13 Vampire Energy Sucking Devices In Your Home

Did you know there are vampires in your home right now?  This is not a Halloween story.  It’s real.  They are sucking the life out of your household energy budget.  I’m talking about energy vampires, the gadgets and appliances that drain your electricity and your wallet even when you are not using them. 
There are so many devices that have a standby mode, which means they use up energy even when turned off.  Vampire power can cost you up to 10% of your electric bill.  In fact, on a national basis, standby power accounts for more than 100 billion kilowatt hours of annual U.S. electricity consumption and more than $10 billion in annual energy costs.

The first challenge is to identify products that draw standby power. Here are clues to recognizing products that draw power continuously:

    * Remote control
    * External power supply
    * Digital display, LED status light, or digital clock
    * Contains a battery charger
    * Has soft-touch key-pad

A product with one or more these features will have standby power use; however, other products won’t have any of these and may still have standby. The only way to be sure is to measure them with a meter.

Here are the 13 worst energy suckers, followed by ways to drive the proverbial stake through the heart of their vampire-like behavior:

1.   Set-top box for TV (such as a DVR, VCR or cable box)

2.   Television – rear projection and plasma TV’s are the worst offenders

3.   Desktop and laptop computers

4.   Audio systems  – powered subwoofers are the biggest energy suckers

5.   Printers and scanners

6.   CD and DVD players

7.   Cordless telephone

8.   Fax machine

9.   Wireless router

10.  Microwave oven

11.  External USB hard drive

12.  DSL modem

13.  Computer monitors


Use a power strip as a central "turn off" point when you are done using equipment, which completely disconnects the power supply. You can use one for your computer and all peripheral equipment, and another for your home electronics (TV, VCR, DVD, stereo, gaming). Keep in mind, however, that if you’ve set a timer to wake up a product, such as programming a DVR or VCR to record a program, then the product must remain plugged in (and able to draw standby power) to function as intended.

 Unplug your chargers: cell phone chargers, camera chargers, battery chargers or power adapters, etc. These are drawing some amount of energy even when not in use (and even when not connected to an end-use product).

 Buy low-standby products if you can find them.  Look for products labeled Energy Star, which means they meet certain government guidelines for energy savings.  Get more help from the U.S. Dept. of Energy at: www.energystar.gov

Photo courtesy of Flickr


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