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Blog Post Thursday 27 September 2018

Saving Energy: Does It Help If You Turn Devices Off At the Wall?

Saving Energy: Does It Help If You Turn Devices Off At the Wall?

If you're looking for one simple thing you can do to save on your power bill, here it is: switch off at the socket. Take a look around your home and you'll probably realise you've got quite a few devices on standby mode. Leaving your appliances on standby mode means you're paying for phantom load or vampire power - simply for the convenience of a quick startup when you need to use the device. The solution? Develop a few easy habits to switch off at the wall and start saving on energy costs today.

What's standby power and how can you tell when it's on?

Standby power means your device or appliance isn't performing its primary function but is left on an idle mode that drains energy. Most devices will give an indication they're on standby. For example, your TV might have a red light. However, it’s not always easy to tell if something is in standby since some devices won't have any indicators and the only way to tell might be to use a smart plug to track its energy consumption.

What's standby power costing you?

The average Aussie home has around 30 devices idling and using up power on standby. Standby power costs Aussie households an estimated $860 million each year. It accounts for some 6% of total energy consumption in offices. In households, it accounts for 5.9% and as much as 10% of power bills.

Your household could save anywhere from $100 a year by switching everything off at the wall. You'll help the environment too, with your household saving 1000 kg of carbon dioxide emissions each year.

Which standby appliances are costing you the most?

You'll probably be surprised at which devices are costing you the most when it comes to standby-power use. Choice has crunched the numbers, here’s what you need to know:

  • Multifunction printer - Your home office multifunction printer could be costing you as much as $118.24 annually left on standby.
  • Wireless VoIP router - A wireless VoIP router left on standby could be adding $25.40 to your total annual power costs.
  • Speaker docks - Your speaker docks might be costing you $19 left in standby mode each year.
  • Washing machine - Your washing machine might be adding $7.60 a year to your bill.
  • Microwave oven - Leaving your microwave oven in standby mode could be adding $4.72 to your bill each year.

Other entertainment devices like sound bars ($4.50 a year) and games consoles ($3.12 a year) might also be adding a few extra dollars to your power bills. DVR, Blu-Ray players, home theatre systems, and TV tend to be more efficient in standby mode, but they still use power in standby.

Coffee machines and small heaters are also likely to be big standby-power drainers. Your dishwasher ($2.12 a year), air conditioner ($1.08 a year), and clothes dryer ($1.72 a year) are slightly more efficient in standby mode. While a few dollars a year per appliance doesn’t sound like a lot, it can quickly add up if you have dozens of small appliances consistently left in standby mode.

The standby-power usage of your appliances will vary depending on brand, model, and specs, but with these figures, you could save almost $200 by switching off at the socket.

Easy tips for managing standby power

You wouldn't leave the lights on when you're leaving, so why keep appliances on standby when they're not in use? Of course turning off at the power plug every time can be a hassle, so try these tips to make your life simpler.

  • Use a timer - Set a timer for the hours you're usually out of the house. In the workplace, timers are great for items you need on only during office hours, like hot water urns, signage, and promotional screens.
  • Standby energy score - Choose the appliance with the lowest standby energy score when shopping for a new appliance. If there's no score, check the product specs for standby-power-consumption figures. One watt or less is a low figure.
  • Use power boards - Use power boards for items you use at the same time, like TVs and gaming gadgets. This means you only have to flick off one switch each time. If the power plug is hard to reach, use remote-controlled plugs.
  • Power-saving mode - Some items like computers, monitors, photocopiers, faxes, televisions and sound systems now come with efficient, almost zero power usage in standby mode, so activate these. Other devices have a self-switch-off option where they can automatically switch off when in left standby for a certain period of time.
  • Fridges - Some appliances are designed to be left on all the time. For devices that aren’t turned off, like fridges, you can save more by looking for the best combination of lowest running cost and performance when shopping.

Switching off at the wall and avoiding standby mode is an easy way to save on your power bill. By understanding which devices are vampire-load drainers and making an effort to switch, you could end up saving money and helping out the environment.

Click Energy is a 100% online energy retailer, and we're committed to making electricity as simple as possible for our customers. As we're 100% online, we offer competitive plans, great pay-on-time discounts, and outstanding email and phone-based support. Check out our great value energy plans or get a quick quote now.