ONE savvy saver has shared a simple trick to slashing your energy bills – and all you need to do is switch off standby mode.
The tip comes just days after households were warned that energy bills could hit a shocking £5,300 next year.
Millions of people are already struggling to cope with soaring costs, and there are fears that more will face the choice between heating and eating this winter.
The current energy price cap is £1,971 – and we'll find out at the end of this month what it will increase to in October.
But the price cap only indicates an average bill – how much you pay will depend on your actual usage.
So it makes sense to make energy cutbacks where you can.
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And one saver took to online forum Reddit to reveal how they had saved money by ditching standby.
We've previously looked at the worst so-called vampire appliances adding to your energy bills.
These are energy-sucking devices that use up power even when they're not switched on.
But with most of them, simply turning the appliance off at the wall rather than leaving it idling or in standby mode, is all you need to do to cut its energy-guzzling down to zero.
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The Redditor said: "It's worth checking your older appliances – for me, the microwave was an eye-opener. I'm paying £16 a year just to have the thing display '00:00'.
"It's now switched off at the wall when not in use."
How much do vampire devices cost?
The user posted the energy consumption in watts for 25 items around their home, working out how much each one would cost to leave on standby for a year at the current rate they are paying on energy bills.
They then calculated what the annual running cost would climb to if the energy price cap increases by 70% as it is expected to.
The biggest energy-guzzlers, according to their calculations, included a Sky Q set top box, left recording while in standby mode.
The Redditor calculated his device would cost £35.76 to leave on standby for a year at current rates, climbing to £60.79 after the next price cap increase.
Phone and laptop chargers came in at a negligible cost, and other cheaper devices included his LG G1 TV, which costs 52p a year to leave in standby currently, and a 30-year old Zanussi dishwasher at 26p a year.
Overall, they estimated that vampire devices were adding £189.43 a year to their household bills, and expected this to jump to £322.02 at the next price cap increase.
The poster added: "Sky TV is expensive as it is, but is made even more expensive by the high power consumption of the set-top box.
"I had suspected my Q mini box was bad because of how warm it got while in standby, but I didn't expect it to be using more than 9 watts when it's sitting there doing absolutely nothing. Both boxes are now in 'eco' mode."
And another surprise was a plug-in air freshener. The device uses up 2.1 watts – a cost of £5.44 a year.
The poster said: "Plug-in air fresheners should be banned."
Others on the forum were quick to praise the poster for their help and advice.
One said: "Many thanks for taking the time and effort to pull something like this together. It has been a real eye-opener for some things."
Another said: "This is eye-opening. I always turn my TV off at the wall but leave things like microwaves on – but now I'm thinking the modern smart TV might be drawing less power than the microwave."
How to stop vampire devices guzzling energy
If you want to work out how much your own devices cost to run, you'll need to do a bit of maths.
The equation is: cost = power (kilowatt) × time (hour) × cost of 1 kWh (pence).
It's a little more tricky for calculating in standby mode, as devices won't be using their full wattage.
For example, a typical TV uses around 40 watts of energy when it's being used, and 10 watts when it's sitting in standby.
Other than turning devices off at the wall where possible, simple swaps can help you cut your energy usage and keep costs down.
The Redditor said they were considering putting their broadband router on a timer to cut costs further.
This would cost around £7 to buy, and they estimated it would pay for itself in a little over a month because of the savings it would bring by switching the device off for eight hours a day.
Extra fridges are one of the biggest energy-guzzlers around the house and can add £99 a year to bills.
If you've got a spare fridge that you're not using – or you only need for parties – be sure to unplug it when it's not needed.
If you work from home regularly, be sure to unplug your laptop and fully power down your desktop computer at the end of the day.
Leaving them on standby mode will continue to drain energy.
Changing the way you use appliances can save you cash too.
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