The 7 most expensive household items to leave on standby

The surprising items that could be pushing up your energy bills - without you realising.

Woman at home looking worriedly at the utility bills
(Image credit: Hispanolistic via Getty)

There’s one huge household mistake most people are probably guilty of making that could see your energy bills rise dramatically -  leaving items on standby

We’re all looking for ways to save on electricity bills (opens in new tab) amid the current energy crisis, with Brits across the country likely wondering what to do if their energy supplier goes bust (opens in new tab) after a record spike in global gas prices. There are now more ways than ever to help people calculate how much energy bills will cost (opens in new tab) each month.

Whilst handy hacks are springing up to give guidance, from the genius kettle hack (opens in new tab) that could save thousands and the smart radiator hack (opens in new tab) you might've missed. But it seems that whilst many of us are still seeking out the best energy-saving tips, we could be making a costly household mistake on a daily basis - not switching off electrical items.

According to new research from electricity and gas supplier Utilita (opens in new tab) the average household in the UK has 10 items left plugged in and switched off, although they’re used. 

Meanwhile, it’s estimated that 30% of UK homes have items left on standby that haven’t been used for a whole year. Speaking about the huge impact of this household mistake, sustainability lead at Utilita, Archie Lasseter has claimed that standby is an “energy drainer”.  

He explained, “Standby mode is a real energy drainer – some items use the same amount of energy as when they’re switched on. In each home, leaving just one TV on standby can waste up to £16 of electricity a year, which is a staggering £432 million for all UK households.”

Even the smallest of cost increases can add up and with energy bills already rising, it’s important to think of the items that are the worst when you make this household mistake.

Most expensive items to leave on standby:

1) Xbox and Playstation  - According to Utilita’s research games consoles such as an Xbox or PlayStations use 10 watts of electricity when on they're left on standby. This works out to 4.45 pence a day, or £16.24 a year. When they're being played with, PlayStation costs 2.41 pence per hour, and the Xbox is slightly less at 2.22 pence per hour.

2) Televisions - Watching your TV for five hours costs 3.7 pence. According to the electricity and gas supplier, just leaving your television on standby could work out as 4.45p a day and £16.24 a year.

3) Printers - How often do you actually use your home printer? If it's not very often, it could be worth unplugging the machine. Printers apparently use 4 watts when not being used, totalling 1.78p by the end of the day and £6.50 a year. 

4) Baby monitor - Meanwhile, Utilita has suggested that your baby monitor could be costing you an additional £4.87 a year if you keep them on standby. They use 15 watts of energy in use and 3 watts on standby.

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5) Laptop - According to Utilita, it costs an average of 6.96 pence to work a laptop for five hours. On idle mode most devices will still use 3 watts of energy, amounting to 1.33 pence day or £4.87 each year.

6) Smart speakers - It’s even easy for people to make this household mistake and add to their own energy bills with smart speakers. Though a smart speaker will supposedly only need around 2 watts of energy when on standby, this could equate to an extra £3.45 to your bill per speaker.

 7) Mobile phone chargers - Choosing the optimum time to plug in your charger can also help reduce your bills slightly. It's not a huge amount, but leaving your charger plugged in when it's not being used could still add 32p to your bill, and that’s without the energy used to charge it. 

With so many little ways to save money, avoiding this household mistake could help you avoid making your rising energy prices even higher in 2022. Try using a smart plug to help you control your devices and appliances from your smart phone and turn them off remotely.