Did you know that simply turning off your electronics isn’t enough when it comes to lowering your electric bill? Even though these devices are powered off, many of them are still wasting electricity, especially those that go into standby mode like televisions, satellite or cable boxes, sound bars and DVRs.
Let’s demonstrate what we’re talking about. When the power is turned off for many types of TV models, an LED light still remains lit on the front panel (it may glow red when the power is off and glow green when power is on). This indicates that the television is still drawing power from the electrical outlet. And your television isn’t the only device that does that.
That is the definition of standby mode. Certain electronics don’t turn off completely. They simply wait patiently for you to use them again while, in the meantime, they continue to draw (and waste) energy. Another term for this energy-wasting phenomenon is “vampire energy” because these devices suck up unneeded electricity.
Now here’s the kicker. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, these energy-sucking standby-mode devices account for more than 10% of your overall electric bill. To put that into numbers, if your average bill is $150, it could really be $135 if there was no vampire energy usage.
But TVs, DVRs and cable boxes aren’t the only devices drawing unneeded energy. We all have devices that are plugged in 24/7 like phone chargers. Did you know that phone chargers use about 0.26 watts when they are plugged in and not in use?
There’s also your laptop charger. It uses about 4.42 kWh when not in use. If your laptop is fully charged, then that is a total waste of energy. Even worse, when your laptop is in use, it draws 29.48 kWh when fully charged. So that begs the question: why leave your laptop plugged in wasting energy when it’s fully charged?
Here’s How to Test the Phenomenon of Vampire Energy
There’s no doubt that your home is leaking energy. But the question is, how much? Here’s a simple test. Turn off your air conditioner or heating unit. Then turn off your hot water heater. Finally, turn off everything in your home but don’t unplug anything.
Now step outside and find your electric meter box. Looks closely at the numbers to see if they are still going up. If they are, which they probably are, it 100% indicates that you have a vampire energy issue.
Here Are Ways to Slay the Vampire
The most obvious course of action is to simply unplug everything when you’re not using it. But in reality, that can be a real pain in the you know what, especially when outlets are next to impossible to reach (like those behind heavy furniture).
Another way to approach the problem is by using power strips. At least this way, you could turn off a collection of devices with the flip of a switch. On top of that, some power switches can be operated using a remote so that you can turn the power on and off from across the room.
And then there are smart outlets which can be controlled by smartphone apps or artificial intelligence devices such as the Amazon Echo or Google Home. The advantage of using smart outlets is that they can normally be controlled by an app even when not at home. Smart plugs can also be programmed by schedule meaning that you can set certain times of day where outlets will power on and off.
The bottom line is, unplugging devices, turning off power switches or powering off smart plugs prevent electronics from going into standby mode.
Now is the time to start thinking about how you want to attack those vampire energy sucking devices. If you don’t have the money to buy newer energy saving electronics, then using one of the tips above could be a cheaper, viable alternative.