Kids leaving their games console on standby? It sucks far more energy than any other ‘sleeping’ appliance… and 50 TIMES that of a TV
- Devices left on standby are cost UK households up to £476m a year
- Games consoles cost the most at £231m a year – 60 times more than TVs
- Speakers also cost a lot at £61m whilst microwaves cost £45m
If you ever need an excuse to tell your children to unplug their games console it is this: they suck far more power in standby mode compared to any other appliance, making it bad for the environment.
Devices left on standby drain both energy – known in the industry as vampire energy – and wallets, collectively costing households in Britain nearly half-a-billion pounds a year, new research claims.
Games consoles have been found to be the worst vampire devices, allegedly costing households £231million a year – this is 60 times more than televisions left on standby at £3.9million, according to data from Confused.com.
The exclusive research for This is Money from the comparison website found 68 per cent of households own or use a games console.
Vampire games: Consoles left on standby cost UK households the most amount of money
Games consoles in particular use up plenty of energy when not in use as they still sit in various modes waiting for a command in real time – whether that’s from a remote control or voice command.
They also use this time to check for updates and receive internal messages, continuously sucking up power.
It’s estimated that the Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Wii U together will consume more energy while playing video or in standby mode than they will while playing video games, according to a recent Natural Resources Defense Council report from the US.
Games consoles on standby use 15 megawatts per day in power, according to the study – 50 times the 0.3 televisions use.
The study looked into the key electrical appliances in a typical UK home and asked households to share the amount of hours in a day each of their devices are in use, in standby mode or unplugged.
It surveyed 2,000 people in the UK between 16 to 21 October 2019 to find out how many hours each of these items was used per day.
It asked the respondents which devices they owned and how often they used them and found that, in total, each household drains an average of 135,000 hours a year of unused electricity.
A graph from NRDC shows how much energy games consoles use when they are on standby
It also revealed that some 45 per cent of British households admit to leaving appliances on standby, and 38 per cent leave appliances turned on at the wall.
The extra cost of not switching appliances off was found to come to an average of £45.74 a year – the equivalent of six per cent of a total energy bill.
When looking at which devices cost the most, speakers were the second most costly device setting households back an average of £61million a year whilst microwaves and smart home devices are cost £45million and £29million, respectively.
The table below gives an indication as to the costs of leaving appliances plugged in:
|Amount in watts used when on standby mode or
left plugged in and on but not in use
|Number of hours using unnecessary energy per day
(either left on standby, left on but not in use, or left on charge while fully charged)
|Cost (£) per household per year||Total cost (£) for all households per year|
|Smart home device||2||21.53||£2.83||£29,436,747.82|
|Electric toothbrush (fully charged but on charge)||0.5||22.86||£0.75||£7,813,795.35|
|Electric shaver (fully charged but still on charge)||0.5||22.91||£0.75||£7,830,885.89|
|Printer, shredder, fax machine||0.5||22.71||£0.75||£7,762,523.72|
|Tablet/ iPad (fully charged but still on charge)||0.5||21.82||£0.72||£7,458,312.09|
|Mobile phone (fully charged but still on charge)||0.5||19.86||£0.65||£6,788,362.89|
TVs use the least amount of energy when left on standby, according to data from Confused.com
Digital radios use £15million whilst PC monitors also cost households an average of £7million.
The research also suggests that many households are spending more money on powering devices thanks to the confusion around how much leaving them on standby is adding to their energy bill.
Some 17 per cent of people said they are confused about how much energy appliances use when in standby mode whilst 13 per cent have admitted they are confused about how their energy bill is calculated.
Another 12 per cent are particularly worried that vampire devices are costing them money by using extra energy.
Leaving devices on standby is a bugbear for many, with 22 per cent saying it causes the most arguments in their households.
This figure rises to 25 per cent for 45 to 54 year olds.
Tom Vaughan, head of energy at Confused.com said: ‘Vampires are a very real threat to us all year around.
‘While it doesn’t seem like these devices drain much power individually, it all adds up overtime – especially the more gadgets we add to our collection.’
This is Money previously reported on the myths surrounding vampire energy, with information to not only help educate homeowners about what they can do to trim down their monthly bills but also offers up practical tips to help households reduce their carbon footprint.
Confused.com surveyed 2,000 people in the UK between 16 to 21 October 2019 to find out how many hours each of these items was used per day. It was then able to calculate how many hours these items weren’t in use per day.
To find out how many people have and use devices, it sourced the amount of watts used per each of these common household items when in standby mode or when plugged in at the wall but switched off, from an electrician.
Combined, this gave them an average of 370.43 hours per day – equating to 1,325,206 hours per year. It then worked out the cost of leaving each these items on standby/plugged in at the wall but not in use per year.
Confused.com then worked out the standby cost for each item across all UK households. According to ONS there are 27.6 million households in the UK.
It factored into this that, according to the nationally representative survey, 37.7 per cent of people leave appliances turned on at the wall when not in use. 37.7 per cent of 27.6 million equals 10,405,200 million.
10,405,200 million x standby cost per household per year = total standby cost across all households per item. Combined across all items, the total cost across all households is £475,973,617.
According to the nationally representative survey, people spend £62.75 on their energy bill per month. This means the average energy bill per year is £753. The average cost of standby per household per year is £48.44.
The standby power for the items looked at was based on product specifications from models chosen at random.