Appliances to Unplug When You Leave the Cabin

Take these steps before you leave for the season.

Many of us keep appliances we rarely use plugged in out of convenience. You might be wondering, does unplugging appliances actually matter? Yes, absolutely it does.

Unplugging unused appliances can save you from $100 to $200 annually in the U.S., according to Shipley Energy. Large household appliances alone, even when not in use, can eat up a lot of energy. A common phrase for appliances that suck energy in the background is phantom power. This Family Handyman article explains how much electricity each appliance uses.

Saving energy is one reason why you should unplug appliances before you close up your cabin for the season. And there’s more to this than just helping your wallet. Unplugging appliances can prolong their life and protect them from power surges.

So before you leave your cabin for the season, check this list for all the appliances you should unplug.

Large Appliances

For obvious reasons, large appliances add the most to your energy bill, starting with your kitchen or laundry appliances. Besides shutting off the power to those appliances, be sure to cut off running water to them. You don’t want to come back next year to a flooded cabin.

Large appliances to unplug include:

  • Dryer;
  • Washing machine;
  • Dishwasher;
  • Refrigerator/freezer;
  • Stove/oven.

Note: When you unplug your refrigerator or freezer, leave the doors open prevent mold or odors from forming. Also remove and dispose of any uneaten food. recommends buying Energy Star appliances, which collectively can save thousands over the lifetime of the appliances.

Small Appliances

Don’t forget your the small appliances, too. Those include:

  • Space heater;
  • Lamps;
  • Microwave;
  • Toaster;
  • Coffee maker;
  • Blender.

Entertainment Systems

Your favorite entertainment systems drain energy as well, and can be susceptible to a power surge if they are not plugged into a surge protector. These can include:

  • Television;
  • Sound systems;
  • Internet router;
  • Desktop computer;
  • Projectors;
  • Electronic charging devices

Smart power strips, however, are often fine to leave plugged in. Instead of unplugging each device from the power strip, simply turn off the strip.

Alex Shoemaker
Alex is an avid DIYer but had little experience before purchasing his first home in 2019. A Family Handyman subscription was one of his first purchases after becoming a homeowner, and he's been hooked ever since. When he’s not working, he can be found fixing up his 1940s Florida home or relaxing on the beach with his family.