‘Worst energy-sucking’ appliance when left on ‘standby’ – ‘best’ tip to stop it

Smart Energy shares tips for reducing energy bills

The Energy Saving Trust estimates that households could save around £60 a year by turning off devices they’re not using and are on standby mode.

When electric appliances are on standby, it means they go into a type of sleep. 

They’re not actually off – they’re powered down into an energy-saving mode while not in use. 

This lets you turn things back on quickly when you need to. However, it also means the devices are “still using energy when you might not want them to”, claimed the experts at Ovo Energy. 

Vampire power or vampire energy (sometimes called phantom power) is a name for the electricity that flows into your devices when you’re not actually using them. The energy experts have shared some of the “biggest culprits” of this.

READ MORE: Energy expert shares ‘essential’ task to keep your dehumidifier running cost low

Kitchen appliances

Some of the “biggest energy wasters” in the kitchen include the microwave (which uses about four watts when not in use) and the coffee maker (0.5 watts).

Anything with an LED light or screen that stays on permanently will use up more power


Old TVs were notorious for using lots of electricity. But newer TVs, despite being bigger, tend to be “less power-hungry” than their older counterparts.

Still, TVs do use a little vampire energy when they’re on standby, so it’s always best to switch them off at the wall when they’re not in use. 

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Games consoles 

According to Ovo Energy, game consoles are known to be “one of the worst energy-sucking vampires”, as their standby mode “uses power to detect software updates and input from voice commands or remote controls”. 

Research by Confused.com found that consoles cost UK households a combined total of £231million per year on standby mode.

The experts claimed: “The best way to stop this is by turning the plug off at the wall, but if that’s a problem then most consoles have an ‘energy saving mode’. 

“This will stop the device from doing things like checking for updates or messages while it’s on standby. Check your console’s instruction manual to find out how to activate this (usually by adjusting your settings).”


When your computer is left plugged into the wall, it still uses power, even after logging off for the day. PC monitors use a comparable amount to TVs on standby – not usually more than half a watt. (To put that in perspective, using 0.5 watts continuously for a whole year would cost you about 70p.)

Mobile phones and chargers

If you leave a phone charger plugged in, it continues to use electricity – but if you only leave the charger plugged into the wall without the phone (or other device) attached, the amount of electricity it uses will be tiny. So tiny, in fact, that it can barely be measured on an energy monitor.

However, for those who keep their phone plugged into the charger after its battery is full, they could be “using more energy” than they need to as the charger will “keep using the same amount of electricity as long as your phone is plugged into it” – whether the battery is full or not. 

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