Best Way to Reduce Electricity Consumption - Turning Off Appliances on Standby
Reduce Phantom Energy Consumption
Did you know that some appliances, e.g. TVs, use up to 30% of the energy while on standby that they use while fully turned on? Anything with a little "red eye" LED can be sucking power while asleep.
This is sometimes called vampire or phantom power and if you have a lot of gadgets and appliances, the energy usage can mount up.
Photo of traditional main switch
Photo of modern power switch button
Photo of apliance showing red light + caption "I'm a vampire!"
Main Power Switch on Appliances
In the old days everything had a power switch. This included desktop PCs, TVs etc. The switch was connected to the incoming power line so when you switched off, the power consumption was zilch because everything was totally switched off.
Vampire Power - Pull the Plug and Cut Down on Your Electricity Consumption
Nowadays many devices don't have a mains switch. Instead a momentary push button is used and this controls whether the appliance is fully powered up or on standby. When a user presses the button, embedded software within the device detects the press and forces it to power up or go into standby. Alternatively in devices without microprocessors or micro-controllers, pressing the button forces the electronics into a low power state. The electronics which monitors this button uses some power, however the majority of the energy usage is due to the fact that a device is on standby and its power supply is active
What Devices are "Vampires"
TVs, HIFI systems, video recorders, DVD recorders/players, Blu-ray players, surround sound systems, satellite and terrestrial decoders, computer printers etc.
Basically anything which uses an LED indicator (usually red) to show that it is asleep and in standby mode. If an appliance can be switched off using a remote control, electronic circuitry must be active in order to detect the infra-red signal from the remote when someone switches the appliance back on again. This circuitry uses energy but other circuitry may also be enabled so that the device powers up quickly when switched on.
Even if a device cannot be put into standby, it may still consume electricity. So for instance microwave ovens or anything else with a clock or other type of display falls into this category. The consumption of electricity by the display electronics may be quite small however and the only way you can check is by using an energy monitoring adapter. You can read about these on my hub here:
Even if standby power of an individual device is relatively low, if you have lots of appliances and gadgets plugged in, energy wastage over time can mount up.
Keeping Away the Vampires
What can you do to prevent this waste of energy? Simply pull the plug on appliances at night or when there is no need to have them switched. Also check with an energy monitoring adapter whether the electricity consumption is significant.
What is the Disadvantage of Pulling the Plug on Appliances?
Well basically some older devices such as video recorders may lose their time and date setting on the display. Newer devices often have a back up battery which preserves the time.
Satellite and terrestrial decoder boxes may take anything between 10 and 30 seconds to scan and save channel settings when re-powered.
If you found this interesting and useful, you might like to read some related Hubs on this subject:
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