Find out how much your flat-screen TV really costs

By now, you may have purchased one of those sharp new flat-panel TV sets. After all, we all like new, shiny and skinny consumer electronics, don't we? What isn't told to you by that electronics sales clerk in most cases is how much that new 47" plasma TV will cost, electricity-wise.

It's hard to imagine that a flat-panel TV would suck up so much electricity -- but yes, they sure do. Plasma TVs for example, require every bit as much electricity as a standard CRT-based television set. Watch a lot of fast-paced movies and play a bunch of wiper-bright video games? That plasma TV may be sucking up to 40% more power during those times.

Finally, LCD TVs are starting to take over for the heavier and more energy-hungry plasma sets, which is not only good for the environment but better for the back. Instead of that 130-pound weight you now need to mount to the wall, an LCD TV may only be about 50 pounds. That's quite a difference, right? Although larger LCD TVs are now becoming the preferred technology for replacing outdated projection and CRT TVs, you still need to be careful about power consumption. As in, not having the TV on when not using it.

Just for comparison's sake, here are the wattage requirements for several common household items. Which would you be willing to seriously look at in terms of trying to cut down that $300/month energy bill? Let me know in comments.
  • 50" plasma TV: 380 watts
  • 100-watt light bulb: 100 watts (heh) -- in a 5-light chandelier: 500 watts
  • Standard double wall oven: 900 watts
  • Electric clothes dryer: 6,000 watts
Looks like that plasma may be your best friend after all -- just turn out all the lights, stop drying the clothes and get the cookies out of the oven before you start that movie.
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