Sleeping Computers Can Slash Your Electricity Bill

Do you ever put your computer into “sleep mode” when it’s not in use?

If you answered “no”, you are in the majority, but here is something interesting for you …..

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Sleeping slashed $1000 off our annual electricity charge!

I know, it sounds like the subject of a dodgy spam mail but it was so simple and effective that I was surprised that I had never heard anyone in the IT industry even mention it before.

We were quite puzzled as to why we were consistently getting very high electricity bills over the last 5 years.  We put it down to our air conditioner.  However, when for a period of 2 months (thanks to lovely Perth weather), we did not use the air conditioner at all and still received a large electricity bill, we became quite suspicious. We suspected we may have had a faulty power meter, so we got a portable power meter and proceeded to check the power usage of every electrical device in the house.

After investigating how much power the various devices were using (heater, freezer, washing machine, clothes dryer, etc), we discovered the culprit was the computers!!!!

At first glance it doesn’t seem like computers are using a significant amount of electricity at any point in time compared to things like clothes dryers or heaters. In fact they aren’t. But when you look at the consumption per hour multiplied by the number of hours per day that a computer is running but unused, it adds up to a significant amount on a bi-monthly power bill.

Our family of 5 all have their own computers.  The adults’ computers remained on from early in the morning until late at night because they were intermittently used throughout the day – for the majority of that time, though, no one was actually working on them. What was worse was that sometimes our children would turn their computer on to have a quick play before school but then just leave them on doing nothing for the next 6 hours until they came home.

Our solution: turn it off if you won’t be using it for a long time, otherwise put it into sleep mode.

We started doing that and immediately noticed a major reduction in our next bill (even though we had used the a/c during that period).

How to put your computer into sleep mode?

For Windows 7 (XP and Vista are similar):

  1. From the start menu, go to the arrow next to the Shut Down button
  2. Choose “Sleep”
  3. Your screen will go blank and the lights will turn off

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For Apple Mac computers:

  1. Click on the Apple symbol (top-left corner)
  2. Choose “Sleep”
  3. Your screen will go blank and the lights will turn off

To wake up the computer, simply move the mouse or press a button on the keyboard – sometimes it is necessary to press the power button on the computer.

This can also be set to happen automatically (after a certain period of non-use), but you’ll most likely need our help for that.

Please be aware that some models of computer do not reliably wake from sleep mode (sorry, there is no list of ones that work and ones that don’t). If yours is one of these, don’t use sleep mode, just shut down the computer.

Comments

  1. Launa Daddario says:

    Thank you, I have just been searching for information about this topic for ages and yours is the best I’ve found so far.

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