Reader Question: I’m trying to reduce electricity bills, and I’ve bought some better extension cords with surge protection so that I can easily unplug some devices without unplugging them. I know that many devices draw enough power even when they are turned off, so I want to turn them off completely at night like this, by pressing the switch on the extension cord. It’s mainly a desktop computer and a TV, but I want to ask which electronics make the most sense and which devices are in this biggest culprit, which I should focus on the most. Where does it pay off the most?
The reality will probably not please you very much in this regard. The money you spend on buying new extension cords will not be returned to your electricity bills for the rest of your life, and may not be returned even if your grandchildren inherit it from you.
It is true that in the more distant past, parasitic or “vampire sampling” of switched-off electronics was a big problem, and many devices took many watts from the network even when switched off.
Cases with 10 to 15 W consumption are known, which was not a negligible burden with a large number of electronic devices in households. The reason was mainly very poor quality power systems and resources, which were often used due to low price and virtually zero regulations in this area.
However, everything changed in 2010. We can especially thank the European Union, which in January 2010 introduced new important regulations and regulations in full in this context (No. 1275/2008). According to them, newly sold electronics intended for households and offices must not exceed 1 W when switched off.
In 2013, these regulations were further tightened and the limit was halved. The devices sold today must therefore not exceed 0.5 W when switched off. Although the EU was not the first in the world in these restrictions, given the size of its market, they had a complete global impact (the so-called Brussels effect, in which producers simply do not pay to comply with EU-only regulations and change production worldwide).
So let’s look at how much it will save you to unplug electronics at night or when you’re not using it.
The average price of electricity in the Slovak Republic for the end-user is 15 cents per 1 kWh. This means that if a switched-off device draws 1 watt from the mains, you will pay 15 cents for a thousand hours of this destruction. As this value is already halved according to EU regulations from 2013, electronics that were on sale after this year will “spend” this amount in 2000 hours.
But beware! This statutory 0.5 W maximum is only achieved by a small number of devices. The vast majority of electronics in the off state take much less from the network today. As for the desktop, today’s high-quality computer resources have these values at about 0.1 W. We get the price of 15 cents per 10,000 hours.
Well and one year has a total of 8760 hours…
As a result, disconnecting your computer from the grid will reduce your monthly electricity bill by about 1 cent. But there is a CMOS battery on the motherboard that holds the BIOS settings. It lasts for 10 years as standard, but if you unplug the computer every day, it will discharge evenly in 1 to 2 years. The new one costs about 1 euro.
So the answer to your question whether it pays to unplug your computer or other electronics at night is no – it doesn’t pay off. In some cases, such as your desktop, you will even be financially lossy after these steps.