With most of us desperately trying to cut the cost of our energy bills, we’re looking for new ways to reduce our electricity usage. And one idea that is often suggested is to unplug your wireless router each night. But will this really save you money and what will happen if you do it?
I like to think of myself as a savvy kind of chap, without venturing so far that my friends think of me as tight (at least I hope).
But recently, I’ve joined a lot of groups and forums where people discuss all things energy and how to save money. Some methods are brilliant, whilst others do seem a little odd. But one that I have seen suggested quite a few times, and with mixed responses, is the idea that we should turn our WiFi routers off at night. Let’s take a look at how much money this simple task can save and if there are any security issues.
How much does a router cost to run?
This is a tricky question as there are 100’s of routers on the market, all using different amounts of power. Generally, they use between 2 and 20 watts to run, with the average being around 6.
But how much does that cost in real terms? Well, in October 2022, it’s expected that energy companies will be charging us around 34 pence per kWh.
If your router was turned off at night, let’s say between 10pm and 8am, that’s a total of 10 hours. Over the course of a month, that’s 300 hours in total.
Now, that sounds like a massive amount and must be saving you a lot of money, right? No.
If your router does use 6 watts of power, that would mean you would save 1.8kW over the month. That’s a total saving to you of 62 pence for a month or £7.45 for the year.
Even if you had a power-hungry router of 20 watts, the most you could save is around £2 every month.
And there’s one exception to the figures above. If you have an Economy 7 or 10 meter fitted in your home, it means that you get cheaper electricity at night. So your possible savings could be even less.
Of course, a saving is a saving, but this isn’t going to make a huge dent in your energy bill.
Is it even safe to turn your router off?
The next question is, should you be turning off your router for such a long time?
First of all, most companies send out security updates to their routers overnight so it doesn’t interrupt your internet during the day. If your router is off, it may miss an update. This shouldn’t really have much of an impact on most people, but it could leave a device vulnerable.
Secondly, it will leave a lot of your devices lying useless over that period. So, if you have a service like Sky TV set to record during the middle of the night, it’s not going to happen.
Finally, if you have a smartphone (and who doesn’t), you’ll find they still connect to the internet at different points throughout the night even if you’re asleep. If your WiFi is off, it will connect using data instead.
In all honesty, none of these downsides will cause you major issues, they’re just something worth thinking about.
So, should you turn off your router at night?
Yes, turning off your router at night will save you a small amount of money, but probably only £2 per month at most. But the good news is, not being connected to the internet won’t cause any harm to your home.
It really depends on how far you are willing to take your electricity-saving methods.
Why not take a look at my post to see whether using candles really is cheaper than electricity?