Halloween may have passed, but the vampires are still lurking about. Energy vampires like computers and their equipment (modems, routers, etc.), instant-on TVs (plasma, LCD and rear-projection), surround sound systems, and household products with a clock (e.g. microwave, DVD player, etc.), are driving up your electric bill even when you aren’t using them.
We all want to save money, but pulling the plug on vampire electronics provides another benefit: it is one of the easiest steps you can take to fight climate change. These drainers are a waste of energy.
A couple quick examples from the Department of Energy:
- Cell phone chargers: the average charger is consuming .26 watts of energy, even when nothing is connected; it uses 2.24 watts when a fully charged device remains plugged in. While one charger may not result in a huge increase in your energy bill, if you add other common devices to the mix, energy vampires are often responsible for adding 10 percent or more to your monthly utility bill.
- Cable boxes: Even when powered off, these devices consume an average of 83 watts. This alone would add about $17.83 to your electrical bill over the year if you leave it plugged in and on. Make that a DVR cable box and that than doubles to $43.46.
So what can YOU do?
- Unplug devices used infrequently. We aren’t talking cable boxes or alarm clocks here. If you have an extra TV, a spare computer, or a stereo you use occasionally, just unplug until needed.
- Use power strips.Power strips let you to control the power to multiple devices with the flip of a switch. Turn it off when you’re not around.
- Cut idle waste. Set your computer to sleep mode or save a game on gaming equipment and then power down instead of pausing. This simple step can save more than $100 a year!
- Buy smart.When it is time to replace appliances, go ENERGY STAR. They are built to have lower standby consumption from the start, and usually use less energy all the way around.
What is Vampire Energy?
Just because you hit the power button, that doesn’t mean you’ve stopped the flow of electricity — you’ve only slowed the rate of energy consumption. What’s worse, many appliances don’t ever turn off, continuing to suck electricity for displays, remote controls, and battery charging in a “standby mode.”
These activities are draining energy from your home all day and all night… Billions of kilowatt hours of vampire energy are consumed every year by products that seem to be off, costing consumers over $11 billion (that’s about $120 every year for the average home). Want to get an idea of how much money vampires are bleeding from you? This calculator can tell you.
All this energy use takes its toll. Some power plants produce carbon dioxide, a leading cause of global climate change. Therefore, cutting wasteful power use (vampire energy) can cut carbon emissions. Even plants that run on nuclear or hydroelectric power produce emissions that can lead to smog and acid rain. Click here to learn more about how vampire energy works.