things on standby

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nb1 | 20:30 Tue 24th Oct 2006 | How it Works
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Can anyone tell me about things being on standby? I know what is basically means but if your microwave and cooker are not in use but they are plugged in and switched on at the wallbecause the clocks have been set are they in standby mode so are they using power or is it better to swtich everything off. I also include the TV, video and digi box in, this is it better to pull out all the plugs at night and what about the PC? I'm trying to do my bit for the environment


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Hi nb1,

recent hype over standby modes and the power consumed is somewhat exaggerated. Some things, like your vcr, digital microwave or digibox need continuous power to maintain the system clock and your personal settings. Most have an internal battery that allows them to cope overnight or during a power cut without losing this info. Yes, you can save power by switching things off at the wall (unplugging is not necessary) but it really is rather minimal. Try reducing your central heating by 1 degree and you will save far more energy.

The vast majority of energy that is consumed by devices on standby ends up as heat, so in the case of the upcoming winter, if your tv, vcr, dvd, etc etc are all using a bit of power, and dissipating it as heat, this just means your heaters have to work less to keep your house warm. Summer is a different matter, of course.

I am concerned about the environment and am prepared to do my bit, but with modern electrical appliances standby power consumption really is quite negligable. I've seen hotels with burning gas decorative flames outside and many unorganised businesses with heaters and air conditioning on in the same room. This is the waste that needs to be addressed.

You should be able to find the standby power of any of your devices in the manual.
The appliances with clocks are fine as they are not actually on 'Standby'. They are just using a miniscule current to keep the clock going (think about an electronic watch and how little power that uses).
When TV, video, DVD, music centre etc are on 'Stand by' they are still effectively switched on. Its just that the TV screen is not displaying and it is almost as if you have temporarily silenced the appliances. Items in 'Stand by' mode use about 75% of the power of appliances that are fully on.
As the other person said, the cost difference to you is negligible. However, the danger comes from assuming that appliances on 'Stand by' are turned off and safe, especially when you go to bed or go out. There is as much danger of fire from items on 'Stand by' as there is from appliances turned fully on. Just feel the heat coming off them with your hand! Apliances are only completely safe when they are unplugged.
a lot of the power in standby mode is wasted through the transformer and switch on circuitry (nb1 - the unit needs to be powered for the reciever to see the signal from the remote). I would agree that switching off properly is necessary at times, I will ensure that all allpliances that can be completely switched off are if I am away for more than a day or so.

The fact of the matter is that all these appliances pale in insignificance in terms of power consuption compared to everyday use of cookers, dishwashers, showers, hot water, heating and lighting. Washing your dishes by hand, having a shorter shower or even using the microwave instead of the oven will save even more energy.
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we should all switch off our electrical items instead of leaving them on standby, if the majority on consumers did this then the enviroment would benifit as well as having a slight reduction in our energy bills..
Unplug your mobiel phone charger when it's not in use! People often forget because you think that there's nothing being used when the phone isn't plugged in but the component parts are actually drawing energy and they're often left in for days! I know I've been guilty of it before myself.
unplug them all and switch off lights that are not needed,reycle,and if everyone turned their washing machines to 30d then you would see a big difference in figures saving a lot of energy. it needs to be done.

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