Unplug your phone charger to save on your energy bills

by George Lovell | | 0 comments

Mother Nature whispers to the wind, "I fall; but always rise again."

Crunchy leaves beneath your feet. Everything so fresh, soft and ethereal. Crackling fires, cosy clothes and warm drinks take the chill out your bones. Pumpkin spice and other delightful scents fill the air.

Autumn is officially here, which means increasingly short and cool days; a countdown to winter.

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Many of us are justly concerned about our forthcoming energy bills and are looking for any way to cutback our consumption and subsequent bills.

"Phantom electricity" is power consumed by electronic appliances and devices when they are switched off or in standby. 

We wanted to know if leaving our phone charger plugged in when not in use had any meaningful impact on energy consumption.

Most charging adapters have a maximum output of 10-25 watts. Higher wattage = faster charging.

When we disconnect our phone, the power output drops to a fraction of a Watt, which rounds down to 0.

In order to even get a reading, we need to plug 6 mobile phone chargers in to one extension. This gives us a reading of 0.3w.

Based on this, leaving your phone charger plugged in when not in use will probably cost you around 20 pence per year. A laptop charger wouldn't be much more.

Most modern appliances and devices are pretty efficient, and won't consume much, if any power when in standby.

Here's some very rough estimated costs that we found online:

> Desktop computer in sleep mode: £10.00 - £15.00 per year
> Wi-Fi router: £5.00 - £10.00 per year
> TV: £12.00 per year (3.2 pence per day)
> Game Console: £5.00 - £10.00 per year (can be switched on remotely, so will continually draw a small amount of power so that it can respond to a remote control)
> Microwave: Less than £3.00 per year (to power the digital clock)
> Sky TV boxes use the most power when in standby - about £50.00 per year!

The amount of power consumed by most of these devices in standby mode is pretty negligible - but they do add up. 

The crucial thing to remember is that these devices consume 10-20x more energy when switched on, so simply switching them off when not in-use is 10-20x more effective than unplugging them versus leaving them in standby. 

So no, unplugging your phone charger isn't going to save the polar bears.

However, we still think that you should.

Every time that you switch off your phone charger, you strengthen a habit. A habit of switching off devices and appliances when you're not using them. You will develop mindfulness surrounding your unnecessary energy consumption.

Studies have proven that strong habits are associated with positive long-term outcomes - in this case, reducing energy consumption and saving money.

By repeatedly taking a really small, easy action, you will almost certainly take action and make better choices on the things that really move the needle. And this in-turn might just save you hundreds this winter.

Thanks for reading!

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