Friday, September 14, 2012

How much electricity does a TV use?

How much electricity does a TV use?

Answer: Probably more than you think. Much more.

Seriously though, people aren’t aware just how much a TV uses both when in use and when in standby. If you asked people how long their TV is on, you’ll probably find they significantly under estimate how long the TV is on during the day and night.

The good thing it is very easy to determine how much your TV is costing you and by changing some simple habits, you will save a considerable amount of money.

First if you want better figures to work with, check out my Electricity Cost Calculator page. On the page are a couple of devices I’ve used to measure how much electricity devices use. The power meters are relatively cheap and will easily pay for themselves many times over through the knowledge you gain.

Let’s take an example. A 50” LG Plasma TV. The LG Plasma uses around 360-400W when on. It can get as low as 260W if the screen is large showing a lot of dark areas in the picture, but usually runs between 360-400W.

First you need to get a good idea as to how long you use your TV for. Whilst people hate to do it, perhaps keep a log for a day or two if your usage is fairly consistent. You could also estimate. Say two hours in the morning as background company whilst getting ready for work or school. Perhaps from 4pm onwards from when the children come home from school until the TV gets turned off around 11pm. Maybe even a bit of midday TV. Let’s say with morning and night you end up using the Plasma TV for 9 hours a day and turn it off in standby mode for the rest of the time, which is 15 hours.

Let’s use the Electricity Cost Calculator and plug these figures in. We’ll go for 360W for the power and use my current suppliers rate which is the default in the Calculator. I don’t have time-of-day charging.

We get a cost of $292 whilst on and $9 whilst in standby. A total of around $300 a year. For many people that one TV costs more than 10% of their annual electricity bill.

Some tips to save money. Use a smaller TV where possible and for those times when you like the company of the background noise. Turn TVs off at the switch as standby can add up to be quite a bit over a year. I use a footswitch which not only turns off the TV, but all other devices which adds up to be quite a saving and is more convenient than turning things off at the wall switch.

Most people have 2-3 TVs around the home in standby. In additional they’ll often have a recorder of some type, set-top box, cable box and maybe even a sound system. All these devices chew through power when left in standby and can add up to a significant portion of the electricity bill. Turning a modern TV off doesn’t turn it off completely. The TV is put in standby more ready to start again when you press the on button.

You can get relatively inexpensive remote control switches to turn off devices, but the best switch I’ve found is the footswitch. It is convenient and relatively inexpensive.

The irony is we were all led to believe our flat screen TVs cost less than our bulky TVs, which was largely true if you replaced one TV with a flat screen TV of the same size. But with TVs increasing in size and dropping in price, we often have a number of large screen TVs. Add hours of video game playing using the TV as a large screen and you are talking of hundreds of dollars a year in electricity charges. No wonder the electricity bill seems to keep going up.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for assistance with computers (and sometimes other devices).
Servicing Templestowe, Doncaster, Eltham and the surrounding area.

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