Energy theft: Television drains our wallets as well as brains

I caught a thief in my house the other day.

  • Friday, June 13, 2008 6:11pm
  • Life

I caught a thief in my house the other day.

Sneaky, silent, tricky as can be, this miscreant was so smooth, so slick that I hadn’t even noticed its relentless and remorseless ways, even though the culprit was right in front of me the whole time.

The criminal? My television. Its offense? Unauthorized energy consumption, even when switched off.

So “off” doesn’t really mean “off?” Nope, not when it comes to many home electronics.

In the case of my house, “off” for the entertainment center still meant a steady 20-watt draw — or about the same as leaving on a small light bulb day after day, night after night. I nailed the thug with a device call a “Watts Up” that measures energy use.

Why is my TV stealing from me? And since when did the VCR/DVD combo player decide thievery was allowed?

And the old stereo that ate the kids favorite “Wiggles” cassettes? (In full disclosure: I may have accidentally thrown out the Wiggles tape. Plus Raffi and Barney.)

The answer to this electronic skullduggery is the memory that so many devices have today.

How does the TV remember I want to skip the shopping channels? And the VCR to know the time of day for programming?

And the stereo to lock in the right radio stations? Memory, electricity-eating memory, that constantly drains juice from the wall socket and money from your wallet.

If you are older than about 40, you still might remember when TVs had to “warm up,” back when vacuum tubes outnumbered transistors. Now, your TV pops on right away — and doing that means it is always sipping a few electrons, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

Certainly, if it’s a TV or stereo you use all the time, you probably want to keep it from getting amnesia and honestly do need it to remember all the channels in its memory. And if you just installed a megaplex home theater system, check the owner’s manual: Some new electronics can be damaged by being shutoff improperly. But what about the old television in the back bedroom, the one that gathers more dust than eyeballs?

The way to foil this crook is simple: Unplug the offenders, or put the whole ancient TV/Stereo/VCR conglomeration on a power strip and switch the whole mess off with one click.

My days of ever recording a show on the VCR ended a few years ago, and that old stereo now gets cranked up sometime between seldom and never.

That electricity, though, it was running from the plug non-stop, even when I wasn’t watching TV.

Take a few minutes and stop that thief from stealing while you are sleeping, out of town or wherever life takes you beyond your television and stereo.

Andy Wappler is a senior public relations manager at Puget Sound Energy. He joined PSE in February 2008 after being chief meteorologist at KIRO-TV. Contact: AskAndy@PSE.com/.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@federalwaymirror.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.federalwaymirror.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in Life

Rajiv Nagaich is an elder law attorney, author, adjunct law school professor, and retirement planning visionary who has achieved national recognition for his cutting-edge work with retirees and his contributions to the practice of elder law. He is the founder of two firms based in Federal Way: Life Point Law, an elder law and estate planning firm, and AgingOptions, a firm that provides retirement-related education to consumers and professionals.
Ask Rajiv: Protecting assets when getting married later in life | Senior Lifestyles

Dear Rajiv: My 88-year-old mother is about to marry a 90-year-old widower.… Continue reading

Olivia Sullivan/the Mirror
Nonprofit founder Cheryl Hurst, center, with volunteers Karlyn Devereaux, Joe Hutchinson, Cari Franklin and Anna Patrick inside an empty retail space in Federal Way where thousands of diapers were stored during the March of Diapers event.
Charity collects almost 400,000 diapers for local families

The results are in! This year’s March of Diapers donation event, hosted… Continue reading

Rajiv Nagaich is an elder law attorney, author, adjunct law school professor, and retirement planning visionary who has achieved national recognition for his cutting-edge work with retirees and his contributions to the practice of elder law. He is the founder of two firms based in Federal Way: Life Point Law, an elder law and estate planning firm, and AgingOptions, a firm that provides retirement-related education to consumers and professionals.
Ask Rajiv: Power of Attorney and sharing financial information | Senior Lifestyles

Dear Rajiv: My question is about the Power of Attorney. My estate… Continue reading

T
King County libraries curate book collections for the community

February’s Black History Month book list includes 25 titles at King County libraries

Teaser
World’s longest surviving kidney patient dies

Mercer Island resident Nancy Spaeth went on dialysis at age 18 and received four kidney transplants.

tsr
Recipe of the Week: Balsamic fig cake

Recipe of the week for Feb. 18.

Photo by Monstera from Pexels
Submit your local love stories

Did you fall in love in Federal Way? Let us know.

The Enumclaw library is passing out free at-home rapid COVID tests. Photo by Ray Miller-Still
8 King County libraries passing out at-home rapid COVID tests

Supply is limited; patrons are asked to limit themselves to two tests per household.

2021 Mazda CX-30 Crossover
Car review: 2021 Mazda CX-30 Crossover

By Larry Lark, contributor The Mazda CX-30 Crossover made its North American… Continue reading

2021 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport
Car review: 2021 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport

By Larry Lark, contributor The Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport full-size SUV has… Continue reading

2021 Lexus RC 350 F Sport
Car review: 2021 Lexus RC 350 F Sport

By Larry Lark, contributor The 2021 Lexus RC 350 F Sport is… Continue reading