What Is The Standby Power

Standby power means electrical energy electronic devices use even when they appear off.

This is the energy required to put the device in standby mode to turn on quickly when needed, hence the name standby power.

What is the standby power?

Standby power, also called vampire power, vampire draw, phantom load, ghost load, or leaking electricity, refers to how electronic and electrical appliances consume electric power when switched off or in standby mode.

What is Vampire power?

“Vampire power” is working behind the scenes to consume energy even when your appliances are turned off. 

So what is it? Also known as Standby power, it refers to the energy drawn down by an appliance when it’s not in use.

Examples of devices with standby power consumption

Most modern laptops use between 30 to 70 watts per hour while on and between 1 and 5 watts while in sleep mode, so even if you leave your laptop in sleep mode, it still consumes electricity.

Standby power increases massively in commercial buildings where devices like vending machines, ovens, etc., are located. 

Suppose you leave any of these machines in standby mode for the evening or during the night when they are not being used. In that case, the total standby power can reach up to 500 watts per hour.

If you leave them for at least 12 hours per day, that is 6KwH per month, that is 180kwh, which will increase significantly on the electric bills.

How to figure out that your device has a standby power

There are four ways to determine if your electronic device has standby power.

Manufacturer manual

Every manufacturer will give you a user guide or manual. In that manual, they will specify the device’s power consumption and mention whether it has standby power.

Devices with a constant LED or display

Devices like microwaves, laptops, etc. with an LED display require power to keep the LED on; this causes the device to consume power even if it seems off.

Devices that a remote can control

Any device that can be controlled by a remote needs standby power; the reason for this is that when someone touches a remote, the device should be able to reach as quickly as possible. 

Devices that are often left on standby mode

Devices like printers are usually left in standby mode, contributing to the standby power.

Example of Products with high Standby Power 

Here are a few examples of everyday products and the impact they can have on your power bill annually:

Multifunction printer $0.00 $32.06
Wireless router $7.13 $41.58
Smart speaker $0.27 $9.92
Washing machine $0.00 $7.60
Microwave oven $0.67 $6.28
Clothes dryer  $0.28 $1.72
Air con – large $0.04 $1.08
Digital video recorder $2.80 $31.30
TVs – 100-115cm $0.01 $0.02
Blu-Ray players $0.00 $0.01

Source consumer organisation Choice

As you can see, while the usage costs aren’t incredibly high, they add up. It pays to shop around and check the star rating of your appliances.

How to reduce Standby power?

Switch electronic devices when you are not using them

Switching off appliances at the wall when they’re not in use. Think electric toothbrushes, hair stylers, TVs, PCs, and game consoles.

Use smart plugs

Smart plugs will allow you to set timers to automatically switch off appliances according to your schedule and during spike hours.

smart plugs

Buy devices with the lowest running cost.

Sometimes, when we buy new electronic devices, we go for the cheapest, but in the long run, they will cost more money.

When investing in appliances that run all day, like fridges, ensure you base your purchase on the lowest running costs and best performance.

Always check the energy rating.

All energy-efficient products have a label. Whenever you buy new electronic devices, ensure they do not consume a lot of energy.

Even though an appliance might seem like a bargain at first glance, it might cost more in the long run.

Key takeaways: What is the standby power?

Standby power refers to the electrical energy used by devices even when they appear to be turned off.

If you have computers, video games, microwaves, printers, etc., they can still consume electricity while in standby mode.

The easiest way to reduce the standby power is by turning off these electronic devices when you are not using them.


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