Do Kettles Use Electricity When Plugged In? (Explained)

Many people may be guilty of leaving their electric kettles plugged in when not in use – we tend to do this sometimes. We either forget to unplug or leave them plugged in on purpose because we use them frequently.

You may wonder what happens when an electric kettle is plugged in when not in use. Does it consume electricity?

Here’s What Happens When A Kettle Is Plugged In:

When a kettle is plugged in, it uses electricity, even if it is turned off. It is one of the most common home appliances that can consume electricity even when powered off. This means that leaving a kettle plugged in when not in use tends to waste energy and can increase expenses.

Should You Unplug A Kettle To Save Power?

With rising costs everywhere, you’d want to save money and cut expenses wherever possible. And one effective way of cutting your expenses is by reducing your utility bills.

When you leave your electric kettle, or any other appliance, plugged in, it still uses up some power. This is often referred to as a “phantom load.” A phantom load is any electric appliance or device that uses electricity when plugged into an outlet, even if it is turned off.

Not many people know this, but a phantom load from electric kettles and other appliances can significantly increase your utility bills. When you leave your devices plugged in, phantom loads can account for up to 33% of your electric bill – that’s a lot!

So you want to save power, one thing you can do is unplug your electric kettle.

It’s also quite easy to do. After boiling water for your coffee or tea, unplug your electric kettle right away. It only takes a second, and it would help you save a lot of power, so you spend less on utility bills.

Once you get into the habit of unplugging your electric kettle after every use, you won’t forget to do it.

How Much Power Do Kettles Use When Not Switched On?

Even though electric kettles are small kitchen appliances, they consume a lot of energy. An electric kettle’s minimum power is around 1200W, while the maximum power rating of most kettles is 3000W.

For example, if an electric kettle works on 1200W, it will take roughly 3 to 4 minutes to boil 1.5 liters of water. So in one boil, an electric kettle can use up about 0.1 kWh of power.

Depending on the power rating of your electric kettle, it can use anywhere between 1 to 3 kWh in one month when you leave it plugged in.

While this may seem like a small amount, the cost of this is roughly $2 to $7 a year in electricity bills. And during these hard financial times, you want to save money whenever possible.

If you unplug all smaller appliances when not in use, you could save up to $100 a year on electricity bills.

Monthly Cost Of A Kettle On Standby:

When a kettle is left plugged in on standby, it still consumes electricity. Electric kettles contribute to phantom load, which can highly impact your utility bills.

Monthly, a kettle left on standby can consume 1 to 3 kWh in one month. The cost of that is roughly 0.17 to 0.60 cents. 

Even though that is technically not that high, it is significant when you add it up to the consumption of your other electric devices on standby.

It can be tricky to put a price tag on phantom loads. This is because the total cost of electricity bills highly depends on how many devices you have at home and the cost of electricity in your location.

If you have a simple home with only the basic appliances and devices, your total consumption due to phantom load may be around 80 to 90 watts. This amount can cost you around $7 per month in wasted electricity.

How Can I Know If My Kettle Uses Power On Standby?

Even when not used, most electric devices draw power as long as they are left plugged in. So it is safe to assume that your kettle will always use power on standby.

While unplugging your kettle will not magically reduce your utility bills, it will save you money by conserving electricity.

Is It Safe To Keep A Kettle Plugged Permanently?

Most experts and manufacturers would say that it is not safe to keep a kettle plugged in permanently. And this is true.

It is unwise to leave your kettle and other kitchen appliances plugged in. Apart from running up your utility bills by consuming electricity, leaving electric kettles plugged in can create potential safety hazards for your household.

Here is why you SHOULD NOT keep a kettle plugged permanently:

  • It uses up electricity which can increase your utility bills.
  • It can affect the durability and decrease the lifespan of your kettle.
  • It can cause a blown fuse if too many appliances are plugged in simultaneously.
  • In rare cases, it can start a fire.

Even though it is generally safe if you leave your kettle plugged in for a few hours or even overnight, make it a habit to always unplug it. It’s fast and won’t take up much of your time.

Why Should You Unplug Your Kettle During A Thunderstorm?

Perhaps you’ve heard this before – during a thunderstorm, you should unplug your kettle and other appliances. This is for safety reasons.

When lightning strikes close to an electric pole, it can lead to a surge of electricity blasting through the power lines.

When a surge of electricity blasts through the power lines, all devices plugged in can blow a fuse, most likely get damaged, and even catch fire.

So as a safety precaution, always unplug your kettle and other appliances when there is a forecast of a thunderstorm in your area.

Safety hazards may be uncommon with electric kettles, but they can still happen. When using an electric appliance, you would always want to exercise caution no matter how safe it appears.

Keep in mind that while unplugging your kettle only takes one second of your time, it can make your household feel safer and impact your energy consumption.

Sources:

Power Consumption And Energy Use Of Electric Kettle

All You Need To Know About Electric Kettle Power Consumption

Phantom Load Calculator – What Is Phantom Load?

How Much A Phantom Energy Load Is Costing You

Precautions To Consider When Using An Electric Kettle