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July 12,2019

Are Game Consoles Energy Vampires?

You're sitting there playing your favorite game, but you have to go. So, you hit the pause button, turn off the console and head out. Problem solved unless the console continues to sit there in standby mode after leaving. Did you know that most game consoles consume electricity even when switched off? Mr. Electric Fort Worth explains just how much energy game consoles use.

Each year, game consoles can use as much electricity as 20 refrigerators (if left still) or ten lamps (if left on). As a result, game consoles are labeled "energy vampires" or "vampire appliances." But why do they continue to use so much energy?

Are Game Consoles Energy Vampires?

Ahh, the videogame console. Some gamers are so addicted they have to have more than one: the Nintendo Wii, the Xbox 360, and the Sony PlayStation 3, to name a few.

But as fun, as they are, video games aren't exactly good for the environment. As a rule, electronics aren't very energy-efficient they suck up a lot of energy even when they're not in use.

The next time your kids ask you to buy them a video game console, you might want to think twice. According to a new report, these devices consume nearly as much electricity as an average refrigerator.

The study was conducted by the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group that works on issues related to climate change and other hot-button topics. The NRDC wanted to know how much energy game consoles use when they're simply sitting around doing nothing in standby mode, so researchers took readings every hour for three weeks on a PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, two of the most popular consoles of the last decade.

The results are shocking: The Xbox 360 in idle mode used 15.8 watts per hour, while the PS3 averaged 12.2 watts per hour. Their usage decreased dramatically when the consoles were turned off but plugged into a power source ("phantom load"). The Xbox 360 drew 5.8 watts per hour when turned off about as much juice as you'd need for two hours of light reading with a book light while the PS3 averaged 4 watts per hour.

Reducing Energy Usage

If you want to cut back on your game-playing carbon footprint, here are some tips:

Unplug your console when it's not in use. This seems like an obvious step but most people don't do it. Even if you're just taking a short break from gaming, unplugging the console will reduce its standby power use to almost nothing (although you may have to wait 10 or 15 seconds for it to come back online).

Turn off auto-updates and auto-standby modes. Many consoles default to automatically downloading updates while in standby mode, which means there could still be dramatic energy usage as long as it is plugged in.

Unplug the power cable from your console when nobody's using it to avoid this power vampire. You'll have to remember to plug it back in again before you play a game or watch TV, but that's a small price to pay for saving money and reducing energy use.

Check the manufacturer's suggested power usage, a small number in watts. You'll have to dig through the instruction manual or search for it online. But it might not be accurate since the game console will use more energy in higher-end modes like HD or 4K video.

If you have any questions about wattage or need any additional power, contact Mr. Electric Fort Worth to have an electrician assess your needs.