Brits have gone gadget mad, but according to new research, the process of checking and re-checking appliances are switched off before leaving the house wastes UK adults more than three minutes every morning, or 19 hours a year. For people aged between 18 and 24 this rises to over an entire day wasted each year, with a combined 26 hours spent making sure everything is switched off.
The new study from Hive, a British Gas Innovation, finds the UK in the grip of power paranoia, fuelling an overwhelming need for more than a third (36%) of us to repeatedly check that electronic devices such as hair straighteners and chargers are switched off before leaving the house.
The growth of power paranoia correlates with the increase in gadget and appliance ownership, which has risen 57% since 2005: Coffee machine ownership has increased from 9% in 2005, to 33% in 2015. Ownership of straightening irons and curling tongs has seen a similar increase from 10% in 2005 to 38% in 2015 and nearly half (42%) of Brits now own a tablet, a laptop and a smartphone.
Kassir Hussain, Director of Centrica Connected Home UK, said "We all fit a phenomenal amount into our daily lives, not least in the mornings which can be one of the most hectic times of the day. Gadgets and appliances are intended to make our lives easier, so the fact they're slowing us down and afflicting us with niggling doubts is a problem."
For many, niggling doubts over switches and sockets being set to off have lasting consequences, with just under a quarter (23%) saying the resulting anxiety has ruined their day. Meanwhile, 15% of people surveyed admitted to resorting to phoning housemates and relatives to carry out checks in their absence.
As a solution to this problem, Hive has developed the Hive Active Plug™, which allows you to turn appliances on and off from wherever you are, so if you're worried you've left your hair straighteners or iron on after leaving the house, you can check and switch them off from your phone. The Hive Active Plug™ also allows users to set a schedule using up to 6 time slots a day to switch electrical appliances on and off automatically, meaning you're not wasting electricity by keeping appliances such as lights on when you don't need them.
Conducted amongst over 2,000 UK adults, the study shows that women are the most susceptible to power paranoia, with 10% more women than men admitting to worrying that they've left electrical appliances on once they've left the house. When asked what would be most useful to help them get up and out on time in the mornings, women were just as likely to choose an app which lets them check whether they remembered to switch off their appliances and switch them off remotely if they hadn't, as a personal wardrobe assistant!
The research also found that electrical appliances aren't the only thing slowing us down and making us fret when we're trying to get out of the house on time. Concerns around basic home security measures afflict us too, and with good reason; one in ten people have left the house without securely shutting the front door, 28% have left windows open and more than a third (38%) have mistakenly left lights on.
In addition to the Hive Active Plug™, Hive is also introducing the Hive Window or Door Sensor to help customers monitor what's going on at home even when they're not there. The wireless sensor is attached to a window or door frame, and will send an alert to your mobile, tablet or laptop via the Hive app if the window or door is open or closed.
Kassir continued "We've created the Hive Active Plug™ and the Hive Window or Door Sensor to fit seamlessly into people's lives - to give them new ways to control and monitor their homes, wherever they are. That's the job of connected home products: to restore people's peace of mind and provide reassurance when it's needed most as well as providing customers with control anytime, anywhere."