How Much Money Will Separating TV and Accessories Save?


Sunny living room with TV and media console.

Your TV and all devices connected to it can easily use 30 watts or more of standby power. Unplugging your TV and appliances when you’re not using them can save you over $30 a year.

Televisions and all the various supporting devices and accessories can hold a surprise phantom download, adding to our electric bills even when not in use. Here’s how much you can save by unplugging them.

Here’s how to estimate your savings

There are many sizes of TVs with many different generations of power optimization. Combine that with the plethora of potential accessories that may be part of your general TV setup such as consoles, streaming sticks, media receivers, amplifiers, cable boxes, etc. and it becomes impossible for us to give you a straight answer. Like, “You’ll save $38 a year by unplugging everything when you’re not using it.”

But we can talk about the average standby power consumption of common devices so you can estimate how much standby power your media center setup uses in standby mode. And if you want to take a more accurate look at your exact devices, in the next section, we’ll talk about how to skip estimation and measure your devices directly.

First, let’s take a look at the averages for different devices. Keep the total number of watts (W) for all devices below. Then we’ll estimate the cost of giving them away 24/7 for a year.

TV: standby load ~ 10W

Let’s start with the TV itself. how much Use TVs in idle standby mode It varies widely.

Some models hardly draw power in standby mode and use less than 1 watt, while others use as much as 20 watts. It’s safe to estimate that your device probably uses around 10W.

Decoder: standby load ~ 10W

Receivers for cable and satellite service Notorious energy vampires. Fortunately, since the middle of 2010, the situation has improved a lot.

However, it is not unusual to find set-top boxes with idle power consumption as low as 25 watts, although there are lighter models with better power optimization as low as 5 watts. It’s safe to estimate that your box probably uses around 10 watts.

Streaming sticks: standby load ~1 watt

Streaming sticks, dongles, and boxes use very little power. Draw idle is usually at 1W or less, and even the most power-hungry models, like the Roku Ultra, still idle at just 3W.

Of all the things you have connected to your TV, streaming media players have the lowest idle power demand.

Gaming Hardware: Standby Load ~ 12W

If you modify the settings in your game console to use the most power-friendly options, the idle load will probably be around 0.5-1 watt.

But if you use any of the console options like Xbox’s “Instant On” or PlayStation’s “Rest Mode,” you’re using more energy to keep the console always on standby.

Stereo receiver: standby load ~ 25 watts

If you have a stereo receiver feeding the speakers that came with your TV setup, we encourage you to actually measure it using the techniques and tools described in the next section. Stereo receivers are different violently in the amount of backup power they use.

You may have a unit that uses less than 1 watt of power in standby mode, or you may have a unit that doesn’t really have a standby mode to speak of, and leaving it up and running draws 75 watts or more. For the purpose of this estimate, we’re sticking with 25 watts as the middle ground.

Speaker: Standby load ~ 5W

Soundbars use less power, for the most part, than stereo receivers, but power consumption is all over the map. Some models use less than a watt, while others have a much higher standby power of around 10 watts.

Idle load cost estimation

So let’s put all of these rated power loads together. Let’s say you have a TV (10W), plus a cable box (10W), a game console with a quick start mode (12W), and a streaming stick (1W). That’s 36 watts of standby power.

Now we just need to use a simple equation, which you know if you’ve read Our guide to measuring your energy useto find out how much 36 watts of idle energy costs us over the course of a year.

We need to multiply the watt when the watt-pullers are on and divide that by 1000 to convert the watt into kilowatt-hour (kWh), which is the unit billed by your electric company. There are 8,760 hours in a year, so we’ll be the ones who value our time.

(36W * 8760H)/1000 = 315.36 kWh

Now we simply need to multiply the number of kilowatt-hours by the rate our electric company charges per kilowatt-hour. The national average is 12 cents per kWh, so we’ll use that.

315.36 kWh * $0.12 per kWh = $37.84

Over the course of the year, the idle power consumption of your TV and attached accessories burned roughly $38 doing nothing but lingering there.

Here’s how to measure exactly how much you’ll save

An estimate is all well and good, but unless you actually measure your devices, you won’t know the real story. In our experience, the backup numbers provided by the manufacturer are quite generous (and we’re assuming you’re using the device with every single one of the power saving options turned on). There is too much variance between devices to get the correct answer without measuring.

Fortunately, it is incredibly trivial to accurately measure the amount of energy used by household appliances.

Whether you want to know how much energy the media center in your den draws when it’s idle, how much energy a movie projector uses while you’re watching a movie, or even something unrelated to media, like how much energy a dehumidifier in your basement uses, it’s all there. You need him Simple watt meter And a few minutes of time to find out.

You can test individual devices or you can connect them all, if you want to see how much power all the devices in your media center are using, into a power strip if they are not already connected to one device and test the entire strip at once.

Doing so is how I discovered that the slew of consoles, chargers, media players, and that’s what I hooked up to my main TV, along with the idle power of the TV itself, cost me about $40 a year.

Here’s what to do about it

If the culprit is a TV and cable box in a less used area of ​​the house, perhaps a guest room or rec room that isn’t used much besides game days, the obvious solution is to unplug the hardware involved and save $20-40 a year or whatever that may be.

If it’s a frequently used area and you don’t want the hassle of having to crawl around to plug things in, you can always put some or all of the hardware on Smart strip or smart plug.

Let’s say your setup only wastes $10 in backup power each year. Even then, the smart plug will pay for itself in a year just by cutting that waste off at the wall.


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