Do Power Strips Use Electricity When Turned Off?

Utility bills come with a shock at the end of the year. This might make you wonder what is causing this excess energy consumption. That can raise another tricky question, do power strips use electricity when turned off?

Many people wonder how much energy is used by power strips when they’re turned off. This post will provide the answers to this question and others.

Let’s start know the answer!

Surge protectors and power strips use a component called a metal oxide varistor (or MOV for short). Metal Oxide Varistor, or MOV, does this by diverting excess electrical current away from sensitive electronic equipment to a grounding wire, preventing the harmful excess electricity from reaching your electronic devices.

The same answer applies to many surge protectors like the power strip, RV surge protectors, USB C power surge protectors, etc.

When a power strip is turned off, nothing passes through it. This means that an inactive power strip/surge protector cannot provide any electricity to powering components. But yes, some power strips have an indicator light that uses a tiny amount of electricity. It’s so small that the total energy consumption won’t cost you a dollar a year.

Theoretically, it might be present, but calculating this cost isn’t practical. This means that there is no energy wasted when surge power is not in use.

What Is Vampire Power/Phantom Energy/Standby Power?

Vampire power is a term used in the industry to describe power consumption of appliances that are inactive. It is wasted power that can drain battery life, shorten the lifespan of appliances, and even cause malfunction.

Phantom energy or standby power is synonymous. When you keep devices idle, especially your home appliances, including TV, radio, home theater, and DVD players, they can use some energy to update data, boot, or keep the system ready to respond.

This loss of energy is a serious issue nationwide. According to a study, “On average, Americans lose $200 each year to unnecessary power loss.” Almost 10 percent of your bills come from this system’s loss yearly.

To save electricity, manufacturers have developed several techniques to reduce vampire power. These techniques include increasing efficiency of the appliances, adding standby power, and using lower-wattage appliances.

Vampire power is a huge problem because many appliances are left inactive for long periods of time. The biggest culprits are TV sets, DVD players, game consoles, refrigerators, and microwave ovens. It is very important to turn off TVs, DVD players, game consoles, refrigerators, and microwaves if you don’t plan to use them.

How Does The Power Strip Contribute To More Energy Consumption?

Let’s make something very clear. The things that we were talking about, standby energy, phantom energy, or whatever you may call it, your power strip is not actually contributing much to it. When you’re leaving your traditional power strip plugged in, if it doesn’t have any devices plugged into it, it won’t cost you anything.

But, if a traditional power strip is connected to many electronic devices, like your phone’s charger, your laptop charger, a TV, or any other appliance, they will use a decent amount of power while sitting idle. So, if you don’t want to waste electricity through your power strip, you should try to keep it unplugged when other devices are connected to it.

If you don’t want to do all this hard work, we’ve got your back. You can use something called a smart power strip. The name says it all; they will smartly handle the electricity loss and save you some cash. How?

Do Power Strips Use More Electricity?

Some power strips use electricity because the outlets are always live even when nothing is plugged into them, but it is merely noticeable. But, it’s recommended to unplug devices that are not being used.

In the study mentioned above, it was discovered that power strips use 1-2 watts per outlet that’s being used, even if no extra equipment is plugged into the strip. If the power strip is connected to a switch or circuit breaker, it uses 0.1 watts per outlet.

However, it would be good if you know clearly how many watts a standard power strip can handle.

How Do Smart Power Strips Reduce Energy Consumption?

Smart power strips include a timer or an occupancy sensor. These features make sure that power is not wasted on appliances and devices that are turned off, even unplugged. Some power strips include a feature that shuts off the strip after a few minutes. They always keep reading of the amount of energy flowing through each socket.

When the switches are turned off, they notice the change in energy flowing and automatically shut off the power supply to them. While this is convenient, it’s not necessary to have this feature.

Some smart and advanced power strips have individual switches for each outlet. It allows you to control energy consumption, phantom energy in particular. If you have one that turns off after being used for a few minutes, it’s good for you to know how much electricity it’s using.


Do chargers use electricity when not charging?

Yes, chargers can use energy when not charging. On average, a phone charger uses 0.26 watts and an idle laptop charger uses 4.42 kWh. But the sum is pretty negligible.

What appliances use the most electricity when turned off?

Some home appliances, including our TV, computers, phones, stereos, microwaves, coffee makers, and traditional lamps, consume a lot of standby energy.

Final Advice

You may waste electricity when you’re not careful. I would recommend unplugging any device that has been left for a long time and investing in smart power strips or surge protectors with timers These will help you reduce your energy usage by cutting off power automatically — even if it is just for a few minutes at a time.

Also, it may be worth considering how much electricity is being used on an hourly basis so you can make changes where necessary! So, to conclude, do power strips use electricity when turned off? I hope you got your answer.

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