Look around your house and you'll find many appliances: TVs, microwaves, phone chargers, washing machines and Blu-Ray players ... the list goes on. And they all use energy even when you think you've turned them off.

Standby energy costs eat into your bank account in small bites, but the bigger cost doesn't just show up in your electricity bill. The total cost of standby energy across the country can amount to tonnes of CO2 and other greenhouse gases being emitted.

CHOICE has found that if you have a lot of appliances that are inefficient, you could be paying up to $100 or more per year for unnecessary power and contributing more than 1000kg of greenhouse gases to the environment.

Just how much energy does an appliance use in standby mode?

When we compared appliances in 2011, the difference between the most efficient and least efficient was stark. When it came to large air conditioners, the lowest annual standby cost was $1.59, while the highest was $24.60. An efficient Blu-ray player cost nothing a year in standby costs, while the least efficient cost $17.54. And most incredibly, while the lowest standby cost for a DVR was just 46c, the highest was a whopping $58.31!

Individually, most appliances draw only a small amount of energy on standby, but Australia-wide it adds up to an immense amount of power. It's often older appliances that use the most; energy-saving initiatives have generally made new appliances much more efficient in all respects. And while standby costs may be a small part of your total power bill, isn't it better to have the money in your pocket, rather than the electricity company's?

Top tips for reducing appliance standby energy costs

  1. Remember to turn off your appliances at the wall where possible.
  2. When shopping for your next appliance, look for the one with the lowest standby energy score in our test results. Alternatively, standby power consumption is sometimes included in product specs. Look for those with very low amounts, ideally one watt or less.
  3. If you can feel heat coming from your laptop power pack, even when the appliance isn't attached, it's drawing enough energy to cost you money.
  4. If your home entertainment power plugs are impossible to get to because of messy wires, there are clever devices that can help.
  5. When choosing an appliance that shouldn't be turned off, such as a fridge, look for one that combines the lowest running cost and best performance to improve your savings even further.
  6. Don't forget that the appliance's overall energy efficiency is still the most important factor. Low standby power use is irrelevant if the appliance is an energy hog when in use!
  7. Did you know you may be able to reduce the cost of your household energy by switching electricity suppliers? CHOICE can show you how.