Standby Power

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What Does Standby Power Mean?

Standby power is the power consumed by an appliance or device when the device is not in use but is ready to be rapidly put into use.

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Standby power is also called vampire draw, vampire power, phantom load or leaking electricity.

Techopedia Explains Standby Power

Many of today’s appliances and devices use standby power. Some common examples include television sets, computers, computer peripherals, cordless telephones and uninterruptible power supplies . Because these appliances consume power when not in use, the only way to be sure no power is being consumed is by unplugging them from the utility outlet.

When added together, the total watts used by such appliances and devices may be 100 or 200 watts. Although this seems small, this energy consumption has far-reaching implications both economically and environmentally when it is multiplied over hundreds of thousands of households over many years.

Studies in the United States, Europe and a number of other developed countries have shown that standby power consumption averages between 10 and 13 percent of total power consumption. As a result, the U.S. government, state governments and the governments of developed foreign countries have limited allowable standby power consumption rates for each device to between 0.5 and 1 watt.

To reduce energy consumption, users can unplug standby devices when they are not being used.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.