Your Guide To Slaying Vampire Energy
We celebrate Halloween by telling tales of vampires that lurk in the dark ready to suck the blood out of the living. These creatures are of course made up, but there might be some very real vampires living comfortably in your home. We of course talk about vampire appliances– instead of blood, they feast on standby electricity, costing you money each month! Don’t worry, we will show you the antidote.
What is Vampire Energy and Why it Exist?
Why would appliances that are switched off still consume electricity? It has got to do with increased connectivity. The rapidly increasing sophistication of technology in our homes is a double-bladed sword – our appliances are always “ON”, ready to respond at moment’s notice to the remote control. As a result, they continuously use energy to perform updates, connect to remote servers, and record data.
If you are thinking that the costs of standby electricity must be counted in pennies, think again. According to NRDC.org, inactive electronics or devices add $19 billion to the total American electricity bill every year.
We are only talking here about the devices in standby mode. Don’t get us started on laptops, phones, and speakers plugged in and turned on for hours without being used. Take a moment to look around your home. Almost every modern appliance you own (microwave, TV, computers, toasters, etc.) costs you more money than what you bargained for.
Common Hideouts of Vampire Energy at your Home
There are various reasons for phantom electricity leakage at your home. Some appliances guzzle up more electricity on standby than others. Before you start hunting down those vampires, you should know about their hiding spots.
Remote Ready Vampire Appliances
As mentioned before, remote-ready appliances remain ready to receive orders to switch on while on standby. Any device that requires a one-button operation to wake it up uses vampire power. These include:
- Desktop computers and laptops
- Faxes and printers
- Stereos, TVs, and video game consoles
- Garage door openers
High “Off” Electricity Load
Some devices have such high “off” electrical load that they consume almost the same amount of electricity, whether they are on or off. For example, a printer uses an average of 6.22 watts while it’s on and 5.30 watts when it’s in sleep mode.
Energy Intensive Background Processing
Less obvious still are the unassuming vampires with no remotes – digital alarm clocks, microwaves, WiFi modems, or answering machines. They need a constant power source to continue updating in the background – for example, to compute what time it is. These devices are the trickiest because simply unplugging them every time you don’t use them would be impractical – for one, you would reset the time!
5 Appliances With Highest Vampire Energy Consumption
You might be wandering- alright, whos’ the biggest culprit in my house? It is likely your desktop computer- costing you more than $50 dollars in standby power annually. However, this might soon change. Smart devices (such as your laptop, a smart speaker, a tablet, or a smart clock) harboring an increasing number of features, will cause the cost of vampire energy to go up in the upcoming years.
Desktop computer - $82.40 annually
Video Game Consoles - $62.72 annually
Television - $47.56 annually
DVR with cable - $10.36 annually
Kitchen appliances - $15 annually
What consumes the least vampire power? That will probably be your night light (when it’s off) – with annual cost of only a couple of dollars. We will forgive you, night lights!
The Expense of Having a Vampire Energy Around
So what does having an energy vampire mean for your wallet? While the average price of electricity varies depending on where you live, if you know what your current electric rate is, you can easily calculate the cost of vampire power.
Let’s say you live in Texas where the average price per kilowatt-hour is 11.39 cents per kilowatt-hour. Your television, a classic energy vampire, consumes approximately 48.5 watts in standby mode. We will now calculate its electricity usage when it’s turned off:
- Daily – 48.5 x 24 =1164 watt-hours or 1.16 kilowatt-hours
- Monthly – 1.16 x 30 days = 34.8 kilowatt-hours
- Annually – 34.8 x 12 months = 417.6 kilowatt-hours
Multiplying it by your energy cost of 11.39 cents, you get an average annual cost of $47.56. We remind you – this is the cost of your television while it’s turned off!
Let’s find other sources of vampire energy in your home. Everywhere you look in your house, you will identify at least one energy-sucking appliance in each room – a computer, a phone charger, a coffee maker, and even a wall clock.
How to Slay the Vampire Energy
Garlic may ward off bloodsucking vampires, but let’s talk about what will scare off vampire energy. While you might not be able to stop all electricity leakage in your home, the US Department of Energy offers 4 ways to slay energy vampires at your home:
The blanket approach to fighting vampire power is simply unplugging whatever you can whenever you aren’t using it. Unplug devices when you are using them. Of course, this doesn’t apply to large appliances, such as a fridge or an oven. However, would it be such a bad idea to unplug the TV or a stereo every once in a while?
Power strips let you toggle the power flow on and off. They control the electricity usage of a cluster of devices, rather than one by one, making it easier to manage. Consider getting a smart power strip, which shuts off electronics that are no longer in use automatically, to avoid steep standby power costs.
We are all guilty of leaving our electronics, such as a laptop or a video game console idle for prolonged periods of time. Worse still, even when we decide to stop using them, we shut them instead of properly turning them off with a button- yes, we are looking at you! However, not turning off your laptop properly burns through an extra 34 dollars on your annual electricity bill. That’s a lot of money to waste for such a simple change.
Old or damaged appliances have to work harder, which will increase the amount of electricity they use. When it’s time to replace your beloved tool, invest in an energy-efficient alternative. A home outfitted with ENERGY STAR-certified products will use about 35% less energy and potentially save you $250 or more per year on utility bills. It might cost you a bit more upfront, but these appliances will pay for themselves in the first cycle of electricity savings.
Below are answers to some of the questions you might have about vampire power.
Is vampire power a real thing?
Blood-sucking vampires might be made up, but appliances that consume electricity in standby mode and costing you extra on your electricity bill certainly aren’t. As technology gets more sophisticated, most of our gadgets are ready to switch on at the moment’s notice with a remote, consuming power while they wait for your commands. To save energy and money, consider unplugging your electronics or consider using power strips.
What appliances use the most vampire energy?
If you think electronic devices in low-power mode or standby aren’t using up electricity –think again. The biggest energy leeches in your household are TVs, computers, and game consoles, even if objectively they are getting more efficient. Only a few years ago, a TV accounted for 50% of the electricity consumption of our domestic consumer electronics – now the figure is around 33%.
What devices are energy vampires?
There are essentially two types of electronic devices that suck vampire energy in your household. One type is a remote-ready device – a TV or a stereo. These electronics, while plugged continue to use electricity as they wait for you to wake them up with a click of a button. The other time is the appliance in a sleep mode -a laptop, computer, or a game console. Remember that the electricity usage in sleep mode continues adding to your cost.
Does leaving things plugged in use electricity?
It does. While waiting for you to turn them back on, electronic devices use electricity to be “on alert”. This is often referred to as phantom electricity. A computer or a stereo will use less electric power when in sleeping mode, but the cost is still there. The surest way to eliminate the usage completely is to unplug the device when you are done using it.
It might still be a while until the next Halloween but the energy vampire monsters are already lurking around your apartment. If the information that your appliances continue to use energy in standby mode, adding to your electricity costs, was a surprise to you, hopefully now you know what to do. Unplug the phantom devices, buy power strips and use energy star appliances. By the time the next Halloween comes around, you could save some serious coin on your electric bill. Looking for more energy-saving tips? Read our 25 Clever Ways How To Save Money On Utilities In Every Room.