Is It Bad to Leave AV Receivers and Amps on All the Time?

It is important to take proper care of your stereo equipment for it to stay in good shape and last longer. There is a big debate about whether you should keep AV receivers and amps on between uses or if it is better to turn them off.

It is not bad to leave AV receivers and amps on all the time as most stereo equipment is set up to use minimal power and will go into standby mode when not in use. So leaving AV receivers and amps on or turning off between uses are both safe.

Leave AV Receivers and Amps on

This article will look more at the safety of keeping your AV receivers and amps on and when you may want to consider turning them off.

Should I Leave the AV Receiver or Amp On?

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There has been some debate about this for years. Many have come to believe it is best to leave the power on all the time. They believe that each time you turn the receiver back on, it takes up a lot of power and causes strain on the equipment.

This idea comes from the era of recording studios and some of the earlier vacuum-tube computers. In those times, it was much better to leave the equipment running and never turning it off.

Tube buffers will take some time, possibly several hours or more, for the circuits to stabilize. This meant a lot of energy and time wasted when you turned the tubes off. Our modern AV receivers though have a solid-state circuitry that can settle down in just a few minutes.

The old tube system would have a surge of power that went straight to the cold heater elements. Each time the surge happened, it would shorten the life of the equipment. With the turn-on power surge for our modern equipment, the life-shortening effects are negligible.

Unless you plan to run a recording studio that is open all the time, there isn’t much sense leaving the receiver power on all the time. Heat is the biggest enemy of any circuitry over time, and all components will generate heat. This is true of your receivers, which can jam seven amplifiers and other circuitry into one part.

Leaving the AV receiver and amp on will not cause damage. Most are set up to use minimal power while on and are safe to put into standby mode. It is often seen as good practice to turn the system and components off between uses. It will not harm your system if it is left on, though.

Am I Using Too Much Power Keeping It On?

Another question you may be curious about is how much power you use when you keep the receivers on. It may not damage the system, but are you using a lot of power when you decide to keep it on?

While it is not necessary to keep the receiver on and usually is best to turn it off, you will not waste a lot of energy. Most receivers will give off about 120 watts of power, similar to the amount that most lightbulbs give off. If you leave it on all day, the receiver will only use the amount of power that your regular light bulbs do.

Many receivers and amplifiers will also come with a standby circuit. These go on automatically when the equipment is not being used. And they will help reduce the amount of power that you are using through the equipment. This means that if you leave your receiver on, it is likely to use even less power as it enters the standby mode.

How to Take Care of My Sound Equipment

Sound Equipment

The most important thing you can do is take proper care of your sound equipment. While turning the AV Receiver off is unnecessary, it can help keep it safe and prevent accidents as well. Taking care of all the parts of your sound equipment will help it last longer. Here are some steps you can do.

Put Equipment Away When Not Using

It may be easier to leave your equipment out all the time. You don’t have to worry about putting it all away and bringing it back out the next time you want to use it. Leaving your equipment out leaves it more susceptible to accidents and breaking. When the equipment is put away nicely, it stays until you need it next.

Replace Worn Out Parts

Depending on how often you use your equipment, you will need to consider replacing the worn-out parts regularly. The wires, amp, plugins, and anything extra you add to the setup will need checking regularly.

Using parts that are worn out can age your system quickly. And if you use those parts for too long, you may cause electrical problems in pieces of equipment that worked fine before. Replacing any parts that looked frayed, worn out, or don’t seem to work as well anymore right away to help the whole system stay in good working order.

Wrap Up the Wires

Be careful of all wires with your equipment. While you need to have them out while using the receiver and amp, always leave them as much out of the way as possible. And when you are done using your equipment, wrap up the chords and put them away.

If the wires are in the way, someone can easily trip over them, pull them out of the receiver and the amp, and require expensive repairs.

Keep Equipment From Heat Source

While leaving your receiver and amp on is not going to damage the system, it is important to install this equipment as far away from potential sources of heat as possible. Potential sources of heat will include space heaters, baseboard heaters, radiators, kitchen appliances, and heating ducts. Direct sunlight may be an issue as well.

Ventilation is important. Your equipment can overheat easily. There are a lot of components to help the system stay on and work. And these add a lot of heat on their own. If you don’t add in enough ventilation and you leave the equipment near a heat source, you may cause damage from too much heat near the receiver and amp.

Keep the Sound Low

It may be fun to turn the sound up as loud as possible, but it is not good on your stereo equipment. It can add too many vibrations and can cause rips and tears inside the amp.

While most receivers and amps can handle a little bit of noise and loud music, don’t try to turn it up as loud as it can go and hope for the best. Look at the specifications for your equipment to see what they recommend for noise levels.


It was safer for you to leave your equipment on instead of turning it off in the past. Each time you restarted the equipment, it would send a big surge of energy and take a long time to recharge.

Modern receivers and amps do not have this problem, and it is safe to leave them on while using minimal power or turn them off without causing harm. For proper care of your receivers and amps, it is recommended to turn them off and put them away between uses.

Check out my recommended AV receivers for home theater.

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