Difference between pulling the plug and switching off


For example, I have a stand fan in my bedroom and I wanna be able to turn it on and off via a switch on my side table (it doesn’t come with a remote, unfortunately). The fan will be set on a specific fan speed and I’ll just have to turn it on or off. Are there gonna be any bad effects to the fan with this setup?

Also, can this be applicable to other small appliances like TVs?

In: 2

Pulling the plug while something is powered on is less desirable. It runs the risk of causing an arc between the socket and the plug, which can damage either. This is less true for smaller electrical loads (like your fan), but you should probably still avoid it, if for no other reason than the plug is probably not expected to make it through as many insertions/removals as your on/off switch is expected to be able to cycle.

For simple devices, like fans and such, there is no risk of damage to the appliance by pulling the plug.

For digital devices like computers and modern smart TVs, voltage spikes can potentially damage sensitive electronics.

The main problem with pulling the plug on electrics is causing a spark, so you know just be sure to have nothing flammable near by. (yikes)

Your best option will be to plug the TV into a surge protector and turn the surge protector on and off. Or connect the switch between the wall socket and surge protector.

Especially with more smart appliances it is highly recommended that you use the proper shut down process before disconnecting the plug.

As you pull the plug from a working appliance that draws significant power, it creates a spike in the outlet but also in you home circuit. In most cases, it is not harmful, as there likely is some surge protection, it is still a risk, it is also increases the risk of a spark and an electric shock.

In smart appliances specifically, there is a certain risk that they are running some background update that might mess the appliance up when you pull the plug.

In general:

When you disconnect or connect an electrical circuit under load there is alway a small electrical arc. It doesnt matter if its low or high voltage, the arc is always there just different in size.

When an arc is established, there is always a spike in the voltage. The free electrons charge up the surrounding air, the arc starts to creep and when it connects all that charge from the surrounding air is discharged at once.

Thats why you usually have to connect/disconnect everything switched off.

A switch is designed to handle those arcs, plugs are not.

And fun fact: on tvs the power button on the tv disconnects the ac input. So even if the switch is well designed, there is a spike. So the proper way to disconnect a TV is:

1. Switch off using the remote. Its switching off most of the DC side of the circuit.
2. Switch off the power button on the tv. It disconnects the AC side of the circuit.
3. Pull the plug.

Properly connecting everything is the other way around.

Sorry for any grammar mistakes. English is only my second language.