Saving electricity tips

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  • k_man
    k_man Posts: 1,636 Forumite
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    While the turn everything not in use off method is easy to follow, and will (nearly always) save energy costs, it is a bit of a blunt tool method, and can have other costs.

    Repeated power cycles can reduce life of certain devices.
    There is a potential quality of life disruption, albeit minor (things can take longer to start up, install updates etc).

    As such, I prefer to work out what is actually using significant power and then do cost/benefit sums.

    To me, turning off 19 devices that use next to nothing, just to ensure I turn off the 1 device that is using power unnecessarily, seems to miss the level of detail required to be able to fully understand, and improve energy usage.

    But then, I do like a spreadsheet.


  • FreeBear
    FreeBear Posts: 14,823 Forumite
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    Last few weeks I have reduced using tumble dryer and dishwasher  but not really making a big difference 
    It's generally held to be more energy-efficient to use a dishwasher than to wash dishes by hand.  It might not be cheaper though; that could depend on how you heat your hot water.  
    Is it though ?
    I'll typically boil ~2l of water in a kettle (~0.2KWh) and add another ~1l of cold to do all my dishes from a days use. A dish washer will use what, 6l of water and 1.2-1.5KWh ?

    Her courage will change the world.

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  • Alnat1
    Alnat1 Posts: 3,319 Forumite
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    Without spending 15 pounds or so on a gadget to measure how much how much electricity is being used by your lamp/toaster/kettle/microwave/set top box etc. overnight if the plug is on, it's impossible to tell. 1w-2w won't really warm the plug much.

    All I know is the lowest points on our overnight base load used to be around 196w and now I turn everything off it's around 122w. Pricing electric at 29p I make that a saving of 62.66 a year, working on 8hrs overnight. We probably save more as many items are now only turned on at the plug while we are actively using them.

    I will also not cry too much when the 1 fish in the heated tank  (inherited from MIL who passed last year) dies. Unfortunately I'm too much of a softy to help him on his way lol.
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  • MattMattMattUK
    MattMattMattUK Posts: 8,755 Forumite
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    Alnat1 said:
    Without spending 15 pounds or so on a gadget to measure how much how much electricity is being used by your lamp/toaster/kettle/microwave/set top box etc. overnight if the plug is on, it's impossible to tell. 1w-2w won't really warm the plug much.
    One can make a very educated guess in a lot of cases though. A lamp (non-smart, non-touch), a toaster an a kettle will use nothing when not in use. A modern microwave will be in the single digit watts if it has a display, if it does not then it will use nothing. A set top box will be easy to find usage, a Sky Q box uses 15-20 watts in active standby (Wifi on, downloading etc. less if on a wired connection), or less than 0.5 watts in Eco standby (Instant on but no background downloads). 
    Alnat1 said:
    All I know is the lowest points on our overnight base load used to be around 196w and now I turn everything off it's around 122w. Pricing electric at 29p I make that a saving of 62.66 a year, working on 8hrs overnight. We probably save more as many items are now only turned on at the plug while we are actively using them.
    What you are not accounting for is the shortening of the live of the products due to power cycling. I am surprised that there is that much saving to be had though. I have smart devices all around the house, Google Home devices in every room (multiple in some), Philips Hue bulbs in every room, Smart TV (Google Assistant controlled), PS5, Switch etc. which are always on standby, if I turn them all off my consumption drops less than 20 watts. The biggest phantom load I have is a UPS, which uses around 25 watts continuously, but that is a small price to pay when compared to the value of the kit plugged into it. 
    Alnat1 said:
    I will also not cry too much when the 1 fish in the heated tank  (inherited from MIL who passed last year) dies. Unfortunately I'm too much of a softy to help him on his way lol.
    You can probably get rid of him on Facebook Marketplace if you want to, there will be plenty of people willing to take it on. 
  • [Deleted User]
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    Alnat1 said:
    Make sure you turn off everything at the plug socket when not in use, especially overnight. Only things that really need to stay on are fridge/freezer and internet router.
    You really do not need to do that, modern TVs use less than half a watt in standby, routers might use a few watts, single digit to teens at most, phone chargers plugged but not in use consume no power. Turning things off at the socket is pointless.
    I have been turning off an extension lead (with its own switch) at night hooked up to TV, amplifier, blu-ray player at night for many months now.  I've even started to turning it off during the day when not in use.  Last night I switched off at the extension gang and saw that the draw (in Watts) had decreased by some 35W.  I also then switched it off at the wall socket the gang was plugged into and I saw no difference in the power draw.  I've just checked it again - went up by 37W when switching the belkin gang on and decreased back when switched off.  Switching it off at the wall makes no difference with this extension lead.  FWIW - the current draw with Fridge Freezer on (compressor chugging away). PC + Monitor on, Router on, Virgin 360 on standby, Virgin modem on, Phone on,  is drawing circa 200W.
  • MattMattMattUK
    MattMattMattUK Posts: 8,755 Forumite
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    edited 21 December 2023 at 3:18PM
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    Alnat1 said:
    Make sure you turn off everything at the plug socket when not in use, especially overnight. Only things that really need to stay on are fridge/freezer and internet router.
    You really do not need to do that, modern TVs use less than half a watt in standby, routers might use a few watts, single digit to teens at most, phone chargers plugged but not in use consume no power. Turning things off at the socket is pointless.
    I have been turning off an extension lead (with its own switch) at night hooked up to TV, amplifier, blu-ray player at night for many months now.  I've even started to turning it off during the day when not in use.  Last night I switched off at the extension gang and saw that the draw (in Watts) had decreased by some 35W.  I also then switched it off at the wall socket the gang was plugged into and I saw no difference in the power draw.  I've just checked it again - went up by 37W when switching the belkin gang on and decreased back when switched off.  Switching it off at the wall makes no difference with this extension lead.  FWIW - the current draw with Fridge Freezer on (compressor chugging away). PC + Monitor on, Router on, Virgin 360 on standby, Virgin modem on, Phone on,  is drawing circa 200W.
    I would imagine that the majority of the draw is the amp, does it have a powered down mode or is it always on (some people, myself being one can detect an audible hum when an amp is powered, but most people cannot hear it).
  • Mstty
    Mstty Posts: 4,209 Forumite
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    So we bought a 2.2l air fryer brand new from amazon for £31.

    Rated at 1000w we just cooked 2 salmon fillets and some potatoes(tinned so pre cooked) so they roasted up well. For 18 mins at 180oC it cost approx 200wh going by smart meter measurement for the hour minus our average background use. So under 6p at our capped rate of 29.24p per kWh

    I'm actually gob-smacked the fab assisted electric oven would have been circa 40p and would have taken longer.

    Bonus is this tower model comes with a 3 year warranty as well and in approx 92 uses it has paid for itself.
  • Astria
    Astria Posts: 1,448 Forumite
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    Mstty said:
    So we bought a 2.2l air fryer brand new from amazon for £31.

    I use my air fryer for everything that would normally go in the oven. Even though my oven is gas, the air fryer is still faster, cheaper and more easy to use.

  • Petriix
    Petriix Posts: 2,076 Forumite
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    wild666 said:
    Petriix I have to disagree with you on that as turning everything off not in use at the wall socket and lowering the temperatures on the boiler and thermostat is saving me over £300 per year, that's an average of £25 per month. Its more than £25 in summer and less than £25 in winter, the only constant is the electric saving at £18 per all month year round plus only heat the one room or use a hot water bottle sometimes in the winter months.
    I can't really respond to these supposed yearly savings - there are far too many variables to make a reasonable judgement. It is, however, basic physics to understand that creating heat uses energy and, therefore, to save energy one must avoid creating heat. I'll accept that the seemingly negligible heat from many devices will definitely add up. But the savings pale into insignificance vs using high powered appliances less.

    6 minutes and 40 seconds in a 9kW shower uses 1kWh of electricity, as does running a 2kW tumble drier for 30 minutes. Leaving a 1W device on standby for 1000 hours (~ 42 days) uses the same. You can debate the overall merits of each energy saving action as much as you like, but switching a switch on and off each day for 80 days (assuming it's on for half the time) is probably more effort than reducing your shower length by a cumulative 7 minutes over the same time, or simply hanging 1/4 of a load of washing out to air dry.

    If your goal is to absolutely minimise use then every action has value but, if your aim is to make the biggest and easiest savings then targeting the biggest wastes first is obviously better. Start by getting rid of that tropical fish and turning off the pond pump!
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