You might be surprised to learn that all devices suck energy when they’re plugged in, even if they’re powered down and not in use. In the U.S. alone vampire electricity--also known as standby, idle, or phantom load--is responsible for draining up to $19 billion in energy every year.
Anytime a cord is plugged into a socket, it’s drawing energy. So although you may not be using your gadgets, you’re still contributing to your carbon footprint.
One study shows that vampire electricity—computers in sleep mode, digital video recorders, certain kinds of electrical outlets, and more—accounts for 23 percent of power consumption in the average household and represents roughly 25% of your electricity bill, paid for no good reason!
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to reduce the amount of vampire electricity that your electronics and appliances consume.
Invest in Power Strips
Power strips drive a stake in the heart of vampire electricity. By plugging your electronics and appliances into a power strip and then turning off the strip when the devices aren’t in use (say before you go to bed), you’ll eliminate the energy use from those devices.
Cut off Vampire Electricity with Timers
For items that you use daily around the same time each day, such as certain lights or a coffee maker, consider plugging them into timers that automatically turn them on and off. Unlike power strips, timers do the work of powering the items for you so you don’t have to remember to do it yourself.
If a power strip doesn’t make sense in certain locations, another simple solution to stop vampire electricity is to leave your small appliances and electronics unplugged at all times. Then when you need to use a gadget, plug it back in.
Buy Energy Star Products
Some amount of standby mode is inevitable for most appliances and electronics. However, you can mitigate the amount of electricity wasted during this time by purchasing products that are Energy Star certified. Energy Star is a program of the U.S. Department of Energy that has established federal standards for energy efficiency and assures that products that carry the Energy Star certification meet those standards. The cost savings with Energy Star products can be significant, so it’s worth investing in them for both the financial and environmental benefits.