Sunday, March 11, 2012

Appliances on standby

An electric toaster is a small appliance invented in 1909 and made up of two electrical heating elements designed to make toasts. But it is not only commendable for making toasts: when it is not toasting bread, this appliance does not consume electricity.
This initial paragraph may be one of the most stupid sentences to start a new post and I am sure that some readers stop reading right here. But for the ones who wish to read on, we owe you an explanation. Despite being ridiculous (it is, indeed), other than toasters, most household electrical appliances do consume electricity when we are not using them and even when we are not at home.
As you all may have guessed, we are talking about the standby power, also known as vampire power or leaking electricity. That is, the little light or indicator on our TV set, ADSL router, hi-fi, DVD, Blu-ray or video recorder, lap top or even some washing machines, when they are all switched off. This little light or a small screen with numbers does consume some electricity, but it may seem an overreaction to devote one post to such petty cash. However, if we take a look at the consumption data of appliances on standby --as recorded in the energetic consumption survey of households in Spain published some weeks ago by IDAE, the Spanish Institute for Energy Diversification and Saving--, we’ll realise that it is not just petty cash. This survey is 50% funded by Eurostat, the European Union statistics agency. It is one of the most important surveys ever conducted in Europe, and most data can be extrapolated to other countries for a general overview.
First, we should take into account that this survey only includes household electrical consumption, which represents 25% of the total electrical consumption in Spain. And now the revealing data: the standby mode stands for 6.6% of our household consumption. Be aware: this is not the total consumption of appliances with a standby light, but the direct consumption of the standby light itself. The appliance consumption is calculated separately. Just to have a broad idea, our expenses of standby mode is three times more than our expenses of air conditioning, twice our expenses of freezing or dish-washing, three times our expenses of drying and one and a half times our expenses of oven or computers. 
As the price of KWh varies depending on consumption, on type of energy and on the ups and downs of market prices, it is difficult to estimate in euros the final expenditure of standby mode for a Spanish family. However, if you take your latest bill and a calculator, you can easily check how many euros are 6.6% of your total consumption. And then do your sums to check your annual expenditure of standby mode… If you do not wish to reduce your consumption for environmental reasons, at least you can reduce it for pocket reasons.
In this website you’ll find a calculator about standby expenditure: you just have to tick on your household appliances and then you will have your annual consumption, your waste of euros and the produced CO2 caused by the standby mode. It may be worth while turning it off.


  1. The electric toaster:
  2. Survey on energy consumption in Spanish households by IDAE (in Spanish):
  3. IDAE, Spanish Institute for Energy Diversification and Saving:
  4. Eurostat, the EU statistics agency:
  5. About kilowatt-hour (KWh):
  6. Website where you can calculate the consumption of appliances on standby:


  1. I ordered this after my previous one broke and I wish my previous one would have broken sooner! This is nice and compact but so sleek and looks great sitting out! It is easy to use toaster with the button functions and most importantly, it cooks evenly!

  2. According to Mike, Doyon's was started by his Grandfather Morris in 1950. The shop started off as a TV repair shop in Reading. It then decided to sell TV's and eventually got in to other appliances. The store was then sold to a second generation of Doyon's (Mike's uncles) in the late 1970's. In 1990, the store opened a second location in Gloucester. Mike is now the third generation running the business. Online Stores In Pakistan


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