Did you know that within the U.S., homes, apartments, and other residences account for 21% of the nation’s total energy consumption? As individuals, we use a tremendous amount of energy to power our homes and appliances. As the cost of living and energy prices continue to steadily rise, understanding the impact your appliance usage has on your overall energy use can help alleviate some financial stress. Let’s start with our favorite entertainment system—the TV. Does the TV use a lot of electricity? How much electricity does a TV use? Do TVs use energy when they’re turned off? We’re going to tackle these questions and more to help you optimize your energy use without sacrificing your favorite shows.

How Many Watts Does a TV Use?

TV wattage varies depending on the model, size, and special features of the TV. The average TV uses around 620,000 watt-hours annually. This average is a helpful jumping-off point to understand how TV wattage compares to other appliances. Let’s compare!

Here’s a rundown of how much energy it takes to run other appliances in your household per year:

Appliance Annual watt-hours
Television 620,000
Air Conditioner 4,500,000
Water Heater 1,900,000
Refrigerator 1,000,000
Washer/Dryer 780,000
Dishwasher 150,000

Based on these averages, TVs fall somewhere in the middle in terms of household appliance energy consumption. They contribute to household energy usage and, subsequently, household energy costs, but they are not the biggest energy drain. Still, optimizing your TV’s energy usage can lead to savings on your electricity bills.

Factors That Affect TV Wattage

Now that we know how many watts a TV uses let’s delve into the factors that affect TV wattage. Understanding the components that factor into TV wattage can help you make more energy-efficient choices.

Age of TV

The age of a TV plays a huge role in how efficient it is. Modern LCD and LED TV models, designed with energy efficiency in mind, are going to be the best bet for your energy usage. You can also look for the Energy Star rating to determine which one will save you the most money on energy costs over time. Energy Star-certified TVs are 25% more efficient than conventional TVs. You can easily visit the Energy Star website to compare a list of their products.

Size and Brand of TV

While manufacturers have taken steps to make their larger TVs more efficient, there’s no getting around the fact that a smaller TV will consume less power than a large TV.

For example, let’s compare how many watts two sizes of the LG C2 OLED TV use:

Size of LG C2 OLED  Wattage
48-inch TV 80 Watts
65-inch TV 115 Watts 

It is best to consider whether the extra inches are worth the added energy consumption when purchasing a TV. Another important factor to consider alongside size is the brand of the TV.

Here’s another comparison using Samsung’s range of 4K smart TVs:

TV Size and Model Wattage
Samsung Crystal 55-inch 75 Watts
Samsung Neo 86-inch 120 Watts 

You’ll notice these Samsung products consume less energy than the LG TVs listed above, despite being larger. This underlines the importance of choosing your brand carefully if you’re interested in cutting your home power consumption.

TV Usage Habits

How many hours per day do you watch TV? The answer to this question will inevitably impact your TV wattage.

Average daily TV usage has been declining for several years now, with U.S. adults watching the big screen for just three hours per day. This downward trend bodes well for reducing energy use, but there’s no denying that further reductions in TV usage can help even more. However, even if you aren’t able to reduce your usage, getting into the habit of turning your TV off when you’re not using it can also help. Having the TV running in the background while doing household tasks or cooking dinner can cost you on your energy bills over time.

Note that switching to streaming on another device, such as your laptop, can cancel out any energy savings from turning your TV off. Taking holistic stock of your lifestyle and energy consumption can help you identify areas where you could reduce your energy consumption and see some savings on your bills in exchange.

people watching TV

Vampire Power

Vampire power is a term for the power a device consumes when turned off but plugged in. Households waste vast amounts of energy on vampire power every year. This is the energy you’re paying for but gaining no benefit from.

TVs can be huge vampire power-sucking devices and can consume 5% of their usual energy consumption even when in standby mode. But why do TVs use so much energy when switched off but still plugged in?

While modern TVs are usually more energy efficient overall, SMART TVs come with so many features—satellite television, Wi-Fi connectivity, DVR options, and more, which will continue to use energy even when the main set is turned off.

What to Look for When Buying an Energy-Efficient TV

Even if your TV is not the most energy-sucking appliance in your home, we want to help you reduce your usage wherever possible. Taking the right steps now can lower your electricity bills while also reducing your carbon footprint and making your home more eco-friendly!

Modern TVs are always more energy efficient than their older counterparts, but even among today’s brands, you’ll find quite a range of wattages. It’s worth taking the time to do some research before making a purchase to ensure you get an energy-efficient model that still suits your needs.

Consider a Smaller TV

As previously noted, bigger TVs typically consume more energy than smaller ones. Think about what size TV you truly need rather than opting for the biggest option that fits in your living room. Your electric bills will thank you for opting for a smaller option.

Think About Picture Quality

It may seem intuiting to opt for the best 4K picture quality but consider whether you actually view 4K content regularly. Most modern streaming services send 1080p quality video. There’s no reason to upgrade to a 4K TV if you don’t consider it a must-have.

Every pixel broadcast on the screen consumes a small amount of energy. The average 4K screen contains 8.29 million pixels, which is why the image is so detailed. Yet it’s four times more than a 1080p screen, meaning your TV needs four times the energy.

Look for TVs with Energy-Saving Modes

TV manufacturers understand that more people are concerned about their carbon footprint. Some televisions have special modes that allow them to run efficiently. An example of an energy-saving mode is an automatic shut-off when nobody is watching the TV. Screen dimmers can also cut how much energy the TV uses. TVs that focus on energy efficiency will come with several features like these, so make sure you do your research before settling on a specific brand.

Inspect EnergyGuide Labels

You might have noticed new TVs all have prominent labels stuck on them. These are EnergyGuide labels, and they offer a standardized way to compare different energy metrics, such as the total cost of running your TV (from high to low) and estimated annual energy expenditure.

If you’re shopping for a new TV, inspect these labels for an easy way to find out how much power a TV will use on average.

Shop with Energy Star

Energy Star is the government’s leading authority on appliances and devices that consume less energy and are, therefore, better for the environment. An Energy Star TV will consume 25% less energy on average than a non-Energy Star set. Note that Energy Star TVs don’t force you to compromise on features and image quality.

Choose a Smart TV

Smart TVs are designed for intelligent homes. Connecting to a smart electronic device is one of the best ways to reduce energy consumption.

Smart TVs can also be connected to smart speakers to easily control the TV remotely or set it on a schedule for DVR purposes.

Be aware that just because a TV is labeled as “smart” doesn’t mean it’s the best choice on the market. Use it as a starting point for further investigation into different TVs.

Beware of “Quick Start” Features

Quick Start was created so you don’t have to wait those annoying few seconds for your TV to switch itself on and tune into your favorite channel.

However, Quick Start means your TV remains in sleep mode when not in use. While this mode may consume a fraction of energy, it can soon add up. Turning off the Quick Start feature ensures your TV is fully shut down when you’re not watching it.

Buy a TV with a Light Sensor

TV light sensors automatically adjust the screen’s brightness based on the ambient lighting conditions. Running your TV at static brightness is an easy way to consume more power than necessary.

Your light sensor will detect the conditions around it and adjust your TV’s brightness without your input. Today’s smart TVs are very good at adjusting the screen’s lighting without interrupting your viewing experience. Seamless and energy efficient? Say less!

tv in livingroom

How to Optimize Your TV Usage

If you aren’t ready to take the plunge and buy a new TV, you can still make changes in the way you use your TV to reduce your energy consumption. These small changes can make a difference!

Lower the Backlight Setting

Backlighting is by far the biggest drain on your energy. Lowering the backlight on your TV will significantly impact your energy consumption.

Your backlighting level will also depend on where you position your TV. If it’s facing a window where the sun shines in, you’ll naturally need a higher backlight level. However, closing the curtains or changing the position of the TV can eliminate the need for brighter backlights.

Turn the TV Off

It may seem like an obvious piece of advice, but turning your TV off makes a huge difference to your energy consumption. Most people don’t actually switch their TVs off when they press the button on the remote control. Instead, they’re leaving it on standby.

If you’re leaving the house, turn the TV off at the wall to stop it from sapping unnecessary power.

Another critical point is to avoid leaving your TV on in the background. It’s not uncommon for people to be using their laptops with the TV running in the background simultaneously. Get out of this habit to avoid excessive energy consumption.

Switch on the Sleep Timer

Raise your hand if you’ve ever accidentally fallen asleep on the couch in front of the TV. Don’t worry, we’re right there with you. It happens to the best of us. Many people fall asleep in front of their TVs at night, but running your TV for those extra hours every evening is a surefire way to increase your energy bills.

Make use of your TV’s sleep timer so that it automatically switches itself off if you fall asleep on the sofa.

Reduce Your Energy Usage with Nexamp

There’s a lot to consider when it comes to how much electricity a TV uses. Whether you’re interested in buying a new, energy-efficient model, or looking to make some small changes in the way you use the TV you already have, we hope this guide has armed you with the tools you need to make informed choices for your energy use!

If you’re still worried about your energy bills, the answer is in renewables. At Nexamp, we support households transitioning from fossil fuels by democratizing the benefits of solar energy. You can install solar panels at home or join a community solar farm with no money down and save between 10% and 15% on energy bills.

To learn more about community solar with Nexamp, visit nexamp.com/community-solar or call 888-966-4607.