Smart Plugs: Power Usage When Not in Use

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Do smart plugs draw power when off? They definitely do, and I’ll explain further why this is so. I’ll also elaborate on how this smart home accessory can help you save thousands on your power bills, in the long run.

It’s so unfortunate to see how the cost of electricity has been rising globally over the last decade. This problem can be associated with the various energy sources that are required to generate electricity. These are; renewable energy, crude oil, coal, nuclear, and gas.

For example, according to Statista, residential electricity prices registered a 4.3% year-over-year rise in 2021. This was before the Russia-Ukraine war, a critical factor that has had a significant negative impact on the price of crude oil, began.

Oh, and as a side note, where I come from, in particular, crude oil is the main raw material for electricity generation. Since the price of this natural energy source has gone through the roof due to factors like the war and the post-COVID ripple effect, we are really digging deeper into our pockets to keep our homes powered.

How much energy does a smart plug use when switched off?

energy consumption smart plug use when switched off

High power cost has driven many homeowners to look for ways to reduce electricity consumption and bills. Of course, some have proven to be effective whereas others have not.

Using smart home devices e.g smart plugs is touted as a smart way to lower energy bills. But is this really the reality? The short answer is YES.

According to Meteor Electrical Smart plugs are a great way to save energy because it doesn’t use a significant amount of phantom power even when they stay on.

Actually, many smart plugs are energy-efficient certified. This means that they have been tested to ensure that they don’t consume power extravagantly. Nonetheless, many households that have them have multiple plugs, depending on the number of outlets or electrical appliances that they have. Similarly, you’ll need multiple plugs, depending on the number of outlets you have and also that of the appliances you have. It’s always one plug per appliance or one plug per outlet.

Actually, smart plugs draw power when off since they are always active even when in that state. In other words, they require a small amount of electricity to remain active even when dormant. This type of power is known as “Standby power”, “phantom load”, “leaking electricity”, or “ghost load”.

The same can be said about a regular socket extension. Many sockets have their own onboard switches. Provided the electrical outlet switch remains in the ON position, the extension will draw in some power regardless of whether its individual switches are on or off.

Notably, a smart plug consumes 1-2 watts per hour when off.

How to Ensure Your Smart Plug(s) Isn’t Drawing Electricity When Off

Switch off your wall outlet, although this will defeat the whole purpose of the smart plug since it will no longer be able to function until you turn your outlet back on.

How Much Power Can You Save With a Smart Plug?

According to Atlantic Energy, a smart plug uses about 1-2 kilowatts per hour when dormant. Meanwhile, Techpenny, suggests that a socket extension, on the other hand, utilizes 1440-2880 watts of power per hour when dormant.

How Much Money You Can Save On Electricity Bills, Using a Smart Plug?

Using a smart plug definitely helps reduce your energy consumption, which is usually measured in kilowatts per hour. Here’s how much money you can save both in the short run and long run, using a smart plug(s);

Monday-Friday Energy Savings with a Smart Plug

Suppose you go to work Monday-Friday, leaving at 8 am and returning home at 5 pm each of these days, it means your devices will be dormant for 9 hours during the day. Assuming you go to bed at 10 pm and wake up at 6 am, again, Monday-Friday, it means your appliances will be dormant for 8 hours every night. Meaning, your total dormant hours per day from Monday through Friday will be 9 hours + 8 hours = 17 hours.

Now, as said earlier, a smart plug consumes 1-2 watts per hour when dormant. This means your smart plug will draw 17-34 watts daily (from Monday to Friday) when not in use.

On the other hand, a socket extension that utilizes 1440—2880 watts of power per hour when dormant will consume 24,480(17×1440)—48,960(17×2880) watts per day when dormant.

Meaning, with a smart plug you’ll be able to save at least 24,463 watts/24.463 kWh per day(24,480watts—17watts) and 122, 315 watts/122.315kWh(24463watts × 5) cumulatively from Monday through Friday.

How much money can these energy savings translate to?

According to Global Petrol Price, the average price of electricity for households in the USA is 0.175 dollars per kWh. That means 4.281025 dollars if you can save 24.463 kWh per day and 21.405125 dollars if you can save 122.315kWh cumulatively from Monday to Friday. In one month, therefore, you’ll be able to save 85.6205 dollars(21.405125 dollars × 4). In a year, you can save a whopping 1027.446 dollars (85.6205 dollars × 12) on electricity, just by using a good smart plug.

A smart plug will serve you for at least seven years if you take good care of it. With this average lifespan, you can be sure to save not less than a staggering 7, 192.122 dollars (1027.446 dollars × 7) cumulatively.

According to ZD Net, Wyze, Amazon, and TP-Link are some of the best smart plugs in the market. These brands offer plugs that cost between 17.98 and 46.99 dollars, collectively. Meaning, making an investment of as little as 17.98 dollars on a smart plug can see you save at least 7, 192.122 dollars on electricity in the long run.

Final Thoughts

With the current tough financial times, finding ways to save on bills including electricity is a top priority for households. As you can see, investing in a good smart plug(s) can enable you to save tens of dollars on electricity in the short run and thousands of dollars in the long run. Keeping that in mind, would you consider investing in smart plug(s)? Feel free to share your thought with us below.

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About James Beetie

James - a self-confessed nerd - has owned smart home equipment for close to a decade, and he loves communicating the best ways of setting them up... and resolving the various bugs and issues that you'll no doubt come across!