Are Energy Vampires lurking in your home?

Sep 25 2020

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October is National Energy Awareness month.

Help our planet and your wallet by rooting out the energy vampires wasting energy around your home. What is an energy vampire? Any electric or electronic device that is plugged into a socket – they continue to suck power even when turned off. In fact, as much as 75% of electricity that powers home electronics is used when those devices are turned off!

Energy vampires are no small thing. With the profusion of electronics, smart devices, and electric appliances in our homes, they are a growing problem. Nearly a quarter of energy use at home comes from vampire power and it’s costing Americans about $3 billion a year (source 1, 2). With residential energy use accounting for 20% of our nation’s greenhouse gas emissions that amount of wasted energy is a scary thought!

Energy vampires include anything with a clock, timer, glowing light, adaptor, memory or remote control. Common examples are cell phones chargers, televisions, computers, coffee makers, microwaves – even your electric toothbrush or rechargeable vacuum. Estimate the amount and cost of energy vampires in your home with this calculator or get a Kill-A-Watt meter to measure the amount of energy different items use around your home when not in use.

What can you do about energy-sucking vampires? Time to change some habits! Luckily, technology can make it easier. Check out our tips below.

Turn off and Unplug

Make sure you turn off devices when they are not in use – don’t simply put devices in standby mode which uses nearly as much power as active use. Unplug anything you can to cut their vampire load to zero. This is especially good for items you rarely use such as guest room clocks or garage radios.

Use a Power Strip

To avoid having to unplug things you regularly use, plug devices into a power strip. After shutting down, simply flip the switch on the strip to cut power. Make it automatic by using an advanced power strip (sometimes called smart power strips). A variety of advanced power strip options are available – even small, wall-outlet smart plugs. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory has a quiz so you can figure out which type of power strip would work for you. These are especially great for TVs or computers and all the peripherals used with them.

Use Timers

Timers are a really good option for devices that only need to be used for a short time or at a specific time of day, such as a coffeemaker, robot vacuum or a heated towel rack. With the holidays coming up, be sure to get a timers for your holiday lights!

Unplug Charged Devices

Once your cell phone, camera, vacuum, electric toothbrush or razor are fully charged, unplug them. Keep an eye on them or try doing an internet search to figure out how long they typically take to recharge, then set a timer and unplug! Do the same for charging stations for rechargeable batteries or small electronics. There’s no need to leave them sucking power for hours or days when the battery is full.

Even simple screensavers like these use a lot of power.
Screensavers Suck (power)

Screensavers do not save power. Instead, put your computer to sleep or in power saving mode when leaving for a short time period such as over lunch. You can set up your device to automatically go into power-saving mode after a certain amount of inactivity. Be sure to fully shut down at the end of the day.

Buy ENERGY STAR certified

When it’s time to make an upgrade to your appliances or electronics, be sure to look for models that are ENERGY STAR certified. These products are proven to be more efficient and use less energy than non-energy star certified models while providing the same performance.

Knowledge is Power

Now that you know how simple it can be to cut vampire power at home tell the people you know about this problem. Unlike many environmental issues, the solution to vampire power is as simple as flipping a few switches – no garlic necessary.

Don’t wait until the next full moon – root out the energy vampires in your home today!

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