18 Appliances You Should Never Leave On

Rob Leung

Household appliances often use electricity when they are not in use. This phantom power use drives up electricity bills and your home’s carbon footprint. Some appliances are also a fire risk when they are left on. Here are 18 household appliances you should ensure are turned off to keep costs down and avoid fire risk.

Space Heaters

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CNET argues that while space heaters are great for warming drafty areas of homes and can save on energy costs during the winter, they “also pose a serious fire hazard.” They recommend unplugging space heaters when they are not in use and avoiding leaving them unattended.

Hair Straighteners and Curling Irons

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Curling irons and hair straighteners can reach 428°F, making them a potential fire risk if not unplugged and stored in a heat pouch after use. They can also drive up your electricity bills if left plugged in for hours, so ensure they are unplugged when not in use.

Ovens

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Heat from the oven left on for a prolonged period can damage the temperature dials, causing electrical malfunctions and potentially fires. Gas ovens are also an obvious fire risk if left unattended. Try to get into the habit of double-checking that the oven is turned off after using it to keep your bills down and prevent fires.

Toasters

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Dualit recommends turning off your toaster before cleaning it and warns that full crumb trays “can cause large bread crumbs to get stuck in your toaster and risk catching fire.” To prevent fires, regularly empty the tray and turn off the toaster when it’s not in use.

Coffee Makers

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Coffee makers can overheat if they are left on for too long and cause fires, especially if the vents in the machine are blocked. Choose models with an automatic shutoff feature to prevent unintentional overheating.

Dishwashers

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Failing to turn off a dishwasher can lead to water leaks or flooding, especially if it is malfunctioning. This could increase your energy and water bills, so it’s best to make sure your dishwasher is off and the door is properly closed after each cycle.

Washing Machines

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If your washing machine has to be turned off manually, leaving it on will increase water and energy use and potentially cause flooding. Ensure you use full loads when putting on a cycle, and turn the machine off when it’s finished.

Irons

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Leaving an iron unattended is dangerous. If it’s resting on a surface, especially a flammable surface, it can cause fires. Electrical Safety First advises never leaving an iron unattended and consistently unplugging it when unused. Look for irons with automatic shutoff features that minimize fire risk.

Dryers

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Dryers that won’t turn off without the door open usually have defective motor relays, broken door switches, or timer malfunctions. Unplug your dryer from the wall if it won’t stop running, and call a maintenance specialist to avoid high energy usage.

Microwave Ovens

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Unplugging your microwave when it’s not in use will help you keep electricity costs down by avoiding the standby power used to maintain its memory and clock. Unplug your microwave to reduce the amount of wasted energy and avoid this unnecessary expense.

Stovetops

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The Hartford writes, “Stovetops are among the most dangerous appliances in any household, causing 62 percent of all house fires and 87 percent of household fire deaths.” They advise never leaving a stovetop unattended to prevent kitchen fires.

Air Conditioners

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Air conditioners are indispensable during hot summer nights. However, leaving them on for long periods can lead to dryness and respiratory infections for some and will drive up energy bills. Timers or smart home systems can manage AC usage effectively.

Fans

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Kenner Electrics notes that while ceiling fans are designed to run for long periods of time, continuously running them will reduce their lifespans and drive up electricity costs. It’s best to turn them off when you are not home or when temperatures are milder.

Home Entertainment Systems

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TVs and gaming consoles consume power when in standby mode, so unplugging or turning them off at the switch will help keep costs down. Regularly doing this will also reduce your temptation to procrastinate and limit your screen time.

Computers and Laptops

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Shutting down computers and laptops when they’re not in use will save you energy costs and can prolong their lifespan by avoiding overheating. Neuways notes that turning your computer and laptop off daily keeps them running smoothly and clears their memory.

Electric Toothbrushes and Shavers

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It’s tempting to leave these devices on the charger in your bathroom so that they’re always fully charged when you use them. However, constantly leaving them on the charger can degrade their battery life, use excess energy, and increase the risk of electrical faults if your bathroom floods.

Water Heaters

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Turning off water heaters at night will help keep bills down and reduce your home’s carbon footprint in the process. It will also reduce the unit’s wear and tear, helping to expand its lifespan.

Electric Blankets

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Electric blankets are great for keeping warm during the winter, but they cause hundreds of fires in the U.S. every year. Once they have heated up, turn them off at the switch to keep energy costs down and prevent potential fires.