New York State Local Technical Assistance Program

On or off?

Computer on-off switch

Is it better to turn off your computer when you’re not using it, or leave it on all the time? It depends on how you use your computer. There are at least two situations that force you to leave your computer on 24 hours a day:

If neither applies, you have a choice whether or not to turn the power off. One reason to unplug is economic. A typical PC consumes approximately 300 watts. That's about 60 cents per day (based on an hourly rate of 10 cents per kilowatt). Added up, that comes to about $219 per year. Even if you have your computer go into a powered-down standby mode, you're still wasting about $100 per year.

You might want to invest in a smart strip if you do decide to turn off your computer. Smart strips can sense when your computer is powered down and can turn off peripherals, such as monitors or printers, plugged into it. Doing this will save even more money as there will be no idle draw from these devices.


Adapted from

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This work by the Cornell Local Roads Program (CLRP) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.