Is your PC jacking up your Electric bill?

Well, if your PC sounds like a jet engine running when you are on the other side of the house, then it’s possible.  I have wondered if it is really jacking up my electric bill or not.  And have come to the conclusion that if I’m not on my PC, then it’s gonna get shut down.  Apparently a typical computer uses about 45 – 250 watts at any given time.  The labels on computers give the maximum possible output of each component, so even though my power supply is 500W it may only use 250W during intense gaming sessions.  Here is some insight from MichaelBlueJay on how our PC’s can affect our pocket book.

“As long as your computer goes into sleep/standby when you’re not using it, your computer doesn’t use squat for electricity, compared to the rest of your household. You’ll save a lot more energy by addressing your heating, cooling and lighting use rather than obsessing over your computer. For most people, their computers’ energy use is not a significant portion of their total use, even if they use their computers a lot. Of course, you should absolutely make sure your computer is set to sleep automatically when you’re not using it, because it’s silly to waste energy, but your computer likely isn’t even close to being the biggest energy-waster in your home.”

How much it costs to run your computer?

To calculate your costs use this formula:

Watts  x  Hours Used x  Cost per kilowatt-hour = Total Cost


“For example, let’s say you have a big high-end computer with a gaming-level graphics card and an old CRT monitor, and you leave them on 24/7. That’s about 330 watts x 24 hours x 365 days/yr = 2,890,800 watt-hours, or 2891 kilowatt-hours. If you’re paying $0.14 per kWh, you’re paying $405 a year to run your computer.”

“Let’s try a different example: You have a computer that’s less of an energy hog, like in iMac G5 20″, which uses about 105 watts, and you’re smart enough to turn it off when you’re not using it. You use it for two hours a day, five days a week. That’s ten hours a week, or 520 hours a year. So your 105 watts times 520 hours = 54,600 watt-hours. Divide by 1000 and you have 55 kilowatt-hours (kWh). If you’re paying 10¢ per kilowatt-hour, then you’re paying $5.50 a year to run your computer.”

“It really depends on what kind of computer it is, and how much you use it – and especially whether you sleep it when you’re not using it.  Your situation is almost certainly different, and you need to consider all the variables, like what kind of computer it is, how much you use it, and most especially whether you leave it running all the time or sleep it when you’re not using it.”

Desktop Computer 60-250 watts
On screen saver 60-250 watts
Sleep / standby 1 -6 watts
Laptop 15-45 watts
Typical 17″ CRT 80 watts
Typical 17″ LCD 35 watts
Apple MS 17″ CRT,
mostly black (black Windows desktop with just a few icons)
54 watts
Screen saver (any image on screen) same as above
Sleeping monitor (dark screen) 0-15 watts
Monitor turned off at switch 0-10 watts
Apple iMac G5 w/built in 20″ LCD screen

Sleep & Screensavers

“When your computer sleeps (aka “standby”, “hibernate”) the computer uses 0-6 watts. (So does the monitor.) You can set your computer to sleep automatically after a certain amount of idle time. Setting your computer to auto-sleep is the best and easiest way to save on computer energy use! Here’s how to do it:”

  • In Windows XP go to Start > Control Panel > Power Options
  • On a Mac go to System Preferences > Energy Saver

“It’s not terribly important to understand the difference between Sleep, Standby, and Hibernate. In a nutshell, hibernate saves your workspace (all the open windows) and then turns your computer off, so it saves more energy than standby, but a hibernating computer takes longer to wake up.”

“A screensaver that shows any image on the screen doesn’t save any energy at all — you save energy only if the monitor goes dark by going to sleep. If you turn the monitor off at the switch it will use 0 to 10 watts.”

You won’t wear your computer out by turning it off

“You won’t wear your computer out any faster by cycling it once a day, or even a few times a day. Modern computers just aren’t that fragile. I did hardware troubleshooting at Apple, by the way. If you don’t believe me, maybe you’ll believe Jonathan Koomey, a project scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, who says, “PCs are not hurt by turning them on and off a few times a day.” (Wall St. Journal) The useful life of a computer these days is only a few years anyway. The computer will become obsolete long before you wear it out, no matter how often you cycle it. Bottom line: Turn your computer off when you’re done with it (or simply Sleep it), and don’t worry about it.”

“It also doesn’t take more energy to start a computer than to keep it running. The only extra energy it takes to start a computer is the two minutes or so it takes to start up, which is barely different than any other two minutes’ of use. You’ll always save energy by turning your computer off when you’re not using it. Of course you don’t have to turn it off since you can easily use the sleep or standby mode instead.”

“The myth of “turning it off uses more energy than keeping it on all the time” exists for just about every device that exists, and it’s wrong in every single case, in practical terms. (Meaning, you will never, ever, ever see any savings on your electrical bill by keeping something on all the time vs. turning it off. Period.) You will always save electricity by turning your device off when you’re not using it (or sleeping it, if it’s a computer).”

My recommendations

  • Set the Power settings on your computer to automatically go into Sleep/Standby mode after 15 minutes or so of inactivity. If you do nothing else, do this.
  • If you use a desktop, use an LCD monitor. They use lots less energy than CRT’s.
  • Turn your computer off when you’re done for the day.

The Internet and Electricity

“Computers account for only a fraction of worldwide electrical use, even with the burgeoning Internet. Air conditioning, lighting, and refrigeration account for a lot more. In fact, as inefficient CRT monitors are being phased out in favor of newer LCD screens, and as more people replace their desktop with laptops, computer energy use isn’t likely to rise very much in the coming years.”

Now I will check my computer settings and make sure my beast will go to sleep when I’m not on it : )  (done)

You are my Sunshine : )

Airborne Gamer
Airborne Gamer
Gaming is my medicine and writing is my drug. Is it making sense now? "WELCOME TO WARP ZONE!"