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Worst appliances to leave on standby

Ellie MacsymonsEllie Macsymons · May 4, 2022

Did you know your favourite electronics and appliances could be eating away at your energy bill every month? We’re naming the top culprits and simple ways you can put a stop to it.

With the rising cost of energy bills, now more than ever UK households are looking for ways they can reduce their monthly bills and research has found making simple changes around your home could save you up to £147 per year!

British Gas have created their hit list of so-called ‘Vampire Devices’ that are consuming energy around your home without you knowing. These energy-munching appliances include your game consoles, laptops & computers, your TVs and even your printers.

Appliance% of people who leave devices on StandbyAverage hours left on standby in 24-hour periodTotal cost per week on standbyTotal cost per month on standbyTotal cost per year on standby
Television6119.9£0.47£2.05£24.61
Set-top box/ satellite8719.8£0.44£1.92£23.10
Modem/ internet router9218.4£0.36£1.57£18.89
Microwave6123£0.32£1.36£16.37
Games Console8022.2£0.23£1.02£12.17
Computers7920.9£0.21£0.93£11.22
Smart speakers/ smart home devices8021.9£0.17£0.74£8.94
Shower8122.7£0.18£0.81£9.80
Dishwasher8422.6£0.13£0.57£6.86
Tumble dryer7822.8£0.09£0.39£4.79
Washing machine6522.5£0.08£0.38£4.73
Printer6123.3£0.07£0.31£3.81
Mobile device charger4621.6£0.02£0.11£1.26
Total£2.77£12.16£146.53
Research conducted by British Gas in 2022

According to the British Gas Energy Prices and Tariffs, between 9% and 16% of electricity consumed in homes is used to power appliances when they are in standby mode.

Creating new habits like switching electronics off at the mains during the night or buying a smart meter could save you upwards of £146 per year. And with the average household having up to 41 electricals around their home in total, the costs could be even higher!

According to data gathered in 2020, 27 million households across the UK were recorded to have TVs. If 61% of those televisions are left in Standby mode over an average period of 19.9 hours a day (as the data suggests), this could be costing all UK energy bill payers upwards of £405 million each year! And with the number of households with TVs growing every single day, this figure will continue to increase.

Avoid using standby mode

Avoid using standby mode

Although it may be more convenient to leave your TV, Game Consoles & Electricals on standby and wake them up with the press of a button, research has found that you could be forking out up to £24 per year on your TV alone.

Data from British Gas shows that if left on standby for 19.9 hours, TVs could cost you an extra £24.61 a year. Pair this with the £23.10 incurred from leaving set-top boxes on from Sky and Virgin Media and you’ll soon realise you’re wasting £47.71 a year, just in your front room. And if you have a household of gamers, this could be costing you a further £12.17.

Switch electronics off at the mains

Switch electronics off at the mains

While your devices and electricals are plugged in at the mains, they will slowly be draining your power. When not in use, try switching your devices off at the plug rather than leaving them on standby. Or even better, choose appliances & electricals with low standby power usage when buying a new product.

Don’t forget your light switches too. It may sound silly, but you would be surprised by how many of us mindlessly forget to switch off lights when leaving a room.

Use extension leads

Organise your cables

If you’re wanting to get serious about cutting the cost of your electricity bills, investing in some extension leads could be your best bet. Not only can these help you to organise your cables, but they’re also easy to switch off up to 6 devices at once. And the best part is, they’re super cheap to pick up.

Our top tip is to ensure they’re plugged in somewhere easy to reach. The last thing you need before heading up to bed is to pull the sofa or furniture out to reach the plug socket.

Don’t overcharge electronics

Don’t overcharge electronics- laptop

According to British Gas, leaving your computer plugged in charging could be costing you up to £11 for the year. If you have a family computer or a home office where your computer or laptop is constantly plugged into the mains, not only could you be damaging your battery, but racking up an unnecessary cost.

Try to get into the habit of not overcharging your appliances. This applies to things such as your cordless hoovers, phone chargers, smartwatch chargers and electric toothbrushes too. This is also a great tip if you’re looking for how to save money at work too!

Don’t overcharge electronics- mobiles

Calculate how long these appliances take to fully charge and don’t plug them in until they need charging again. iPhones even notify users of estimated charging times, so there’s no excuse to leave yours plugged in all night.

Invest in a Smart Meter

If you’re struggling to pinpoint exactly where your money is being spent on energy, a smart meter is a great way to keep control of everything. They will help you identify where energy is being wasted at different times of the day. You’ll also be able to see how much you’re saving when making these small changes around your home.

Avoid tumble drying on timed cycles

Try and get out of the habit of using timed cycles when drying your clothes and you may see the results on your next utility bill. AO.com says “Your clothes could be dry after an hour and a half, but if you’ve set it on a 2-hour programme, that’s half an hour of wasted energy.” Over drying your clothes can also make them shrink, another costly extra you don’t need.

Get smart when you’re away

Smart Plugs

Make switching everything off at the plug one of your pre-holiday rituals and earn some of your money back while you’re away. Taking just two weeks’ worth of standby costs off your annual usage could save you a hefty sum, so why not make the most of your empty house? 

Holidays are also the perfect time to switch off those life support electricals like internet routers. If you need to leave yours on to keep your smart security devices running, why not flick the upstairs section of your fuse box off instead? This way, you’ll still be saving energy in one area of the house.

Organise your cables

If you’ve got a tangled mess of cables at the back of your TV stand, you may be using this as an excuse to not switch things off. Organise your cables so you know which ones can be turned off at the mains at the end of the day. During your tidy up, you may even find wires that are plugged in for no reason. These could be costing you money so it’s always worth checking.

The location of your electronics is also a major thing to consider. Try to avoid plugging smart devices like Alexas in awkward places that are hard to reach as you’ll end up leaving them on 24/7. Research shows that if smart speakers and devices are left on for the majority of the day they could cost you an extra £8.94 a year.

Appliance Standby FAQs

Does leaving your TV on standby use more electricity?

TVs are one of the most power-hungry entertainment devices you can have in your home. And while you may expect to be paying for your TV when it’s switched on, you probably didn’t realise you are still paying the price when it’s switched off, or on Standby.

In fact, the average house is paying up to £24 extra each year in electricity costs for leaving their TV on standby. And if you have 2 – 3 TVs in your home, this could be costing you up to £72.

If you really want to get savvy, try upgrading your TV from LCD or Plasma to LED TVs as these consume far less energy. This is just one of the many ways you can cut the cost of your utility bills.

Thinking about upgrading TV to an energy effient model? We’ve currently got 10% off selected Samsung Large Screen Televisions with our AO discount code – along with loads of other deals & discounts on energy-efficient appliances.

Does leaving a kettle plugged in use electricity?

Yes. Just like other kitchen appliances and electronics, your kettle eats your energy when left on standby. Leaving your kettle on standby can waste a similar amount of energy to microwaves. Switch them off at the plug and you could save upwards of £15 a year.

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