Sunday 17 December 2017

Switch off

You can save 20 per cent of your appliances' energy use by switching it from standby to off. We outline why you should banish the little red light

Standby power is electricity used by appliances and entertainment devices while they are switched off and not performing their primary function. This power is used when the appliance uses electricity needed to receive a remote signal or to display a status light. In many cases this standby power is installed for convenience, but how useful is it in the long run?

It may be hard to believe but did you know that the average microwave oven consumes more electricity powering its display clock than it does heating food? Heating food consumes in excess of 100 times more energy than running the digital clock, however a typical microwave stands idle around 99 per cent of the time. This means the standby mode eats more electricity than the energy used to cook your food!

And it's not just the microwave, your house is filled with appliances and devices that spend a large majority of their time on standby mode. Everything from televisions to computers and stereos to DVD players consume a lot of energy when they are sitting idle and unused.

Figures don't lie

On average, 75 per cent of the electricity used to power appliances and devices in the home is used up while the product is "turned off". For example, the average laptop uses 20 watts of electricity when on standby and a typical desktop computer uses 80 watts. Some games consoles use up to 200 watts of electricity when on standby, that's nearly as much as when they're in use!

A television left on standby still uses about 20 per cent of the electricity needed to power it while it is on.

What can you do?

The little red light can be a real pain to deal with. Remembering to tackle it isn't easy, but by knowing how to change you can significiantly reduce your standby usage. Here are some handy tips to help!

nFor devices that you don't frequently use make sure they are unplugged. If you have a television in the spare room, or a DVD player that has been ousted by your smart TV, make sure to pull the plug. You can always rig them back up if you have guests or you fancy watching a movie from your old collection!

nDon't forget, everything can be turned off. When your WIFI router or cordless telephone isn't in use, switch it off!

nInvest in a wattmeter. You can use this to gauge just how much certain appliances drain when not in full use. You might be surprised at just how energy zapping certain appliances in your home can be, and this can help remind you which device needs to be shut off.

nUse a multiple socket power adapter with a switch for all your home entertainment system. With the stereo, TV, DVD player and satellite box all plugged into the same place you can easily switch them all off when they're not in use.

nWhen shopping for new appliances and devices make sure to search for low standby products. Many low standby devices use a single watt of electricity or less, and this significantly reduces bills.

Irish Independent

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