Does a television use 75% of its electricity when off?

Mrs. Murdoch saw an expert of some kind assert this on Ellen this week. This sounds rather hard to swallow. Never mind the tube addicts who never shut the damn thing off. I know appliances can suck up a lot of juice when turned off, but 75% for a TV?

That just sounds high to me.

It depends on what the 75% means. If it is 75% of the total energy used over say a week I could see that happening if you only watch a little TV. Numbers that follow are pulled out of my ass. Say your TV uses 4 Watts when off. This runs the remote control electronics. And When on it uses 300 Watts. If you watch 44 minutes of TV a week then 75% of the power is when the TV is off. You can play around with the numbers but it sounds total bogus.

On the other hand it could mean that the TV uses 225 Watts when off on 300 when on. This is completely wrong.

For the record TVs with the energy star logo must use less than 1 watt when off. Most TVs sold in the last 10 years meet this requirement.

No, that’s completely ridiculous. TV standby power draw varies considerably between sets, so assering a single figure is just wrong regardless. In any case, typical TV sets vary between 5 and 20 watts or so for standby draw; typically, sets use between 70 and 90 watts, full power. Clearly, this is nowhere near 75%.

54.9817% of all statistics are made up.

This has a bunch of TVs with the power when on and in standby. Some of the TVs use a lot of power when in standby but most use around 1 or two watts.

I don’t see any there that are anywhere near 75%, though. There are a couple which are close to 50%, which I find surprsing.

That is amazing isn’t it. What the heck do they have on?

Yes but if you do the total power use calculations they could use more than 75% of power off if you only have the TV on for 4 hours a day.

That’s funny - I just read (like, an hour ago) a blurb in a magazine that suggested plugging all appliances into a power strip at home, and then turning the power strip off when the appliances were not in use. Thus saving $$$ in electricity that the appliances normally use while turned off.

I thought it sounded like BS, but I didn’t realize that TV’s can use that much power in the off position. But is this true for other appliances? For example - are my lamp, toaster, iron and computer printer using power while they are turned off?

Only the printer, unless the power switch is really in the off position. Any device that has a “standby” mode must use power so that it can respond to intermittent turn on commands. If your iron stayed a little hot all the time, or has a lamp that is on when it is plugged in, then it would consume power.

The lamp, toaster and iron are probably not using any power when off. The printer might be using a little when off because of the wall wort.

The problem is with more complicated things there are many levels of off. TVs need to have the remote control sensing electronics on so you can turn on the TV with the remote.

That’s a generous appraisal. :smiley:

Then there was the statistician who drowned in a pond which had an average depth of only two feet.

Its not completely bullshit (I actually do this with some of my electronic equipment), but your lamp, toaster and iron definitely don’t draw any power (what would they be doing on standby…unless you have one of those new toasters that you can set to make you toast on a timer I guess). The computer and printer definitely draw though…and your microwave and TV too. Anything that runs in a standby mode is going to draw at least some power even when its off.


That was my guess, over the life of a TV 75% of its power draw could easily be when the TV was off.

Just for the record. To get to 75% of the power when off the off power has to be pretty bad or you only watch an hour or so a week.

Aha, then the magazine was not total BS, but definitely misleading, since it did not specify electronic-type ‘sleeping’ appliances.

A lot of them keep the tube warm so that they turn on faster when you click the button.

Since this is GQ and all, thought I’d toss in this link about standby power devices.

Maybe I was wrong…this seems to be saying that even things like toasters and such use a trickle of power all the time…if they are plugged in. :smack: I didn’t know that…I usually only turn off (by use of power strips) my main electronics and TV.


I would go the power strip route just to be sure, but if you cut the wall power to the TV you’ll lose your settings and channel programming. That sucks.

You can get one of those “Kill-A-Watt” devices to measure exactly how much power your TV draws while on and off.

Toasters? No, not unless they have a clock or other circuitry that must be powered at all times. Generally, simple motorized or heating-element appliances which don’t have any sort of timers or microcontrollers and the like have zero standby power. Things like toasters, vacuum cleaners, hair dryers and such.

Well, thats what I thought. That article though seems to be saying differently.