An electrical installer will often have quite a varied working day, tasked with setting up, maintaining and repairing a variety of electrical appliances from televisions to heat pumps and electric vehicle charging stations.
During that time a lot of installers learn a great deal about different appliances and their secret effect on energy bills whilst they are plugged in.
Most electrical appliances, devices and gadgets only use electricity when they are turned on, whilst others will have a background or standby mode that uses a comparatively small amount of electricity.
Some appliances, however, are known as electricity vampires, as they sap far more energy in their background settings than one might expect.
Here are some of the worst, and what you can do to reduce their effects.
Why Do Some Appliances Use So Much Electricity?
Inevitably, some level of wasted electricity is unavoidable owing to the nature of standby modes for certain appliances that whilst they do not need to be fully on, do need to have some functions always available.
A good example of this is a television set. Whilst they use their most energy when the screen is turned on brightly, the speakers are blaring and sometimes when smart features are being activated, they do use energy when they are in standby mode.
The reason for this is that for a remote control to work, a sensor in the television needs to be always on to check for the infrared signal so it knows to turn on. Otherwise, it could only be activated by switching it on at the mains.
Many gadgets have an internal clock, which uses some energy to ensure that it continues to tick and follow the correct time. This will use more energy if it has a clock display that is always visible, such as an oven or coffee machine.
In other cases, it can be even more vital, such as a thermostat or a refrigerator requiring a temperature sensor to be active to determine how much it needs to run to maintain a given temperature.
Finally, some systems that rely on light sensitivity will need to use a small amount of power to activate the sensor.
What Are The Worst Offenders?
To define the worst electricity vampires, it is essential to emphasise that the problem is not necessarily energy use in this instance but instead unnecessary use of energy when the appliance is not in use.
Whilst, for example, an electric boiler or a refrigerator uses a lot of electricity, it also needs to be on throughout the day and night, otherwise it can lead to a huge number of issues later on (spoiled food, broken parts, difficulty turning it back on).
Buying a more energy-efficient unit is desirable but other than that there is little you can do.
However, smart televisions use a lot of energy when turned off because they often have internet connectivity and wireless networks that stay on even when the screen is off.
Similarly, chargers for mobile devices are surprising energy drains and should be unplugged when you are not using them.
The most shocking energy vampire is a toothbrush charger, as it is easy to forget it is plugged in and the waste energy can accumulate.