Climaneed blog - Leaving Appliances in Standby Mode? Here’s How it Can Affect the Environment

Leaving Appliances in Standby Mode? Here’s How it Can Affect the Environment

You turned off the lights, your computer, washing machine, and other electrical appliances before going to bed. You used a remote to turn off the television. Everything appears quiet. But, is it? Even though everything might look alright after you have turned off your electrical appliances, there is at least one appliance running in the standby mode and draining a significant amount of electricity. You don’t know it because you have already turned off everything before going to bed. Just because you don’t hear the sound of a running electrical appliance doesn’t mean everything is off. Your electrical bill keeps rising until you switch off the plugs. 

This is called Phantom Load. It doesn’t only happen at night, but every time you forget to switch off the power plug, the appliance will keep draining electricity. That’s one of the reasons people get high energy bills. Put it this way, your electrical appliances keep consuming energy when they are turned off but plugged into the power outlet. You are not using these appliances and apparently, they are inactive, but they are still adding to your energy bills. Now, it doesn’t only affect your electricity bills, but leaving multiple electrical devices plugged into the socket can increase your carbon footprint too. Let’s see how leaving your electrical devices on standby can contribute to the environmental impact and climate change.

Make Sure To Unplug Standby Electrical Appliances

Environmental Impact of Standby Electrical Appliances

The standby electrical devices account for 1,375 billion kWh of electricity consumed in the US. Additionally, it results in 15% of all types of greenhouse gas emissions and 1 billion tons of CO2 emission, according to a report published by NRDC. The worst part is that these devices can cost Americans $19 billion annually. The same study shows that a vast majority of American homeowners keep a couple of their electrical appliances on, even when they are inactive. 

These always-on devices cost an average American $165 annually on electricity bills. Some people leave these units on because they don’t know these appliances still consume energy, while others forget to unplug them. Whatever the reason is, any electrical appliance that’s plugged into the socket can consume electricity and keeps draining it until it is unplugged from the power outlet. 

According to the research by NRDC, if consumers start taking action on these standby electrical appliances, they can save up to $8 billion on energy bills every year. Not only does it reduce their energy bills, but it will also benefit the environment. You can save up to 64 billion kWh of electricity annually by keeping these appliances off (not only inactive but plugged off). So, by taking this small step, you can reduce your annual electricity bills and do your part for the planet. If you are not sure where to start, this post is for you. 

Below we have listed a few ways you can embrace a green lifestyle and prevent unnecessary consumption of electricity from the standby electrical appliances. Let’s take a look:

Unplug the Devices

It isn’t only the standby devices that increase your energy consumption, but nearly every electrical appliance that you consciously decide to keep active also contributes to your monthly energy consumption. The best example is your refrigerator. It stays on around the clock. Think about the last time you turned off your fridge. Chances are you never did. Your television (set-top box, to be more precise) is another electrical device that exhausts a considerable amount of energy and is left running the whole day. 

Sadly, people don’t even bother to turn off these devices. That’s not the worst part. People don’t turn off their wireless router even when they are not home. Of course, you can’t keep the Wi-Fi router off because you have to stay connected to smart home appliances, but some people simply keep them active because they are unaware of its environmental impact. Others don’t mind paying a few extra bucks on their electricity bills.

Some people have even admitted that they keep the appliances on because plugging them off frequently is a hassle. They’d rather prefer paying extra on utility bills than plug on and off their TV, fridge, and Wi-Fi router every few hours. 

Cables for Electrical Appliances

Audit Your Electrical Appliances

There’s nothing you can do about the standby appliances draining electricity. The only way you can make a difference is by plugging each appliance off. But, that can be too much work. Plus, nobody has time to keep switching every electrical unit on and off repeatedly. So, the best thing you can do is audit your electrical appliances. 

Buy a smart meter and download apps that show you the list of electrical appliances with the total power each one consumes every day. You will be surprised to discover your energy consumption from devices that you barely use, but are always on the standby mode. The smart meter will pay for itself over time. It will help you track the monthly electricity consumption from different devices, so you can know which devices are exhausting most of the electricity and keep them off.

Use the Extension Lead

The multi-socket adaptor comes in handy when you have multiple electrical appliances to charge and fewer sockets. For example, if you have 4-5 smartphones and two power outlets, your best bet is to use an extension lead. Not only are they convenient, but they can save a considerable amount of energy. Instead of having to plug off different devices, you only have to flick a single switch. This saves energy and allows you the convenience of charging all mobiles, laptops, and other devices using a single socket.

Replace Your Old Electrical Devices

Older and larger devices tend to consume a significant amount of power when they are inactive and plugged on. For instance, your two-decade-old television in the bedroom will likely consume more power than the laptop charger that you recently bought. Another way to know if a device consumes too much energy is by checking it manually. Check the power adaptor. If it is hot, it is consuming a lot of energy. 

As a general rule, the larger the electrical appliance, the more energy it will drain, and the higher your energy bills will be. The worst thing you can do is keep them plugged on throughout the day. Check out the electricity consumption from each electrical appliance using an electricity tracking mobile app and replace the older devices with energy-efficient models. Incandescent light is a good place to start. You can replace them with LED lights. 

A Standby Saver

Use Standby Saver

Commonly known as energy-saving plugs, a standby saver is a device installed between the electrical outlet and your appliance. With a single press of a remote button, the standby power saver will turn off the device, saving you the time of plugging off different devices manually. 

These devices come in handy for power sockets located in hard-to-reach areas. People avoid plugging off an appliance when the socket is tucked away behind furniture or is in areas that you can’t access easily. With a standby saver, all you have to do is press the button on your remote and it will be automatically turned off. You only need to access the socket once, i.e. at the time of installing the power saver between the socket and the appliance.

Use Automatic Sleep Mode for Your Computer

You might think screen saver is saving power in the background, but they are just another program that needs the power to run. You should rather focus on the automatic sleep mode for your computer so that your screen turns off automatically once it has reached the inactivity period set by you. 

Establish a time by which you want your computer screen off. Usually, 15-20 minutes work for most gamers, professionals, and other users. You could also set a keyboard shortcut for putting your screen into sleep mode so that you can turn off your device manually when you know you will not use it for a while.

Do Not Charge Your Mobile Overnight

Likewise, your mobile chargers tend to exhaust a lot of energy when they are left plugged into the socket overnight. Most people have a habit of charging their mobiles overnight, as they use them in the daytime. It is just a waste of energy. You see, the new smartphones have the ability to get charged fairly quickly. In fact, most smartphones come equipped with a fast-charging feature that replenishes their battery in less than an hour. So, there is no reason why you should keep your phone plugged into the socket overnight.

Bottom Line

Even small things like forgetting to switch off your power plugs can make a world’s difference to your environmental impact. New electrical appliances come with advanced electricity-saving features that must be initiated by the user. So, check your new electrical appliances to see if they offer these features. Follow the above tips for reducing your environmental impact from the standby devices and save money on utility bills.

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