Halloween might be over but you could still have vampires hanging around your house and they are not looking for candy. We are talking about your electronics that could be draining energy without you really knowing it. They are referred to as energy vampires. These are items that although they are turned “off” still are using energy. Does your microwave have a clock on it? How about your gaming system, TV or your computer? These are all drawing energy even though they are not actively being used.
Identifying energy vampires is fairly easy. Ask: Is it plugged in? Does it have some sort of display (clock, channel number, or any other light on it)? Is it something that charges batteries? Does it have a remote control? If the answer is yes to one or more of these questions, it is probably using energy without you realizing it.
Now that we have identified the vampires, how do we combat them? Sorry, garlic and a cross are not going to work in this case but there are some very simple things you can do. First, if you need to replace any of these items, look to see if there is an ENERGY STAR certified version. This will decrease your overall energy usage. Second, for items that are being charged, make sure to unplug them once they are fully charged. Third, unplug items not in use. This is the difficult one as there are some items you just don’t want to unplug completely. If you have a cable box that has to go through a full reboot after you plug it back in, it might not be something you want to do. On the other hand, if you are going away for a week, save the energy and unplug it. There are also smart power strips that allow you to control your appliances remotely.
Okay, this all sounds great but how much can I really save? The US Department of Energy estimates that in an average home about 10% of the energy usage is due to vampire appliances and electronics. That can add up over the course of a year. Here are a few of the top vampires with the average of how much energy they consume in standby mode:
TV – 145 kWh
Stereo System – 128 kWh
Cable Box – 128 kWh
Router – 102 kWh
Printer – 70 kWh
DVD player – 59 kWh
Microwave – 26 kWh
What can you turn off in your home to start saving energy and money? For more tips on energy saving visit energystar.gov or the Air King website at www.airkinglimited.com