Best of the next-gen and previous-gen deals
Study shows cost of idle gadgets
Nearly 90 pounds a year is being wasted by keeping gadgets and appliances on standby, research reveals
Households are wasting up to £86 a year on electricity bills by leaving gadgets on standby or plugged in but not in use, a study has suggested.
Across the UK, households could be losing £1.3 billion by not fully switching off computers, televisions and other electronic devices, revealed the research from the Energy Saving Trust and two government departments.
The study, which closely monitored the electricity use of 250 homes, found that the households were spending between £50 and £86 on gadgets in a "non-active" or standby state, equivalent to 9% to 16% of the average electricity bill.
The research also found that people were watching more television than previously thought, with the TV on for more than six hours a day rather than the previous estimate of five hours on average.
The research, which only followed people who owned the home they lived in, also found single-person households were using as much, or sometimes more, electricity to run appliances for cooking and laundry as average families.
This could have "troubling" implications for efforts to cut electricity use, if the trend towards increasing numbers of lone households continues, the report's authors warn. Almost a third (29%) of homes were one-person households in 2010.
The study also revealed UK households run an average of five and a half washes a week, and homes with a tumble dryer use it for four-fifths of laundry cycles rather than using outdoor washing lines or indoor drying racks.
Households which have dishwashers were using on average nearly double the amount of electricity on them than on washing machines, the report revealed. And families were spending an average of £35 on powering their computer use, with laptops much cheaper to run than desktop computers.
Philip Sellwood, chief executive of the Energy Saving Trust (EST), said: "It's crucial that households across the nation can make informed decisions by having the right advice to help them reduce their energy usage and fuel bills.
"This research shows that there's still more work to be done with consumer advice, product innovation and take-up of energy efficiency labelling."