Switching Off Appliances Still Draws Power

My previous post about power adapters got me interested in electricity and it led me to this article on how there are vampiric devices in your home, sucking energy all the time. I got pretty surprised when I read the article (Read the full article here: http://www.electronichouse.com/article/why_your_electronics_suck_energy/). It turns out that all our appliances still draw electricity even though they’re turned off.

I know that they require SOME electricity, especially things like DVD players which have an internal clock — but did you know that SOME electricity can mean around 9 percent of your total household electricity bill? That’s a lot for appliances that should be already turned off.

Even power supplies like those that are used by notebooks can result in drawing electricity for nothing. Have you ever left a power supply plugged into the socket, but not plugged to your notebook computer? Then this excerpt may surprise you:

Many power supplies are inefficient and result in power loss when converting the AC power to DC power needed by the electronics. These are conversion losses, but there are also no-load losses, when an external power supply may be detached from a laptop computer but remains plugged in. “In that case, the standby load is for nothing, and it is still drawing power and dissipating it as heat,” Meier says.

I have a portable scanner, and this point sure surprised me:

Portable printers and scanners that are operated by software programs often don’t even have off switches, and these can be very problematic if left plugged in. An unused but connected scanner can draw 12 watts continuously, says Meier.

If you’re interested in finding out more about how much power your appliance is drawing, there’s a handy device that can help you. It’s called Kill A Watt, and how it works is that it acts as a middleman between your appliance and the power socket. So essentially you plug your Kill A Watt device into your power source, and then plug your appliance into Kill A Watt’s input socket, as such:

Kill A A Watt Measure Appliance Power Electricity Drawn

It’s rather useful because you can now reduce your energy costs by identifying the real energy abusing devices in your home. Kill A Watt has a LCD display that shows you consumption by the kilowatt-hour, just like your local utility company, so you can quickly calculate costs. Amazon has several Kill A Watt devices for sale at pretty low prices, especially if you buy low and used!

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Alvin Poh lives in Singapore, and is interested in marketing, techy stuff, and likes to just figure out how the two can work with each other. He can also be found on Google+.

8 comments On Switching Off Appliances Still Draws Power

  • That’s really interesting. Have you purchased one of them yet? I’d be interested to see what your kill-a-watt testing finds out for you.

    I always leave my laptop converter and printer plugged in…but a 9% drop would be nice.

  • i’ve borrowed a killawatt from my friend coz it was him who introduced it to me, and it works great — the part about the laptop adaptor really is true, and i went about testing several things like my dvd player and washing machine.

    oh, and my canon flatbed scanner *really* does draw power even when it’s not in use too…it’s made worse by the fact that I probably only use my scanner like 1-2 days in an entire month, so i’ve taken to actually just plugging it out nowadays.

  • Do you know where your friend purchase this device in Singapore? Are you in Singapore?

  • He ordered from Amazon because he frequently buys books from them. If you order using the cheapest shipping option, it’s not that bad, and shipping times are usually 2 weeks. I’ve heard that Sim Lim Tower and the bigger NTUCs have similar devices, but are quite costly.

  • I never calculate that its 9% of the total electricity. Thanks for this post.

  • I bought one similar for S$75 at Sim Lim TOWER (not Sim Lim Square) basement shop. Very hard to find.

    It works great and can calculate the cost for an plug in type devices.

    If you want, get it there.

  • As a Newbie, I am always searching online for articles that can help me. Thank you

  • I find here a good way how to save power and how we can best use it!it is really nice topic with have a good info.keep it up……..

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