While taking steps to keep bills low, like limiting your daily water usage, using a smart thermostat, or even installing more energy-efficient appliances, there’s a potentially significant drain on electricity going unnoticed right in plain sight – appliances on standby.
This can be a real nuisance and can stealthily leak small amounts of usable electricity every month.
Although these appliances are not likely to be the main culprit causing high electricity bills, fighting switching them off should be a key component in all households’ energy-saving toolkit.
Eric Bramlett, an estate agent and owner of Bramlett Residential, has shared the top five appliances you “should never” leave on standby and why it’s important to switch them off.
1. Games consoles
Powerful game consoles have important power-saving features, but also some significant issues.
They feature an on/off button, which puts the console into a standby mode with less than one watt of power usage.
Unfortunately, many users don’t turn the units off, or turn off the television but leave the console powered up – a costly mistake.
When speaking about game consoles, Eric said: “They can be real energy hogs on standby. A client of mine saw their energy bills drop after turning off their console when not in use.”
According to the experts at the Energy Saving Trust, game consoles account for around six percent of an energy bill. This may not seem like a lot but over time, switching this appliance off can save a noticeable amount of money.
The expert added that households shouldn’t forget to update the reconciles as this “can improve energy management”.
2. Cable or satellite boxes
These appliances can draw “a lot of energy” even when idle, claimed Eric. He said: “A friend of mine found that unplugging their cable box when not in use made a difference in their monthly energy bills.”
These use the same amount of energy as game consoles when left on standby.
3. Older appliances
When electrical appliances age, they lose their efficiency and to function properly they start consuming a lot of energy. There can be several malfunctioning parts that result in the consumption of more energy.
One particular appliance this relates to is an old fridge. While this appliance should not be switched off, households should consider upgrading to a newer, more efficient model.
4. Microwave ovens
According to the expert, microwave ovens actually consume power even when not in use, mainly to power the clock display.
Fortunately, unplugging the microwave or using a power strip to turn it off can help conserve energy and “lower your electricity bill”.
5. Desktop computers on standby
Desktop computers are said to be more power-hungry than laptops, so it’s important to always switch them off.
Eric said: “Don’t even get me started on those. Just shut them down when you’re done using them and watch your bills melt away.”