Two questions that we have been asked quite frequently, “…is it safe to leave my computer running overnight and how much does it cost me….” This article hopefully addresses both of those questions and what you can do to save energy when using your IT.
Let’s Talk Safety
Let’s deal with safety first, most electric appliances have fail safes to stop them overheating or using more energy than it’s designed to take, like sleep modes and chargers that switch themselves off. However, we would always advise never leave an electrical product running for longer than it was designed for. In terms of IT what this means is, for example a laptop or mobile device (i.e., mobile phone, tablets) is designed to run off battery and be charged by mains. Charging typically takes around two to six hours, depending on the remaining battery life and condition, so you shouldn’t leave your laptop or mobile device on charge for longer than necessary. This could have dangerous and costly consequences if the battery is beyond its life and you’re attempting to charge dried out cells of a battery.
Computers are slightly different, as computers need mains electricity to function. There is minor risk in keeping your computer always running. If you’re a business user, this might be critical for you to operate. However, as a home user this is less important and typically you would turn on and off your PC as and when you need it.
Let’s Talk Energy
Now let’s talk energy, with the current cost of living spiralling upwards, customers both business as well as consumer are concerned about the cost of running their IT.
Currently in the UK we are facing ever increasing price increases in our energy bills, this is due to factors including wholesale costs, which is the price you pay for energy and typically makes up a third of your energy bill. Don’t despair, there are things that you can do to keep your energy costs down both in your business and in your home IT.
- Make sure power saving features are enabled on printers, causing them to “sleep” when not in use.
- Turn on sleep functions on your PC, laptops, and tablets to save the number of times you must charge the device.
- By turning down your brightness on laptops, monitors, and tablets, it can dramatically reduce power consumption.
- Force yourself to charge your mobile phone when it reaches below 50% and overnight.
- Turn off your router and all nonessential electrical items when you are away for prolonged periods of time.
- Make sure that the IT equipment you buy is energy efficient and carries the “Energy Star” logo.
- Think about installing a smart meter, with this you can monitor how much energy you are using and how much energy your IT is costing you in real-time
How do I Estimate Energy Cost
To help with this question, let’s do some maths. Take a 65-watt computer and an energy unit cost of 12.5 p/kWh (you would have to use your own obviously). The computer is running 24-hours per day.
65W = 0.065kW
0.065 kW x 24-hours = 1.56 kWh
1.56 kWh x 12.5p = 19.5p (£0.195p) per day
£0.195 x 28-days = £5.46
£65.52 cost Per Year
So, it is likely you are using about £0.195 (20p) at-least on energy to run your computer all day (this excludes monitor). However, this simple equation doesn’t take into account you are probably using cheaper energy costs overnight, the power consumption is based on the computer working at full wattage, PC sleeping, and I am sure there are times you do turn it off for example when you go away. Remember, this is an estimate and should help you budget your energy costs going forward.
Hopefully, this has helped you understand the safety & energy saving measures you can take in making the most out of your IT. If you need any further advice, please get in touch. 01553 776937 or email firstname.lastname@example.org