Appliances Still Use Power When Turned Off

Smart Surge ProtectorA lot of people think when they turn off an electrical appliance that it doesn’t use any power. Time to think again, most electrical devices in your home still use electricity while turned off! Crazy! Some appliances never actually turn off, they are still consuming power in a standby power mode. Some electrical appliances in your home aren’t in a standby power mode, but still consume power because the way their power supplies are built. This is called many things, vampire energy, phantom energy, electricity leak, or leaking electricity. Continue reading this go green tip to learn how you can save electricity and save money!

What Electrical Appliances Still Use Electricity When Turned Off

Any electrical device that has an external power supply connected to it will still use electricity while powered off. Such as cellphone chargers, computer speakers, any of those electrical devices with a cubed power supply on it. Also any electrical appliances that have a clock, LED, light, or LCD panel on it will also still use electricity while turned off. Such as microwaves, coffee makers, TVs, VCR’s, DVD players, etc. Also any devices that have a standby or sleep power modes will still consume electricity. Most TV’s and set top cable boxes never actually turn off, they just go into a standby mode. Computer monitors and computers are the same. Most computers will still keep power to the motherboard for different functions such as ethernet cards/network cards, modems, USB hubs, etc.

How Much Energy is Consumed by Appliances While Turned Off

The electricity consumed by electrical appliances while they are turned off depends on the electrical appliance. The range of electricity used by these electricity leaking appliances are anywhere from 1 watt to 50 watts of electricity! Now 1 watt doesn’t sound like a lot, which it isn’t, but when you have 20+ electrical appliances in your home using just 1 watt of power, that’s 20 watts being used!

A single cellphone charger will consume 1 watt while plugged into the wall, even without a phone plugged into it! The same cellphone charger will also consume 4.5 watts of electricity with a cellphone plugged into it that is already fully charged! The same cellphone charger will consume 8 watts of power while charging a cellphone.

A stand-alone DVR set top box will consume 48.5 watts of power while turned off. A digital cable DVR set top box will consume 43.5 watts of electricity while turned off, while a digital cable box without DVR will consume 33 watts of electricity. A satellite set top box with or without DVR will consume 33.5 watts of power while turned off.

Almost everyone has a TV in their home, so how much electricity do TVs consume while turned off? Rear projection TV will consume 48.5 watts of electricity while it is turned off! A standard CRT TV will consume 13 watts while turned off.

Most of you will have a mini stereo system, one of those with speakers, CD player, AM/FM radio, etc all built into one unit. They will consume 24.5 watts of power while turned off! I’m sure most of you have one of these in your bedroom, living room, or kids bedroom.

A home theatre audio receiver that most of you will have hooked up to your TV in your living room will consume 19.5 watts of electricity while it is turned off.

So with just the few things I’ve mentioned here, that’s a total of $127.69/year just for  electrical devices turned off for 16 hours every day. Most of you probably have more than 1 of each of those items in your home that are turned off, but still plugged in consuming power.

How Much Money Do These Appliances Consume While Turned Off

So now I’m going to calculate an average family of 4, and see how much electricity is leaking in their home, and how much it costs them. Well the parents are leaking 2369.74 kWh a year of electricity, which costs $236.97/year! Each of the children leak around 920.43 kWh of power each year, which costs $92.04 each child! So we have a total of $421.05/year being wasted because of electricity leaking on your electrical devices in your home!

How Can I Save Money by Stopping Electricity Leaking Appliances

There are 3 ways you can save money and save electricity by stopping these electrical appliances from leaking electricity. I will provide all 3 methods of stopping electrical devices from leaking electricity so you can save electricity. Some methods work better than others, but are not as convenient.

The cheapest and most effective is just by unplugging electrical appliances when you are not using them, which can become a major pain.This method works great as there will be no electrical usage at all since the electrical appliance is completely unplugged and can not use any electricity at all. As this method is the cheapest as you don’t have to buy anything new.

The next cheapest and least effective method is buying a standard surge protector and plugging your devices into surge protectors, when not in use, turn off the power switch which will cut off power to all the devices plugged into the power strip. Standard power strips and surge protectors are priced well and will pay for themselves if you turn them off and stop your electrical appliances from using electricity while turned off. The reason this method is not as effective as you would think, is that each surge protector will still consume electricity, so even though all your electrical appliances are not, the surge protector will still consume around 6 watts of electricity. So it is still a great method to use and cheap as well.

The next cheapest method and second most effective is using a smart power strip or smart surge protector. The smart surge protectors will cut off power automatically to only the devices that are turned off, while still powering the devices that are turned on and in use! These smart surge protectors cost about the same or slightly more than regular surge protectors, but use less electricity and you don’t have to turn off the power button when you’re done with your devices, just simply turn that appliance off! The smart surge protectors will still consume electricity when not in use, but not as much as normal surge protectors. The smart surge protectors will consume around 1 watt while in use, and less than 0.25 watts while turned off!


129 Responses to “Appliances Still Use Power When Turned Off”

  1. Kanti Says:

    The best policy is to remember every time you turn on you
    remember to turn the switch off. #Thanks

  2. Jenny Says:

    No….I mean, does an appliance still hold a charge when unplugged? My food processor was unplugged and turned off and it cut m finger OFF!!! Thank God it was reattatched, but it will never be the same. I am asking because I am wonderng if this has ever happened to anyone else, or heard of this happening. Powered off & unplugged! Thank you

  3. Go Green In Your Home Says:

    Some appliances will still hold a charge when unplugged. Usually this is because there is a slow leaking capacitor in the unit, which will store electricity. Usually this is not very much electricity, but could be enough to make the blade spin a few times. I wouldn’t think a food processor would have any larger capacitors that could hold enough power to turn the motor on as that is a safety hazard. Most units that have the potential to injure someone like a food processor would have the mains enter the unit, go to a power switch/variable switch, then directly to motor. This way there is no electricity being stored anywhere.

  4. teh fix0r Says:

    @Jenny, well I hope your finger is doing well, I wouldnt want to be a girl without fingers, might get boring.

  5. saver Says:

    if i turned off my wall switch will the appliances plugged into it still use power ?

  6. Go Green In Your Home Says:

    If the wall switch turns off power to the outlet the appliances are plugged into then no those appliances will not use power as the switch basically “unplugs” them.

  7. ajay Says:

    hi good to hear your comments and experience…while i promote and use solar powered products since i manufacture them, i feel it is a great way of saving this planet for the future generations…i have always been confused about the fact that is the power still being consumed when the plug is still into the wall bracket but the on / off switch is off…or should the plug itself from the wall socket should be taken out and when needed, we put the plug back into the wall and switch on…cheers…ajay

  8. Go Green In Your Home Says:

    Depends which on/off switch you are talking about? If the electrical device’s on/off switch is turned off the device will not consume power, IF the on/off switch disconnects total power. If the device is wired.. from wall plug, to switch on device, then to rest of circuitry. But if the device is wired.. from wall plug to circuit, then switch, it will still consume power even if turned off. The only way these types of devices will not consume power is if they are unplugged, the outlet is connected to a wall switch, or the device is plugged into a surge protector and the surge protector is a smart surge protector, or switched off. But remember the surge protector maybe switched off, but it will still consume power.

    Example, powering off a desktop computer will still consume power, unless you turn off the toggle switch on the back of the power supply. This toggle switch will disconnect all power before it touches any resistors, capacitors, etc.

  9. lollypop Says:

    this site is really helpful, but could someone please include ways to help people remeber to turn house hold appliances off, thank you

  10. Paul Says:

    If a circuit is closed it will consume energy. If it is open it will not.

  11. Go Green In Your Home Says:

    Lollypop,
    Best I can say is look at your electric bill then look at your bank account, think of what you could have saved!

  12. Teresa Says:

    Would you recommend unplugging something like a laptop at the outlet or would unplugging the laptop charger at its port on the laptop do the same to reduce phantom energy use? Is one way of unplugging a laptop better than the other?

  13. Go Green In Your Home Says:

    Teresa,
    You would either have to unplug the charger from the outlet, or unplug the cord from the charger (the cord that runs from outlet to charger, if this cord unplugs on your charger) some of them are built in. Unplugging the laptop does nothing, it’s not the laptop eating the power when it’s turned off, its the power supply (usually black box). Hope this helps you! Have a great day!

  14. Teresa Says:

    Awesome! Thanks for the help!

  15. Rowan Says:

    Hi,

    The TV in my living room is a 6-7 year old 20″ CRT model. It is always turned off (front panel switch) when not in use, never left on standby (button on remote). Could it still be using power when its plugged in? I’m guessing the tube is powered from the AC mains but the electronics run on DC so would use a transformer? There doesn’t seem to be any “humming” from the TV when switched off. Thanks in advance :-)

  16. Go Green In Your Home Says:

    Rowan,
    If you can turn the TV on from your remote when turning off by the switch on front panel than yes it still uses power. If you can’t turn on the TV when you turn it off from switch on front panel then most likely the switch on front disconnects the AC before it hits a transformer, therefore it will not consume electricity while turned off. If there are any lights, leds, lit up while in this mode power is still going through a transformer and using power.

  17. Rowan Says:

    Thanks, my TV is like you described in the second sentence, and the LED is not lit. Good to know that I don’t need to unplug it! Thanks once again

  18. Steve Says:

    If all my electrical devices that have clocks built into them are unplugged, Will other appliances like a wash machine or clothes dryer (or even a lamp that’s plugged into a wall but is turned off) draw electrical current. Thanks.

  19. Go Green In Your Home Says:

    Steve,
    The only lamps that will draw electric while turned off but plugged in are the remote controlled lamps. I haven’t seen a washer or dryer that will consume electric while not in use, but I haven’t seen how a lot of the new ones work.

  20. Michael Cromhout Says:

    I must that this has been an eye opener for me as I have just installed a prepaid meter in my house and see that all equipment is switched off but the meter shows that i am still using electricity. I tested to see how may amps are drawn by each appliance and still came to no solid conclusion were the usage was NO I KNOW AND THANKS A MILLION

  21. Andrew Says:

    I’ve got a new sattelite dish connected to the tv, and have been advised to keep it plugged into the wall even when not in use. I’ve unplugged it a couple of times, but its such a hassle when i do switch it on as I have to set the time and date and leave it for about 5 mins so it can find all the channels. Do you have any advice or shall I just continue leaving it plugged in. After all, this is the only thing I have this problem with,
    Regards,

  22. Go Green In Your Home Says:

    Andrew,
    I’ve seen this in some receivers as they don’t keep any settings in the system. I hate to say this, but best to leave it plugged in. Only unplug it if you know you’re going to not be using it for a couple days or so. If it at least kept the time I’d say put it on an efficient timer, to unplug power when you are away or sleeping and then power up 5 – 10 minutes before you come home or wake up, but even with that setup you would still have to set time and date each time, which would be a pain. Sorry I couldn’t help much. Happy new year!

  23. Gail Says:

    If you have a toaster or kettle plugged in and on at the powerpoint but not using, is that still using power ?

  24. katie,G Says:

    Hi, if you have a lamp plugged in to the wall switched on, but the lamp is switched of by the switch on the lamp, are you using electric?

  25. Go Green In Your Home Says:

    Gail,
    Most likely no, most of these appliances the power is disconnected before any transformer, capacitor, etc. Although I have seen some crockpots and blenders that still use ower while off but plugged in. Does yours have any lights or anything that remain on? If not yours probably does not use power while off. I have a GE blender and crockpot stainless version, both use power while off yet plugged in, due to the display and lights.

  26. Go Green In Your Home Says:

    Katie,
    No, most lamps cut power off before any electrical components are powered. So they will not use power unless the light itself is on.

  27. Jae E. Says:

    Thank you for all of your great bits of advise for the layman to observe and practice. I to have a question.I live a mile inland on the treasure coast of florida. After two cat. 3 & 4 hurricans Frances and Jeanne struck in 2004, I bought a 65K portable generator. I also purchased a line conditioner to prevent electrical surges. The conditioner is pluged in at all times, and has eight 110 Volt plugins. I always have my flat screen tv, satelite receiver/DVR, CD player, and my Bose radio as the sound system for tv , plus a 25′ extension cord that I plug my computer, and modem into by way of a power strip. If I switch off the line conditioner will this take care of my downline wasteful energy sources? My computer is not used everyday. But will I damage it by eliminating all the power source? Sorry for length of my question.

  28. Go Green In Your Home Says:

    Jae E.,
    I’m not sure how your line conditioner works. I’ve seen some line conditioners that still allowed electricity to be passed through even when off so you could still turn on PC, TV, etc., but the electric is not filtered. Then turning the conditioner on filtered the electric. Some conditioners will cut off all power leaving it like a surge protector. I’ve also seen others that will cut off power to it’s outlets, but yet the conditioner itself will still use a bit of power.

    I would say cut the power to the conditioner itself. I’d imagine you have it on it’s own breaker. Turn off the breaker going to the conditioner to save. Then when you need the power turn the unit back on.

    No, giving the PC no power at all will not harm it. The only thing that could ever happen from this is the CMOS battery dying. This is a small watch type battery in the computer to basically keep track of time and date. Not really needed. I have a few PC’s that this battery is dead and it causes no problems. I have my computer to get time and date from the internet when it turns on, so if time does get screwed up, it gets set as soon as it gets an internet connection.

    Don’t worry about the length of your questions. It’s not a problem at all. I hope this answers your question. If you have any more, feel free to ask.

  29. Jae E. Says:

    Thank you for your indepth reply. I couldn’t afford to purchase & install a transfer switch for the generator. A friend told me that I could back feed the 220V. plug from the generator through the dryer recepticle. Also, to be sure to turn the outside breaker off, and put a tag on the breaker box to let the power company know that I have a active generator online. Then I just plug the Trip Line Conditioner into the living room recepticle. This allowed me to operate several small appliances without risk of power spikes that could damage electronics. After the storm season, I just kept everything pluged into the conditioner to also prevent spikes from our electric company, Florida Power & Light.
    The power down here is subject to a lot of short interuptions throughout the year. I understand these sudden off and on cycles, can sometimes damage the appliances. I will use your advice and turn the conditioner switch off when we are not using the it. Especially while sleeping. Thank you again for your insight and feed back.
    Jae

  30. Deb Says:

    Does anyone know what surge protector/power strip can be used for an electric dryer. I currently unplug everytime the appliance is not in use but would like the convience of a power strip.
    Thanks

  31. Go Green In Your Home Says:

    Deb,
    Your dryer shouldn’t be consuming electric while unplugged. Most dryers don’t. I’m sure there are some dryers out there that do. Easiest way to tell is if there is a clock, light, led, or something that is still on after the dryer has shut off.

  32. asilkicmada Says:

    Can I turn off the tv / digital recorder / set top box at the wall to save electricity without losing the stored channels, and having to tune my appliances in everyday?

  33. Go Green In Your Home Says:

    asilkicmada (Lisa),
    You can unplug all of them except some set top boxes, mainly satelite boxes will lose programming. Cable and others should keep all this info stored.

  34. Noel Says:

    If I switch of at the wall kettle/ computer/ etc.? Do I have to take the plug out to save electricity and {MONEY} ?

  35. Go Green In Your Home Says:

    Noel,
    No if your outlet is on a switch that disconnects power to that outlet then there is no electricity going to the appliances. You do not need to unplug them. You want to unplug devices that are not on a switched outlet, this way you can disconnect the electricity by unplugging them since you can’t cut the electric with a switch.

  36. Chuck Says:

    I found this site while doing a search on unplugging our LCD TV and will it harm it. A great tool to find out what is drawing power is a KILL A WATT Meter. I bought mine for 20 bucks. I found out my 70 inch TV turned off was drawing 31 watts of power just turned off. My new washer which has computerized settings was still drawing 4.1 watts. That meter is well worth the 20 bucks we paid for it. My wife and I are starting to install Solar panels that are grid tied. We have learned a ton of information with that Meter. Our toaster still draws 2.1 watts. Our whole sound system with our TV added draws a amazing 62 watts turned off. Thats TV,surround sound and Satalite box. We have 3 LED tv’s. Look into finding a Kill a Watt meter. it will give you a great deal of education on what draws power turned off..

  37. nat Says:

    surely by using smart surge protectors at every socket is just as bad for the enviroment as leaving the odd device plugged in on standby, its seems common sense that if there is a led, light or display that the device is using electricity, tv’s have a standby and an off so turn it off!! using a timer is clearly going to use electricity as the timer is functioned whether anologue or digital by electricity, i think generally speaking its fair to say that if the device has an led timer or display when off or the power supply has a transformer converting your 240volts to another amount it will be doing so whether the device is plugged in or not so turn it off at the wall till needed, anything else that can turn off is fine to leave plugged in and switched on at the wall the problem with the information supplied above is that if people are not completely aware what uses and doesnt use power they will buy timers and or smart surge protectors for every active wall socket that probably wont be necessary but will consume more electricity then not thinking about it at all

  38. Go Green In Your Home Says:

    Nat,
    I don’t really recommend timers, I haven’t done much research on them, but I know the average surge strip consumes 6watts which is less than a lot of other electronics on stand by. Also I do agree that just unplugging or even using a switched outlet is better. I use a surge strip on my entertainment system.. TV, stereo, and PC which is on a standard surge protector that I switch off when not in use.

  39. Go Green In Your Home Says:

    Chuck,
    Yes, the kill a watt devices are awesome. They have a few models now and all of them are great.

  40. grace Says:

    I m asking if the electrical kettle can be damaged when staying on the power supply but kettle off. thx

  41. Go Green In Your Home Says:

    Grace
    No, that will not damage your kettle. If I understand you correctly, you’re keeping the power supply plugged in, but the kettle off? This won’t hurt your kettle, but will still use power depending on the type of power supply.

  42. lynda Says:

    How much power does a bread machine use? Also a convection oven using two racks? I have a gas dryer and front loading electric washer-apt size freezer (12 years old)- an air exchanger system – a couple of 52″ fans. Cannot believe the amount charged on electrical and water consuption for only one month! Help! Nearly 200 dollars.

  43. Go Green In Your Home Says:

    Lynda,
    Look to see how many watts they have on their label and use the calculator on my site to compute the cost for you. The calculator will ask you how many watts and how many hours each device is used.

  44. Larry Says:

    I have a tv with a finicky on/off switch. Only used with a dvd player. Obviously, when I shut off the player, there’s no picture on the tv. Is the tv using more power than it would if shut off?

  45. Go Green In Your Home Says:

    Larry,
    If the TV is on yes, it will still be consuming power. You could put the DVD player and TV on a switched surge protector and turn it off at the surge protector so you don’t have to mess with your TV power switch.

  46. Larry Says:

    Wow! It works! If I had asked first, I wouldn’t have bought a replacement for it. Oh well, my deserved a new one. Thanks a lot!

  47. Larry Says:

    I meant: my wife deserved

  48. Kane2102 Says:

    Would switching off the MAIN breaker to your home make it all 100 times easier? and would this be effective?

  49. Go Green In Your Home Says:

    Kane,
    Yes, but I’m sure you want and need some devices still running and working.

  50. anne Says:

    Isn’t it common sense that if a light switch is on low and you dont see any light, it is still consuming energy? I know an engineer by trade who is arguing with me that no electricity is being used because there is no visible light. The switch is not entirety off so how can it not be using electricity? Help with intelligent response please. I cant believe someone would argue with me and say” you dont know what you are talking about” Is that a put down or what?

  51. Go Green In Your Home Says:

    Anne,
    This depends on the switch. Most dimmer switches as soon as you click it on have a dead zone where there is no electricity being consumed.

    But you are right, depending on the wattage of the bulb being used you can turn the dimmer switch on where it is consuming electric, but not enough power to produce light.

  52. Daniel Says:

    Many new washers and dryers have stand-by modes. my washer in particular, will turn on when I open the lid.

  53. Martha Says:

    I’ve seen some questions about a dryer that is turned off, but my question is a little different. If a load is taken out of the dryer before the cycle is finished, and the knob is not turned to “off,” will this eat up electricity? I notice a tenant does this all the time, and I can hear the timer ticking, so I go ahead and turn the knob to “off” to stop the timer.

  54. Ray Says:

    situation is : TV is turned off, TV is plugged into surge protector. Doing some electrical work in that room. Shut down the power to the room at the circuit box, then turned back on after work was done. Could an 11 year old rear projection Mitsubishii TV be harmed by this action.?

  55. Go Green In Your Home Says:

    Ray,
    I’d say normally no, but some older electronics may be on there last leg, bad capacitors, etc. that are needed to power on. The initial startup if a TV requires more power. If these components are bad, and you kill power, they may not power back up. So there is a slight chance it may not operate again, but if the components are all good, there will be no harm.

  56. Go Green In Your Home Says:

    Martha,
    If it’s an analog timer, which us spring driven, which sounds like it is, then no, the timer itself is using no power. The dryer itself is not running so no power being used there either. You’re safe either way, and not using power either way.

  57. Go Green In Your Home Says:

    Daniel,
    Honestly some newer washer and dryers may be more efficient at doing there intended job, washing and drying clothes, but they use power in standby mode. Not much, but they do use power. They would be more efficient if they used old technology as far as the standby. Where 98% of the older inefficient washers and dryers only consume power when actually washing or drying clothes.

  58. BenH Says:

    What about things such as old school video games consoles that don’t have an led light unless turned on?

  59. Go Green In Your Home Says:

    Ben,
    Honestly I haven’t really looked into the old game consoles. I can’t even remember how they were wired and where the transformer was. I do remember Atari, NES, SNES, Sega Genesis, and original PlayStation all had an actual switch that killed power, so I would say they do not use electric while turned off.

    But before someone tells me I’m wrong, I do want to say that if they have a power brick that plugs into the wall before the game console then they do use electric. I know the PS1 did not use a power brick, it had the transformer inside and I believe it was after the power switch.

    Nintendo Wii had 2 modes, standby, and off. Most people just put it in standby, which uses more electric. To turn it off you had to hold the power button for about 10 seconds. Even in off mode it still consumed electric because of powering internal parts, it also had an external power supply which used electric just by being plugged in.

    I hope this helps you!

  60. joe Says:

    Hello
    My question is on light sensors, mainly those attached to light sockets. The light switch is turned on but the light itself will only brighten when it is dark out. Do these sensors act like the on/off switch on the wall or more that of a surge protector?

  61. Go Green In Your Home Says:

    Joe,
    These sensors do act as a switch, they consume will consume electricity, but I’ve not checked into them to know how much electricity is being used.

  62. Craig Says:

    Hi all
    Go green in a office environment
    The easy solution to help power stripes on say a desk is make a label saying unplug items and turn off switch when not in use providing there is a switch on the desktop power switch , just think a easy solution and could save loads of electricity .

  63. Jan Says:

    Can turning a 25 year old Magnavox TV, a DVD player, and a stereo system on or off using the switch on the power strip they’re connected to, rather than the devices’own individual on/off switches, damage the device?

  64. Go Green In Your Home Says:

    Jan,
    No, but do keep in mind some devices may not retain settings.. Like some set top boxes and such. You should be fine though.

  65. Neil Says:

    This article is rubbish. The savings shown here are micro savings. I know someone with storage heating with Scottish power and only heats one room properly and has bills of £700 in the winter 3 months. How on earth is powering off at the mains the only item which is the TV going to make a blind bit of difference in my friends bill. The friends house is fully insulated so don`t harp on down that path.

  66. tony lamb Says:

    PLEASE stop saying “watts of power” it’s just watts – by definition the watt is the unit of measurement for power tautology – like reversing backwards.

  67. Go Green In Your Home Says:

    Neil,
    Not rubbish at all, it is micro savings, but with the example shown here in this article about appliances using electric while turned off, this family will save a little over $400/yr just by unplugging a lot of their electrical devices. No, it’s not saving a while heck of a lot, but that’s still $400/yr that is just wasted. For a single person they will have less devices plugged in and save less by unplugging them, but bottom line, it’s still wasted electric, wasted money, when you can simply unplug when not in use and not waste that electric and money.

  68. Rosanne Says:

    You do hear some interesting things, Was listening to my daughter’s highschool friend last night saying that their science teacher has told them that a wall power switch left in the on position (with no appliance on it) is still consuming electricity. Wanted to say” what a load of rubbish” but have been known to be wrong occasionally. Who is correct? Then there was the time i unplugged a vacuum cleaner from the wall without switching it off at the wall and a lady ran screaming from the room saying that electricity would be leaking all over the floor. Really???

  69. Go Green In Your Home Says:

    Rosanne,
    If the wall power the teacher was talking about was just an outlet with a switch turned on with nothing attached to the outlet, sorry but the teacher was wrong. That will not consume any electricity. There has to be a load of some sort to consume electricity.

    Also as far as electricity leaking onto the floor, that is not going to happen either.

  70. Jeff Says:

    How much, if any power is used by leaving toasters, kettles etc on at the power point, but not in use ?

  71. Go Green In Your Home Says:

    Jeff,
    Most of those electrical devices will not consume electricity if not in use but still plugged in. Although I have seen some toasters have a clock or light on when not in use that will consume electricity. If they do have a clock or light on them the usage will be very low, less than 6 watts. Most of these types of electrical devices have a switch that creates an open circuit before being wired to any electrical components that will use electricity.

  72. ailudik Says:

    is it possible for electricity to be consumed if your on/off switch is on though all appliances are unplugged??

  73. Go Green In Your Home Says:

    Ailudik,
    No, if the electrical device is not plugged into the electrical outlet there is no way for electricity to be consumed. Electricity needs a conductive path to get to the device.

  74. Dawn Says:

    What about a washer and dryer? How much electricity does your plugged in dryer/washer use when you are not using them? Mine have no fancy stuff, no digital nothing on either of them. Both are turn the dial and push it in to start types. Thank you.

  75. Go Green In Your Home Says:

    Dawn,
    Your style washer and dryer will not use electricity while turned off and still plugged in. Those style basically switch the power on and off before the power goes to any electrical components that use electricity. Basically their switches are unplugging them from the wall. The only washers and dryers that consume electricity that I am sure of are believe it or not the high efficiency ones with all the digital touch screens and such.

  76. Diane Thomas Says:

    Wall switches that turn on ceiling lights if in off position does it still use power.

  77. Go Green In Your Home Says:

    Diane, if it’s a standard on off switch, no, it is not using any power. Some switches with lights built in to help find the switch, or dimmer switches with light indicators will use electricity when off. Your standard on/off switches will not use electricity nor will the device attached to it if the switch is in the off position.

  78. Jean McAdams Says:

    How much electricity is lost with an open fireplace flu?

  79. Go Green In Your Home Says:

    Jean McAdams,
    I’m not sure exactly what you’re asking. There is no electricity being generated by a fireplace or consumed, so not sure how the flu being open or closed would effect anything to do with electricity. Unless you are heating your home with electricity and leave your fireplace flu open without having a fire built and wondering how much electricity is being wasted as the heat is escaping out the fireplace flu?

  80. James Montante Says:

    Where did you hear that surge protectors use energy when turned off? I can not find that information anywhere. The specification sheets on power strips and surge protectors that I have looked at do not list any energy usage. The only reason to buy a smart strip is the convenience of not having to turn off the strip.

  81. Go Green In Your Home Says:

    James,
    I didn’t hear it anywhere, I tested a few surge protectors I have, if I remember correctly they used around 4 – 6 watts, I think it has something to do with the circuitry for the surge protection part of it, and maybe a couple lights or LEDs. I haven’t taken one apart to physically look at the circuitry to see why, but I have physically tested mine and seen they use electric while off.

    Now the standard power strip, no surge protection built in, those will probably not use any electricity when off except maybe a watt or 2 for an LED or light. I have not tested those, I’ve tested surge protector power strips.

  82. Gary Says:

    What a load of rubbish, why do you think there is a switch on the socket in the first place?… its not for decoration.

    When you turn the switch off on the socket, you are effectively “breaking” the circuit. When the circuit is broken, you are stopping electricity from being able to flow. If you turn the switch off, and then unplug it, you are actually making two breaks in the circuit, as the live and neutral disconnect as well.

    So if you have already broken the first circuit by turning the switch off, why repeat the action by unplugging it, you are just repeating the same job.

    This was GCSE physics!!

  83. Go Green In Your Home Says:

    Gary,
    Not rubbish at all. I would educate yourself on electrical components. A lot of electrical device’s “off switches” are after other electrical components on the circuit schematic. Those electrical components use electricity. For example a TV. Most TV’s have power from wall outlet, then the wiring goes into a transformer or power supply, then to memory circuits, then to the power switch, then to the rest of the TV. So the transformer and memory circuit is using electricity.

    Now if you have a switched outlet and turn the switch off, no that device will not use any electricity as there is no power going to the outlet for it to even go to the device.

  84. Elham Says:

    So,just double checking,if all my power points are switched on ,without any appliances attached, my electricity consumption is zero. Is that right?

  85. Go Green In Your Home Says:

    Elham,
    Correct, if there is no electrical devices attached there is no electricity being consumed.

  86. Bernard Simon Says:

    Thank you for all the info. We have a small remote cabin on a lake. I turn off the main when we leave the cabin. This kept the electric bill at the minimum charge from month to month. I forgot to shut the main this fall. I closed the cabin at the end of Sept. We checked our electric billing when we came back from Mexico and found that there was electricity being used. We drove to the cabin and found that no one used the cabin. There was no break in. The electric replaced the old meter with a new one sometime in October. The kwh usage was 2 in Oct., 49 in Nov., 76 in Dec., 118 in Jan. No one was in the cabin. The microwave oven, old radio, one light switch, and toaster oven were all turned off. The electric company gave me the same explanation that you gave to so many inquiries. I agreed but when I brought up why the fluctuation from month to month even though conditions didn’t change they had no answer. Could the new meter be faulty? What do you think?

    Thank You

  87. Pam Says:

    I flip the breaker on my hot water tank and only turn it on to shower and do dishes, then off it goes. That saves a ton, but I wonder if I’m hurting the tank sometimes. Also, if my microwave and coffee pot are plugged in, but the digital displays are blank (I never set them) are they still using power? I watch every penny!

  88. Amanda Says:

    I got the fright of my life when I was cleaning my kitchen counters and my food processor blade spun of its own accord. It was unplugged and the cord wrapped around the machine. The blade whizzed for a few seconds and stopped dead. Of course my first instinct was to run, because I figured I had ghosts. After thinking it over, logic suggested that it must have been a left over charge. I came across Jenny’s unfortunate accident by googling this weird occurrence and I’m relieved to know I’m not insane, somebody else has experienced it. The food processor was a cheap make; so maybe a fault in the model? Sorry about your finger Jenny. That’s pretty damned scary.

  89. Go Green In Your Home Says:

    Bernard,
    That’s very odd that it fluctuated. Was there a furnace involved? Hot water tank? Weather change? If none of these applied I honestly don’t know what would cause that fluctuation in the electric usage. Yes, meters can be faulty. Thank you for reading, keep me posted as you have my curiosity as well.

  90. Go Green In Your Home Says:

    Pam,
    As far as the hot water tank, you may be over working it, if it’s a larger capacity tank. Remember it has to heat all that water up for you to use it. I’m not 100% sure if you’re doing any damage to it though. I would recommend a tank less water heater. They are basically as it sounds, tank less. Only heats water as needed, instead of keeping 80 gallons heated at all times. You can get small ones for each room, like one in bathroom for sink and shower, or one for entire house that replaces your current hot water tank.

  91. Anu Says:

    If u don’t mind, i need to hear once again a clear picture on how the unplugged TVs power usage and unplugged mobile charger power usage

  92. Anu Says:

    Shall i expect answer here :)

  93. Go Green In Your Home Says:

    Anu,
    Not sure what you are asking? If I TV or mobile charger are unplugged, they use no electricity. If they are plugged in, but not in use, they still use small amount of electricity.

  94. Berna Says:

    These infos are really helpful. And how about my 2000W blow heater. I turn it off when not in use, but i barely get to turning off the wall switch its connected to.Is this aswell still using power? (even though nothing still lights up or is on when i turn it off) Thanx in advance!

  95. Go Green In Your Home Says:

    Berna,
    Depends on the heater, but most I’ve seen do not use electricity when powered off. If there is a thermostat than there is a slight amount of power being used.

  96. Joshua Says:

    What about an A/C unit plugged into the wall? If its turned off is it still consuming energy? If so can I just unplug it while I’m gone for the day or should I connect it to a power surge and flip the switch off when I’m gone for 8 hours of the day.

  97. Go Green In Your Home Says:

    Joshua,
    This depends, some AC units will have a circuit for remote control, which is still powered when turned off, this will consume a small amount of electricity. If yours don’t have a remote control, timer, or programmable circuit, most likely your AC unit does not consume electricity while turned off.

    Unplugging your AC will not harm anything either way.

  98. Gale Schmuland Says:

    I have 3 – 42 cup coffe percolators, can I plug them into a power surge power bar, and this power bar will have an extension cord to the power source in the wall. As I am having a tent wedding . Please advise, thank you.

  99. Anis Says:

    In my office there is an A.C with other equipments like Computers, Dispenser, Tube lights, Fans etc. At the time of leaving office, I use to off all the switches from my main board except main Power switch which is left due to Inverter. If the Inverter is fully charged and no other switch is On why 60-70 units per month comes in my bill in my absence ?

  100. Go Green In Your Home Says:

    Gale,
    Look at what the coffee percolators wattage or amperage is, and what the extension cord is rated for, or the gauge of wire used in the extension cord. My guess is that you’ll be fine.

  101. Go Green In Your Home Says:

    Anis,
    There will probably be some current leakage due to internal circuits, capacitors, etc that maybe causing a small load. Your charge itself may also leak slightly due to chemical makeup of the battery. And therefore using a small amount of power to keep it charged.

  102. Jennifer Says:

    My husband is driving me crazy unplugging my lighted vanity mirror ( it has a switch on the cable, so I assume it does take electricity at all times when plugged in) and such. But now he is after my kitchen aid mixer that doesn’t have any lights etc. Am I wrong in my thinking that an item that is this basic is safe? I don’t like the look of outlets/plugs but I really hate the look of these things unplugged with the cord just hanging there.

  103. Go Green In Your Home Says:

    Jennifer,
    Your mirror may not be using electric when turned off and still plugged in. If there is a cord from outlet, then go to a switch on cord, then to the vanity mirror, you are probably safe to leave it plugged in and not use electric if it’s turned off. Now if there is a transformer before the switch, then yes it will use a little electric while off and plugged in.

    As for your mixer, I believe the switch kills power before and other electrical components, meaning it will not consume electric if not in use.

  104. Arijit Ghoshal Says:

    Is unplugging from the socket is necessary or turning off the electric board switch is sufficient to save electricity?

  105. Go Green In Your Home Says:

    Arijit,
    Either way will work, if the switch turns off power to the outlet(s), then that is sufficient, if not unplugging your electrical devices will always work.

  106. Jenny March Says:

    I am going away for a few months, do I need to unplug everything or just switch of at the wall. Please help. I am confused. Thank you

  107. Todd Says:

    I’ve seen a few people talk about solar power, and solar panels. I work for a large power company in the south and while these may seem like the way to go, and will save you money on your power bill, you would have to have a lot of panels just to get money back. A few on the top of your house will help cut down your power bill but more than likely you will not make any money back from your power company. Another thing a lot of people don’t realize, when there is an outage, your power is still going to go out. Solar panels or not. If you are thinking about solar panels, be sure and do your research on them before spending all that money.

  108. Go Green In Your Home Says:

    Jenny,
    You can do either one. Switching off a switch is fine. This will turn off any power to your outlet. Of you have electrical devices plugged in on a non-switched outlet, unplug those.

  109. Taemar Says:

    I am trying to see if i got this correct: if my tv, dvd, surround system and radio is plugged into a surge strip, it will Not consume electricity when i turn off at the switch?

  110. rambogirl Says:

    Great website. I am in Washington state and you can check out a watt a meter at the local public library. I have cut my electric bill by unplugging my kitchen stove . Instead I use a toaster oven and an induction burner. Also had the flu last winter and had used the built in wall heater for two weeks in my bedroom only, and my electric bill was over$200. Otherwise it usually runs about $80. So I got a little 600-900 Watt portable heater. Unplugged items not being used etc. Did a lot of things you talk about on this website. I received a letter from Seattle city light stating I had cut my electric usage by 40%.I am on a program where I pay the same amount every month (budget billing) I was paying $80 every month. Now I am charged $20 per mo. On the budget plan.I live alone so all I use is small appliances such as toaster oven,pressure cooker,induction burner etc. I do have two TV’s 2 cell phones,tablet,computer,2 disk players,and a lot of cable equipment,routers etc all plugged in 24/7. After reading on your website I will use your tips and unplug half the stuff I mentioned and see how much more I can save. Being a low income senior it is really hard to live in today’s world, money wise. Now my upstairs neighbor only turns on her water heater to take baths and her electric bill is about $40 every couple months, she cooks once a week. And contributes her low bill to turning off water heater and not using her stove everyday.I don’t know if the reason her water heater exploded and flooded my apt. was due to her turning on and off her water heater.

  111. Go Green In Your Home Says:

    Taemar,
    Correct, turning off the switch on the surge protector will turn off all electricity to the devices. There are some surge protectors that have constant outlets though, even if you turn off the surge protector there are a few select outlet that still have power, most are clearly marked some how, different color, writing, etc. If you don’t see any of that then your surge protector probably turns off all of your outlets.

  112. Go Green In Your Home Says:

    Rambogirl,
    I’m glad to hear my website has helped you save money. Unplugging things like TV, routers, etc while not in use will help cut your electric bill as well. Maybe buy a surge protector and plug all those things into them and just turn it off when you’re not using them.

    As far as the water heater of your neighbor exploding, turning it on and off shouldn’t effect that unless it became too cold and froze, breaking the tank or something.

    If you find any tips to help people save money please let me know and I will try to add it to my website to help out others. We have been doing a small garden to eat healthier and save money on groceries. I’ll probably be adding a gardening section on here soon.

  113. Jay Says:

    I assume you mean 60-70 ktiowalt-hours. To average that amount of energy, you’d need a 10 kW solar array where I live, larger is most of the USA. That’s really at the high end of what people put up, unless they’re very well off.The best way to get an accurate estimate for your neesd is to contact a solar installer in your area. Look in an old-style phone book under “solar” and arrange for a free quote. Then you can decide whether you want to go ahead or not. The costs will likely be in the tens of thousands of dollars.If you want to see what we did, you can email me through my profile. However, our system is considerably more modest than the specs you propose. The usual strategy is to get your house’s energy usage down by conservation, insulation, and efficiency, first, then go for a much smaller solar installation.

  114. karen Says:

    Hi i have outdoor lamposts plugged in to an outdoor socket i leave them plugged in but the socket switches are turned off. There is no switch on the lamposts and when i want to turn them on i just switch on at the socket,i assume this electricity circuit is broken until i flick the switch.However if i plug a remote control socket into the outdoor socket then obviously i will have to leave the socket switch on.will this circuit still be broken when the remote control is set to off.

  115. Aro Says:

    It is really worthy of your advice over the power consumption of the electronic appliances..But myself not able to understand properly the second method that you mentioned and it will be more really good if you say how an electronic appliance will consume power when it is plugged off..if you like to answer for this qn ..please mailto me sir..

  116. Leroy Says:

    I wanna know from where can I get Solar panels for my house.

  117. Go Green In Your Home Says:

    Karen,
    The light will not be using any electric with the remote controlled outlet. Your remote control outlet itself will consume electricity while turned off. It needs electric to be in a standby state so it can have the circuit turned on that is sensing for the remote to tell it to turn on or off. I don’t know how much electric they use as I have not researched them, nor do I own one. I would guess about 4 watts. This is just a guess though.

  118. Go Green In Your Home Says:

    Leroy,
    You can search online for installers, or you can search online for the equipment and install yourself. If you click on any of the word “solar panel” above in the article it will search Amazon for solar panels. They have all the equipment you’d need.

  119. Delia Says:

    Hi I have a problem in my kitchen.the only thing always on is the fridge.Sometimes I put kettle on and ceiling light goes dark and without doing anything light comes back to normal again.Please help aa no electrician seems to get hold of the problem.thx

  120. Go Green In Your Home Says:

    Delia,
    Either something is drawing way too much power, your wiring needs to be larger, or you have a short or ground problem.

    Without being there to test each device on that circuit and check wiring, I can’t give you an exact problem or solution.

  121. Ron Says:

    I live above the 39th parallel and have a timer on my electric baseboard heat set at 72f in the daylight hours and 65f at night. What would be my weighted average saving kwh over one year?

  122. Go Green In Your Home Says:

    Ron,
    What are you wanting to compare this to? You ask what will you save in kWh over one year? I’m assuming what are you saving doing 72f in daylight and 65f at night versus 72f 24 hours?

    I don’t know what you would want calculated as far as hours of light and hours of night? 65f while you are sleeping for 8 hours or 65f during half the day, 12 hours?

    I would also need to know the wattage and efficiency of your baseboard heater to calculate this. Also depends on outside temperature and efficiency of your home’s insulation to be accurate. The easiest way to calculate what you are wanting to do is to actually take readings of power used and compare them. You could use a multimeter to measure amps and volts or even use a kWh meter to calculate for you such as the Kill a Watt P3.

  123. Deb Says:

    60 degrees Fahrenheit here today, beautiful weather!! I turned the breaker’s off for the heat registers–nope not paying for electric heat when I don’t need it!! the breakers stay off till cold weather sets in again–till next winter I hope!

  124. Julie Clarke Says:

    Hi. Can anyone answer this? I groom dogs and have to pay for my electric. I have an electric shower where I pull the cord so it goes to ‘on’ in the morning. Should I be constantly turning it on and off after each bath? It does not work (no water not even cold) when it is pulled to ‘off’. Am concerned because I’ve not had bill in yet

  125. Go Green In Your Home Says:

    Julie,
    This depends on if anything internally is actually happening with electricity while it is on. I’m not too familiar with the type of units you are talking about, so I can’t say for sure. I don’t know if it has a heater built in to heat the water and keep it warm while it is idle or not. Sorry I couldn’t give you a better answer to your question. You could always get one of the kWh meters and test how much electricity you are using with it on and off. It will even tell you how much so you know exactly what you will be charged for.

  126. rosalyn Says:

    Good day! This is to ask if the current is on and off while appliances like refrigerator is plugged in does it increases much watts consumed?

  127. Go Green In Your Home Says:

    Rosalyn,
    I’m not really sure what you are trying to ask?

  128. Kevin Says:

    Sorry if you already answered this – I admit I didn’t wade through the 127 previous posts. You write “A single cellphone charger will consume 1 watt while plugged into the wall, even without a phone plugged into it!” But doesn’t the period of time matter? There’s a big difference if it consumes 1 watt every second vs. 1 watt every 24 hours!

  129. Go Green In Your Home Says:

    Kevin,
    A single cellphone charger will consume 1 watt constantly, as long as its plugged in without a cellphone connected to it. Some now a days are even more than this as chargers become more powerful and have more “brains” to them. But yes time matters, the longer it is plugged in the more electricity it will use. Which is calculated in kWh. Which is how your electric company will charge you for the amount of electricity used, which is basically the amount of power (watts) combined with the amount of time it was used (hours). You can find the formulas and calculations for this here on my website. Thanks and I hope I answered your question fully.

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