Many consumer electronics continue to draw power even when they are switched off. Since this often happens at night, they’re called vampire electronics.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), which is part of the U.S. Department of Energy, estimates vampire electronics add up to a wasted $200 or more in electricity costs annually for the average home and even more for businesses.
The NREL defines vampire energy as the electricity that some devices use when they’re turned off, but still plugged into a power outlet.
The worst offenders are electronics and other “smart” devices that have a built-in clock or digital display and “remote-ready” appliances, like computers, cable boxes, TVs, microwave ovens, garage door openers and video game consoles.
Other appliances can be energy vampires, too. Any cord that is plugged into an electrical outlet draws electricity. So if you’re done charging your phone, but the charger is still plugged in, or leave your computer plugged in after you’ve shut down for the day, you’re still using energy.
Save energy with obvious suggestions, such as turning off lights and fans when you leave a room. Unplugging every appliance you’re not using isn’t always practical, but you should unplug those you don’t use as often, such as an electric razor or hair dryer.
The NREL recommends investing in advanced power strips, which shut off the supply of power when electronics are not in use. For example, you could use a power strip that’s on a timer and turns off every night, or a remote-controlled power strip that’s easy to turn off when you leave the house.
This Halloween, enjoy the goblins, princesses and vampires that show up at your door and, as much as possible, say goodbye to the vampires wasting energy and costing you money.