How much money will unplugging my TV and accessories save?

How much money will unplugging my TV and accessories save?

A sunny living room with a television and a multimedia console.
Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock.com

Your TV and all the devices plugged into it can easily use 30W or more in standby mode. Unplugging the TV and appliances when you’re not using them can save you over $30 a year.

Televisions and all the various supporting devices and accessories can sustain a startling phantom load, adding to our electricity bills even when we’re not using them. Here’s how much you can save by unplugging them.

Here’s how to estimate your savings

There are so many sizes of TVs with so many different generations of power optimization. Combine that with the huge number of potential accessories that could be part of your general TV setup like consoles, streaming sticks, media receivers, soundbars, set-top boxes, etc., and it becomes impossible for us to give you a clear answer like “You’ll save $38 a year by unplugging everything when you’re not using it.”

But we can talk about the average standby power consumption of common devices so you can roughly estimate how much standby power your media center setup uses in standby mode. And if you want a closer look at your exact hardware, in the next section we’ll look at how to skip the estimate and measure your devices directly.

Let’s first look at the averages of the different devices. Keep a running total of the number of watts (W) for all the devices below that you have. Then, we’ll estimate the cost of their 24/7 inactivity for a year.

The TV: charging in standby ~10 W

Let’s start with the TV itself. The amount of energy TVs use in standby varies greatly.

Some models barely draw power in standby mode and draw less than 1W, while others draw up to 20W. It’s safe to estimate that yours is probably using around 10W.

The decoder: standby load ~ 10 W

Cable and satellite boxes are notorious energy vampires. Fortunately, since the mid-2010s, the situation has improved a lot.

Still, it’s not uncommon to find decoders with idle power consumption as high as 25W, although there are now lighter models with better power optimization that idle around 5 W. It’s safe to estimate that your box is probably using around 10W.

Broadcast Sticks: standby load ~1W

Sticks, dongles and streaming boxes consume very little power. Idle draw is typically 1W or less, and even the most power-hungry models, like the Roku Ultra, still only idle at 3W.

Of all the things you have plugged into your TV, streaming media players have one of the lowest standby power demands.

Game consoles: standby charging ~12 W

If you’ve changed your game console settings to use the most power-efficient options, the idle charge is probably around 0.5-1W.

But if you’re using one of the console’s options like Xbox’s “Instant On” or PlayStation’s “Rest Mode,” you’re using a lot more power to keep the console in an always-ready mode.

Stereo receiver: standby load ~ 25 W

If you have a stereo receiver powering the speakers connected to your TV setup, we encourage you to measure it with the techniques and tools highlighted in the next section. Stereo receivers vary savagely in the amount of standby power they use.

You can have a unit that uses less than 1W of power in sleep mode, or you can have a unit that doesn’t really have a sleep mode to speak of, and leaving it on and ready reduces 75W or more. For the purposes of this estimate, we’re sticking with 25W as the middle ground.

Soundbar: standby load ~ 5 W

Soundbars use less power, most of the time, than stereo receivers, but power consumption is ubiquitous. Some models draw as little as one watt, while others have a much higher standby power of around 10W.

Idle Load Cost Estimate

So let’s collect all these estimated power loads. Let’s say you have the TV (10W), plus a cable box (10W), a game console with a quick start mode (12W), and a streaming stick (1W). That’s 36W of standby power.

Now we just need to use a simple equation, which you’ll be familiar with if you’ve read our guide to measuring your power consumption, to see how much 36W of idle power costs us over the course of a year.

We need to multiply watts by when devices that consume watts are turned on and divide that by 1000 to convert watts to kilowatt-hours (kWh), which is the unit in which your power company charges you. There are 8,760 hours per year. , so we are going to be our time value.

(36W * 8760H)/1000 = 315.36 kWh

Now we just need to multiply the number of kWh by the price charged by our electricity company per kWh. The national average is 12 cents per kWh, so we’ll use that.

315.36 kWh * $0.12 per kWh = $37.84

Over the course of a year, the idle power consumption of our TV and attached accessories burns nearly $38 doing nothing but idle there.

Here’s how to measure exactly how much you’ll save

Estimating is all well and good, but unless you actually measure your devices, you just won’t know the real story. In our experience, the manufacturer-provided sleep numbers are overly generous (and assume you’re using the device with every power-saving option enabled). There is too much variability between devices to get the true answer without measuring.

Fortunately, it is incredibly simple to accurately measure the energy consumption of household appliances.

Whether you want to know how much power your den’s media center is consuming when idle, how much power your movie projector is using while you’re watching a movie, or even something unrelated to media, like how much energy used by your basement dehumidifier. , all you need is a simple power meter and a few minutes of time to find out.

You can test individual devices or you can plug them all, if you want to know how much power all the devices in your media center are using, into one power strip if they are not already plugged into one and test the whole gang at once.

That’s how I discovered that the plethora of consoles, chargers, media players and the like that I hooked up to my main TV, combined with the idle power of the TV itself, was costing me around $40 a year.

And here’s what to do about it

If the culprit is a TV and cable box in a less used area of ​​the house, perhaps a spare bedroom or game room that isn’t used much outside of game days, the obvious solution is just unplug the devices in question and save $20-40 a year or whatever.

If it’s a more frequently used area and you don’t want to have to crawl around to plug things in, you can always put some or all of the devices on a smart strip or smart outlet.

Let’s say your setup only wastes $10 on standby power per year. Even then, a smart plug would pay for itself in a year simply by cutting that waste off the wall.


#money #unplugging #accessories #save

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