How to Eliminate Vampire Energy

Posted on Feb 6, 2014 in Green Tip

Today, we want to take a minute to explain vampire energy, also known as standby power. The terms refer to the electricity many gadgets and appliances waste just by being plugged in (even if they’re switched off). While this sometimes provides useful functions such as clock displays, most of the time it is simply wasted power. Your cell phone charger, for instance, uses power when it’s plugged into the wall even if your phone is not attached.

In the average U.S. home, 25 percent of electricity use by home electronics occurs while the products are off. One report shows that over time, many microwaves and televisions actually consume more electricity during the hours they’re not in use than the times you’re actually using them. A certain amount of standby power is unavoidable, especially with major appliances or other devices that are impractical to turn off. But this doesn’t mean vampire power can’t be kept to a minimum.

Here’s what you can do to cut down:

Identify which electronic devices drain power when not in use. In the living room, look at your media console. You might be surprised to see how many devices have red lights on all day just to indicate they are “off”.

Replace these electronic items with energy-efficient devices or cut off power when you aren’t using them. If you’re not using an electronic device, unplug it — that’s the blanket approach to fighting vampire power. You can make this step even easier with a surge protector or power strip. Plug multiple items in the strip and simply turn it off when you’re not using the devices. If the strip is off, you don’t have to worry about leaking electricity. Besides your entertainment center, consider the kitchen. If you’re like me, you probably have a toaster, coffee maker, microwave, and blender that all use energy when not in use, so keep them unplugged unless you need to use them!