is left unplugged for too long, the contents will begin to spoil and emit foul odors. The same goes for TVs, computers, printers and other electronic devices with internal fans or motors that need constant power to run properly.

It’s also important not to confuse “off” with “unplugged.” Simply turning off an appliance doesn’t mean it’s no longer drawing power from the outlet — it still may have standby power if its internal clock is still running.

Read our blog here about should you turn things off before unplugging?

Do Lamps Last Longer When Unplugged?

The short answer is yes, they do. But there are some caveats to that statement:

  • First, it depends on what kind of lamp you’re talking about. A fluorescent tube bulb will last longer if you don’t use it because they need a certain amount of time to warm up before they reach their full brightness. However, most other types of lamps won’t benefit from being unplugged because they don’t have any sort of “warm up” time (such as incandescent bulbs).
  • Second, it depends on how long you plan to leave your lamp unplugged for. If it’s going to be off for just a few minutes, then there’s really no reason to leave it plugged in. If it’s going to be off for an hour or more, then unplugging might help extend the life of your lamp by not stressing its internal components while they’re not in use.
  • The third caveat is that if you’re planning on leaving your lights off for several hours at a time like this regularly, then you might consider replacing them with LED bulbs instead since LEDs don’t draw as much power when they’re off and thus don’t waste as much energy when left unused for long periods of time.

Is It Bad to Unplug Your Lamps?

Many people believe that unplugging lamps is bad for the electrical system. Is this true?

No. Some people think that if you leave a lamp on for a long time, it can be bad for your electrical system. Others believe that it is bad to leave your lamps plugged in all the time because of the power surge when you turn them on and off repeatedly.

But neither of these beliefs are based on scientific evidence.

The truth is that it does not matter if you leave a lamp on or unplug it after using it.

A light bulb generates heat when it operates, but the amount of heat generated by a light bulb is extremely small compared to the amount of heat produced by other household appliances such as televisions, computers and refrigerators.

In fact, a light bulb generates so little heat that it cannot cause a power surge when turned off—it takes more energy than a light bulb produces to cause an electrical surge strong enough to cause damage to electrical components in your home.

If you have a lamp that runs on batteries, it’s usually safe to leave it plugged in all the time. The battery will run down eventually, but it won’t be damaged by the electricity from the outlet.

You should still change the batteries every few months or so so that they’ll be ready for emergencies if needed.

Can It Hurt to Unplug Your Lamp Every Night?

When you unplug your lamp before bedtime, you’re not only saving energy and money, but also helping to keep the planet green.

Lamps are one of the most common household items that get left plugged in all day and night. Unfortunately, this leads to wasted electricity and a higher electric bill.

While there are no hard and fast rules about how long lamps should be left on, there are some good reasons why you might unplug them each night before bedtime.

The benefits of unplugging your lamps every night are numerous:

  • First, it prevents the electrical components from becoming damaged due to overuse.
  • Second, unplugging your lamps will save you money because you won’t have to replace them as often.
  • Third, unplugging your lamps every night will save you time.

The only downside is that it might be a little inconvenient if you are trying to read or study and don’t want to get up from your seat.

Check out this blog here about should I unplug washer & dryer when not in use?

Can It Hurt Your Lamps?

It’s important to note that if you don’t unplug your lamps every night, there’s no need to worry about any damage. “There are no adverse effects from leaving an incandescent lamp on all night,” says Jeff Smith, an engineer with the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA). “The only thing that would happen is that they’d use more electricity.”

Conclusion

Here we have discussed the debate over unplugging lamps, which has raged on for years among energy-efficient lighting experts.

Electrical lights are highly efficient and consume a minimal amount of electricity when compared to traditional incandescent bulbs. Of course, that doesn’t mean electrical waste should be ignored.

So ultimately, my opinion is that it’s fine to unplug your lamps when they aren’t in use. I don’t see any reason that it would cause any harm, and you could potentially save yourself some money and electricity costs if you do.

Sources

 

Was this article helpful? Like Dislike
Great!

Click to share...

Did you find wrong information or was something missing?
We would love to hear your thoughts! (PS: We read ALL feedback)