This is how much keeping your appliances on standby is *actually* costing you

It makes more difference to your annual bill than you might think…

Dark grey shelving unit with TV and storage boxes in living room
(Image credit: Future PLC/James French)

We’re all trying to save a little bit of money wherever we can these days (thanks cost of living crisis), but sometimes, it can feel difficult to find ways to make even the smallest impact due to the ever-rising costs of just about everything.

One of the things many of us are on the hunt for is energy saving tips, to help us do what we can at home to save some cash. And interestingly, there is actually an easy way to save over £100 a year on your energy bills, that actually shouldn’t feel like too much of an inconvenience.

In fact, right now, you might be wasting more money than you think by doing one small, seemingly inconsequential thing – keeping all of your home appliances on standby. According to the experts, there are some decent savings to be had by turning them off entirely, when not in use.

How much your appliances are costing you whilst on standby

A bedroom with a TV built into the closet

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

At home, there are always tricks for heating your home without actually putting the heating on, and plenty of energy-saving products out there to buy. But another thing to consider when you want to save money on bills is your electric use.

In a recent study from Quote Zone, it was found that around a third of respondents leave their appliances on standby when not in use – with a further quarter of people believing that unplugging them so that they are off entirely might damage them.

But according to Greg Wilson, CEO and price comparison expert at Quote Zone, it’s a mistake to assume that leaving appliances – from your TV to your computer – on standby isn’t costing you money. It’s also incorrect to assuming that unplugging them daily is going to damage them in the long-run! 

'By leaving your daily appliances and devices on standby mode, you are needlessly draining energy and funds,' he says. 'But by getting into the habit of switching off all appliances and devices, homeowners could save as much as £103 a year - money which could help combat other surging household bills.'

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(Image credit: Future PLC)

So how much might appliances on standby be accidentally setting you back? 

One of the most expensive appliances is game consoles, be it a Playstation or an Xbox. 'Leaving gaming consoles on standby could be costing you an extra £27.52 a year needlessly,' Greg says. 'Gaming consoles are powerful devices which require a lot of running power. They are still connected to the internet even when just on standby mode, so consume a lot of energy.'

An internet modem or router is another pricey appliance, which could set you back almost £20 a year if left on every night, when you’re not even using the Wi-Fi. 

'Users often keep devices like modems plugged in for convenience, without realising just how much they are contributing to annual bills,' Greg points out. 'These devices waste energy when not in use, so households could save significantly by turning them off overnight and using a plug-in timer to ensure they gets switched back on again in the morning.'

Direct Fireplaces Evonic Canto 200 Wall Mounted Electric Fireplace

(Image credit: Direct Fireplaces)

TV’s can also be significant energy-drainers, with Ian Palmer-Smith, appliance repair expert at Domestic & General explaining, 'TVs wait to receive signals from the remote control when on standby, using around 1.3 watts of power. Leaving this on standby could cost you around £25 a year.'

Perhaps predictably, desktop computers and laptops are another energy-drainer, with the former possibly costing you £13.39 a year to leave on standby, and the latter around £10.41, if plugged in. 

Rounding out the top five is a dishwasher, which, if left on standby, could cost you an extra £7.44 a year for absolutely no reason. Greg says, 'There are lots of ways to cut down on energy use from your dishwasher, including using eco settings and only washing on full loads. 

'But, leaving the appliance on when not in use could cost you £7.44 a year.'

Light bright and airy open plan kitchen, fitted units, limestone flooring, island unit with integrated dishwasher

(Image credit: Future PLC/Clive Doyle)

It might sound surprising, but simply pulling these items out at the plug, or switching them off at the plug, can help to reduce your annual energy bills. 

'Any appliance that’s still switched on or that stays plugged into a live socket, is using an electric current,' Ian explains.

'Even in sleep or standby modes, some items continue to use energy for updates, connecting to remote servers, and recording data. The only way to ensure you’re not using any energy is to turn it off at the plug – or pull it out.'

We reckon it's a pretty easy thing to add to our end-of-the-night checklist, that could save us a significant amount of money in the long-run!


 Amy Hunt is an experienced digital journalist and editor, now working in a freelance capacity specialising in homes and interiors, wellness, travel and careers. She was previously Lifestyle Editor at woman&home, overseeing the homes, books and features sections of the website. Having worked in the industry for over eight years, she has contributed to a range of publications including Ideal Home, Livingetc, T3,Goodto, Woman, Woman’s Own, and Red magazine