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

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Should I Leave the AV Receiver or Amp On?

Many people wonder if you should leave the AV receiver on or if you should power it off when you are not using it. The advantage of leaving the AV receiver on all the time is that the amp and AV receiver will warm up and become operational faster that way. Many people leave their AV Receivers on all the time, and their experience bears out that it’s not causing problems in the short run, but there are some major disadvantages to doing so.

Am I Using Too Much Power Keeping It On?

It seems almost like a waste to leave your A/V receivers and amplifiers on 24/7. After all, these devices use electricity that costs money and power that you could be using on other things. In cases where we have entertainment spaces, home bars, home theaters, and home offices, you may not be interested in having the audio system on for those times when you are away from the house.

For example, the video game systems, televisions, and speakers in a home entertainment area could comprise a complex audio system. Leaving the room unoccupied for extended periods leaves a lot of expensive audio gear on when you don’t need it. For this reason, many A/V enthusiasts choose to turn everything off until they return to watch a movie, play a round of video games, or listen to music.

How to Take Care of My Sound Equipment

Sound equipment, especially the amplifiers, receivers, and speakers, is large and prone to damage. The most you can do to care for them is choose a place with minimal risks of falling or being hit by anything. Also, make sure the equipment is not exposed to extreme temperatures. Consider the following suggestions:

Heat sink:

Most modern equipment is designed to run cool, but their heat sinks can become hot enough to burn a finger. Some heat sinks may also stick out to enhance the dissipation of heat. When placing the unit back on a table or shelf, you should make sure it has adequate spacing to allow heat to dissipate and does not come in contact with any object. This will prevent the unit from overheating.

Clean the surface:

When dust accumulates on speakers or other devices, the dust will absorb some of the sounds and cause the sound system to sound not as good as it should. Allow the unit to cool down and make sure no one is in the room. Try not to rub with too hard of a brush as you might end up scratching them.

Put Equipment Away When Not Using

There are some benefits to leaving your audio equipment on all the time, and others to turning it off when you’re not using it.

On the benefits side, leaving your equipment on continuously allows it to remain ready to use at any time. It doesn’t have to warm up and is not using unnecessary energy to power on. But leaving the amp on when you’re not using it can reduce its lifespan. To keep it protected, make it a habit to turn equipment on only when you’re about to use it.

Replace Worn Out Parts

If your AV receiver or amp fails while you’re not using it, it can cause a big-time headache. I recently ran into this problem when a fuse blew on my older receiver, and I wasn’t home to notice. I came home to a dead receiver. The fuse was one of the tiny fuses you can’t see, and even harder to access. I could have replaced the blown fuse, but it turned out to be cheaper to buy a new receiver, and it was an easy DIY job to install it.

Sometimes the right decision is to purchase a new receiver. There are several reasons why this is so.

Budget, the cost of repair and parts are usually greater than the cost of a replacement. Also, if you do decide to hire a technician, replace an entire unit; it will likely be cheaper for them to replace the receiver rather than doing it piecemeal.

Wrap Up the Wires

Since these receivers are heavy and most people will often leave these amps and receivers on for years, some prefer to work on a frame with a backplate to secure the unit. Often the amp and receiver will be kept as a pair, so you may find the frame built around both components.

Keep Equipment From Heat Source

If you set up your equipment in a cabinet, keep your equipment, like the receiver or amplifier, away from the heat source. Infrared heat can damage the electronic components inside your equipment. A DVR/VCR/DVD player or cable box is another place you wouldn't want to put these components because they generate heat through use.

If your amplifier has a heat sink on it, you might want to consider turning it sideways and having the heat sink face the back of the equipment rack. This will help keep the amplifier out of hot areas and assure that it doesn't overheat.

Keep the Sound Low

Throughout the day I leave my audio equipment on and set the volume relatively low. This way, when I want to listen to music, I can walk over and switch it on.

Keeping your tubes in place is very important. Sporadic turn on and off, while you're listening, can cook your tubes prematurely. Either you or the kids may come on, blare the music for an hour then turn it off for the rest of the day. Not good.

Keep in mind, all vacuum tubes are subjected to tremendous heat and cold in operation. Leaving something in standby and allowing a lower heat to build up can be equally detrimental.


In conclusion, it is not recommended to leave the receiver and amp perpetually on. The volume control, which is a passive part, will succumb to the effects of time and usage, resulting in either an excessively distorted or weak sound or both. I have a Philips Integrated Stereo System where the sound would often distort, and thus I would have to keep turning the volume control on the amplifier to get the sound to normal levels. On the other hand, the fuse – another passive part of your stereo system – used to just blow out after some time, thereby, necessitating that the fuse is replaced.

Looking at the active components, the interconnecting circuity, amplifier, and receiver will get hot and can potentially affect the performance of the system. Finally, there can be power surges in your house that can cause intermittent problems in your amplifier. Also, other details such as the quality of the connectors and cabling can affect system performance.