Did you know that a TV consumes some power on standby mode, the time when you switch it off using the remote control (the green light changes to red) and do not turn off the main switch on the wall? Just like TVs, most other appliances, such as set top boxes, phone chargers, laptop cords, washing machines, microwave ovens etc. also waste power when the switch is not turned off or the cord is not unplugged. This wasted power is also known as ‘Vampire Power’ and it costs Americans a huge $19 billion in energy every year. That’s tons of CO2 emitted.
How Much Power And Money Is Wasted?
On an individual scale, the power wasted is very low if all your appliances are new. Even then, if your TV is on standby mode, it will consume one watt, which is about INR 100 a year. Once you add up all other appliances you leave on standby, the cost per year will be a couple of hundreds or early thousands – for doing nothing! Older appliances are worse, some can consume around 12 watts on standby. This means they can add around INR 1000 in a year.
While it may not look like a lot of money if you consider each appliance individually, taken together, it is still a considerable amount. Especially when just turning off that switch can help save energy and our planet.
Unplug Or Switch Off?
Both are exactly the same. When you turn off the switch on the wall, a gap is created in the electrical circuit and no current flows. ‘Unplug’ as a term is popular because in some countries, most plug-points do not have a switch. They are forever ‘on’. If you have such a plug-point, you should unplug to save energy or connect a switch to it.
There is a small fire risk with appliances, particularly with older ones, being left on standby. There is almost zero danger if they are switched off or unplugged.
We know that unplugging is not very convenient, so the simplest way is to add a switch if you don’t have one and turn it off after every use. You can also use smart power strips that turn off a device when they are in standby for a long time. Also, if you’re using a normal power strip or ‘extension cord’, make sure it has switches for every slot you use, else plug out. For example, if you have the laptop, printer, and wifi router on the same power strip, your printer consumes power staying on standby while you are not using it at all. Either unplug it or replace the power strip with one that has individual switches.
Switching off won’t take any extra effort, but can save you a good amount of money at the end of each year, for a quick eating out or shopping trip 😉