Thu 15th September 2022
The average household in the UK owns a wealth of appliances. With 91% of survey respondents saying they own a washing machine, it’s not surprising that energy consumption for many is a consideration.
But did you know that unplugging this wealth of devices in your home appliances can save you money on your energy bill?
Unplugging appliances when you’re not using them can help reduce your home’s overall energy consumption, reduce your carbon footprint and even help to prevent fires.
So join our appliance experts here at Homeforce to discover more about unplugging appliances to save energy.
So we can understand a little more easily about unplugging appliances to save energy, let’s start with a little background and find out what ‘standby’ or phantom power is.
What is standby power or phantom power?
Standby power or phantom power is the electricity used by household appliances when they’re turned off but still plugged into the mains.
The name ‘phantom power’ was coined because this electricity is “invisible” and often goes unnoticed. The phrase was first used by Amory Lovins in 1976.
So even though your appliances are not doing anything, they’re still using up energy!
In the UK, standby power is estimated to add a staggering £231 million per year in standby mode to the collective electricity bill according to Ovo Energy.
While according to a recent report in The Guardian, Wasted energy from appliances left on standby is also responsible for 4m tonnes of excess carbon dioxide each year.
With these facts alone, it’s worth unplugging appliances when you’re not using them.
Especially when we consider that according to the Energy Saving Trust, phantom energy can account for between 9% and 16% of electricity consumed in homes is used by power appliances when they are in standby mode.
So how much power is used by each appliance in standby mode?
How much standby power do appliances use?
It depends on the appliance, but most use between 1 and 10 watts of power when turned off but still plugged in.
That doesn’t sound like much, but it can add up quickly.
For example, a laptop charger uses about 7 watts of power when the laptop is turned off but still plugged into the charger – that’s the same as leaving a standard light bulb on for almost two hours!
You not only save energy but also around £80 per annum by unplugging chargers when they’re not in use.
If everyone in the UK unplugged just one charger when they weren’t using it, we could save enough energy to power 25,000 homes for a whole year!
So how much money can you save by unplugging your appliances? It depends on the appliance and how often you use it.
Appliances and energy savings
Here are some other examples of appliances and the estimated savings you can get by unplugging them if you live in the U.K:
- TV: £6.72 per year
- Computer: £10.08 per year
- Gaming console: £13.44 per year
- Hair straighteners: £7.68 per year
This is just a sample list and doesn’t include kitchen appliances – which we’ll go on to below. But already as you can see, the amount of money you can save by unplugging your appliances varies and can add up.
But even if you can’t save a small fortune, unplugging your appliances when you’re not using them can help reduce your home’s overall energy consumption. So it’s worth doing!
While the savings might not be huge, every little bit helps when it comes to saving energy and reducing your carbon footprint.
So next time you’re finished using an appliance, make sure to unplug it!
Those living in the UK can save the following amounts when unplugging kitchen appliances:
How much energy can I save unplugging kitchen appliances?
- Kettle: £3.60 per year
- Microwave: £2.00 per year
- Toaster: 0.68p per year
- Dishwasher: £4.80 per year
- Washing machine: £16.20 per year
- Coffee makers: £1.80 per year
- Microwave: £4.80 per year
The above figures are based on average usage, so your savings could be even higher if you use your appliances more frequently.
Unplugging kitchen appliances on average could save around £35 per year. It might not seem much but it all adds up and it’s an easy way to save money.
Benefits of unplugging appliances
Unplugging your appliances is a great habit to get into, as not only can it save you money, but there are many other benefits. Some of these are outlined below.
This one seems obvious, but it’s worth mentioning.
Unplugging appliances that you’re not using can help to conserve energy and reduce your carbon footprint.
When electrical appliances are left plugged in they can still use a small amount of power, even when they’re turned off.
Reducing your carbon footprint is important for the environment, and unplugging appliances is one way to do your part. Some of the main reasons it’s important to reduce our carbon footprint are:
- Excessive carbon in the atmosphere results in a greenhouse effect that can deplete the ozone layer
- Too much carbon can contribute to global warming, which negatively impacts our environment and health. Some experts have said that we need to reduce our carbon footprint by 50-80% to avoid the most catastrophic effects of climate change.
- Climate change can also be a result of recessive carbon which can cause more extreme weather conditions. According to scientists, Climate change is likely to increase the intensity of hurricanes as well as the frequency of floods and other natural disasters.
Doing what you can to save energy is one way to help reduce your carbon footprint and make a difference.
What can I do to reduce my carbon footprint?
There are a few things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint from electrical appliances:
- Unplug them when you’re not using them. Even if they’re turned off, they can still use power if they’re plugged in.
- Use energy-efficient appliances. If you live in the UK then look for the Energy Saving Recommended logo, which means the appliance has been independently tested and meets energy-saving standards.
- Use a power strip so you can easily switch off multiple appliances at once.
Unplugging appliances when you’re not using them can also help to prevent fires. If an appliance is left plugged in and turned on, it can overheat and start a fire.
Unplugging appliances can help to keep your home safe.
According to Checkatrade, house fires can cost anywhere between £609 and a staggering £70,753.
Not only that, but the number of house fires in the UK in 2021 was a staggering 27,015 according to government statistics.
By unplugging appliances to save energy you can also make sure you are doing your bit to help keep fire risk low.
It will help you to save money, but you’ll also be helping to protect your home and family.
To finish on…
Saving energy doesn’t have to be difficult – small changes can make a big difference. And it’s not just good for the environment – it’ll save you money too.
So next time you leave the house, go to bed or simply after using them, make sure to unplug all of your appliances. It’s easy, it’s effective, and it’s good for the environment.