Unsuspecting homeowners everywhere are falling victim to vampires…energy vampires! No need to be squeamish, however, and no need to cover your eyes. These vampires don’t drink blood. Instead, they slowly suck up precious power as they wait for you to use them, taking a toll on your wallet and the environment.
Energy vampires are electronic devices that use standby power, which means they keep drawing power even when they are turned off. Sometimes the standby power is needed for displays or remote controls, but many times power is just being wasted.
Did you know that chargers for cell phones and tools suck energy just by being plugged in, even if they aren’t charging anything?
It’s estimated that 10% of the average home electricity bill comes from energy vampires. Nationally, standby power costs the U.S. more than $10 billion a year in energy costs. Those energy vampires are responsible for roughly 1% of global CO2 emissions.
So how do you slay your energy vampires? No stakes required. Simply unplug electronics that aren’t used very often, like the TV or alarm clock in a spare bedroom. Use a surge protector or power strip to easily turn off groups of items when you aren’t using them. For example, a TV, DVD player, audio equipment and several video game consoles could be grouped together. Keep DVRs and wireless routers powered separately, however, or they won’t record your shows or allow you to access your wi-fi.
For true convenience, consider buying a “smart” power strip. These strips shut down power to products in standby mode by using a programmable timer, a motion sensor, or a current sensor, making the effort to reduce your power usage easy and automatic. You can buy smart power strips at most retailers, but also check with your local utility to see if they offer a discount or rebate.
Some things can’t be unplugged, like refrigerators, because they need power to monitor and control the temperature. But you can reduce power usage by buying energy-efficient products. Look for the Energy Star label.
Find out more on the Energy Star website.