From Dracula, to Angel and Spike of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, to Marceline of Adventure Time, vampires have taken many forms in pop culture over the years. But while these fictional monsters provide thrills and entertainment, many people don’t know that a different type of vampire is lurking in every household — energy vampires.
Energy vampires suck electrical power from household appliances when they aren’t being used. Common culprits include phone chargers, TVs and game consoles. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), 75 percent of appliance energy use comes from when the appliance is turned off, but still plugged in. This waste of energy can account for 10 percent or more of an individual’s electrical bill.
Here’s how you can drive a metaphorical stake through the hearts of energy vampires to save power and money on your monthly utility bill.
1. Remember to unplug.
When it’s convenient, remember to unplug items that are not in use. Is your phone fully charged? Unplug your phone charger cord. Have a second TV that you don’t watch often? Wait to plug it in until the next time you use it. These simple practices alone will help you save energy.
2. Use power strips.
Plug items that are used more frequently into power strips. This allows you to turn the entire power strip on and off to keep multiple appliances from consuming energy when you’re not home. This strategy is great for TVs, stereos, lamps, and other electronics that you use on a daily basis.
3. Avoid idle time.
When you walk away from your computer, or take a break from playing your favorite video game, powering down these electronics can make a huge difference. Instead of leaving your laptop open, put it on sleep mode. Instead of leaving your game console running, turn it off. This small effort can lead to even bigger savings.
Typically speaking, older appliances and electronics drain more energy. This doesn’t mean you have to run out and purchase new devices to replace them immediately. However, when it comes time to replace something that no longer works, consider replacing them with ENERGY STAR devices. Appliances and electronics with this energy efficiency rating are like garlic to energy vampires — in addition to consuming less standby power, they use less energy overall.