Your inactive game consoles could increase your energy bill

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After an afternoon or evening of gaming, most of us will usually put our Xbox Series X or PS5 into sleep mode instead of shutting it down. What you might not realize is that when you’re not using your game consoles, they can consume up to 25 times the minimum power they need, even in sleep mode.

This idling power consumption could silently inflate your energy bills and isn’t exactly eco-friendly either. Environmental advocacy group Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) said Xbox owners, in particular, could be collectively pay another $500 million ($670) in energy bills due to its default power mode settings.

To be fair to Microsoft and Sony, the Xbox Series X/S and PS5 are more power efficient when streaming movies or performing less intensive tasks compared to older consoles. However, it’s best to revisit your power settings on these consoles to avoid draining your wallet and wasting power.

Here’s an overview of how much energy your game consoles use and what you can do to reduce your energy bills.

How to Reduce Power Consumption on Xbox Series X/S

Xbox Series X/S ships with “Instant On” power mode enabled in most regions. This allows the console to let you stream games to your smartphone and update and install games when the console is in sleep mode. However, the Xbox Series X/S consumes 10-13W of power when in Instant On mode, compared to 0.4-0.5W when you enable Power Saver power mode.

If you haven’t purchased the console yet and saving energy is an important consideration, the Series S has an edge. Even when playing games, Series S (74W) consumes half the power of Series X (153W), according to Microsoft. Of course, no one buys a console solely with energy savings in mind, and there are other factors to consider.

No matter which version of Microsoft’s latest game consoles you have, a simple adjustment of the power settings will go a long way to saving you money. Go to Settings on your Xbox and go to General > Power mode and startup.

Energy-saving power mode on an Xbox Series X. (Screenshot: Pranay Parab)

Below Supply Modeselect Energy saving to ensure that your console does not consume more energy than necessary.

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Energy-saving power mode on an Xbox Series X. (Screenshot: Pranay Parab)

This settings page also lets you choose how long you want to wait before the Xbox turns off. The minimum is after 1 hour of inactivity while gaming and two hours of inactivity while streaming music or movies.

Of course, you can go to “Power mode & startup” in settings and select Full stop to completely turn off your Xbox. Once you’ve done that, you can unplug it to be absolutely sure it’s not wasting electricity.

How to reduce power consumption on PS4 and PS5

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On the PS5, you can reduce the console’s power consumption by opening Settings and heading towards System > Energy Saving. Similarly, on the PlayStation 4, these options can be found by going to Settings > Power saving settings.

Both PS4 and PS5 have a menu called Set time until PS5 (or PS4) enters rest mode. By default, this is set to put your console into rest mode after one hour of inactivity while gaming and four hours of inactivity while streaming movies. You can reduce the time to reduce power consumption.

Both Sony consoles also have an option called Features available in rest mode. Here you can select if you want to allow the console to charge your controllers using the USB ports when you’ve left the PS5 in rest mode. You can also decide if you want the console to be able to connect to the internet when it is in rest mode. If you disable internet access, it won’t be able to download games or updates when not in use.

The PS5 lets you Set time until PlayStation controllers turn off. You can quickly select how long you want to wait before the DualSense controller is turned off. Reducing the time here will extend your controller’s battery life.

Finally, you can turn off the PS5 by pressing the PS button on the controller once and selecting Power > Turn off the PS5. The corresponding option on a PS4 can be accessed by pressing and holding the PS button on the controller, then selecting Turn off the PS4. This will trigger a full shutdown, unlike rest mode, which puts the console into a low-power state that still consumes a small amount of electricity.

Another way to save on electricity costs is to make sure you’re not paying too much with your current supplier. The best way to do this is to compare your current costs to those of other providers in your area. We’ve teamed up with a powerful comparison tool called eConnex to help make this process quick and easy. You can even use your most recent bill details for an accurate comparison. Enter your zip code in the box below to get started.

About Dorie Castro

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