Stop what you’re doing and look around the room you’re currently in at all your electronics that are plugged in but powered off. How many of those electronic devices have LED lights that have a continuous glowing LED on the front panel? Probably all of them right?
Well, that little glowing light doesn’t mean your device is off it means your device is on standby and that standby light is drawing electricity or as it’s more precisely referred to “phantom load” or “vampire draw.”
So, what’s the purpose of standby? Surprisingly it has only a little to do with convenience and more to do with power conversion. Despite many rumours that standby draws the same amount of power when the device is powered on this claim is entirely false. For example, a DVD player when powered on uses about 30 watts of power but when in standby uses only about 1.5 watts of power.
Another example would be a standard LCD computer screen. When the screen is powered on it will average 27.61 watts but could draw as much as 55.48 watts. Now when that same screen is set to standby mode it’s averaging 1.38 watts but even in standby could pull as much as 7.8 watts of power. So if a device uses 1 watt an hour every day for a year with 8,760 hours per year that means the device is drawing 8.76 kilowatts an hour over a course of the year. Now, based on average kilowatt cost of 0.12 cents an hour that comes to an average of $1.05 per year for a device that is just on standby.
Now if you take that $1.05 and count all the devices you have around the house that use standby power the numbers start adding up pretty quickly. 10 electronic devices will cost you $10.50 just for being on standby and if you compound that over 5 years that’s $52.50. Now that “phantom load” doesn’t seem so trivial anymore, does it?
So how do you prevent your hard earned money from getting sucked out through your electric lines?
Smart Power Strips
One option is to invest into a smart power strip that will actually shut off all devices that are plugged into it when the main device (a TV for example) is switched off. So when the TV goes off so do all the peripherals and the beauty of the smart power strip is that it actually shuts off electric flow so no power loads are actually being drawn.
The easiest solution by far is the simplest solution and it doesn’t cost you a cent.
Just unplug devices that aren’t in use and plug them back in when you’re ready to use them. it’s really that simple. Sure there’s a minor inconvenience of having to constantly plug and unplug your electronic devices and depending on how money conscience will determine how far you’re willing to go to save money in the long run.