My flat is fitted with switchable sockets as per below:

British socket

Please settle an argument a friend and I are having: if a socket is switched "on", is it wasting electricity if nothing is actually plugged into it? If so, any idea how much?

Thank you!

  • 1
    I think it would be a fun thing to calculate, though. The combination of radiative losses and capacitive losses is likely to be small for a whole house full of wiring (less than a watt), so the marginal effect of the extra 1-5cm in the switch would also be low. I'd be surprised if it was even a microwatt.
    – Móż
    Oct 26 '14 at 0:22

No. With nothing plugged in there is no circuit, so no current can flow.

An exception to this is if the socket or the switch has an indicator light - usually a neon one - that is illuminated when the switch is on. In that case the light will use a (very small) amount of power.


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