Are your electronics sucking the life out of your wallet? If so, you may have energy vampires - devices that eat power when you're not using them. While the moniker may sound funny, these "idle loads" are no laughing matter.
Electricity-draining devices account for almost 20% of your energy bill. As a whole, appliances that pull down power while on standby cost Americans about $19 billion dollars a year. Not only are these vampires bad for your wallet, but they’re also bad for the environment.
Are these energy vampires lurking in your home?
Beware of the energy vampires in the graph below. What a single device will cost you when you're not even using it can be truly scary.
While convenient, these small and seemingly innocent devices still pull down power as they rest in your outlet throughout the day - just not as much as they do when they're on and being used. Altogether, you'll shell out roughly $122.80 per year for the "ghost energy" they use.
You can also target power-sucking gadgets by taking a thoughtful inventory of the electronics in your home, and identifying the ones you rarely use. You might keep a television in your guest bedroom, for example, or an extra fridge in your basement or garage. Consider unplugging items that don’t need to be on 70% of the time; it can do wonders for your electric bill.
But what about the items I do use more than 70% of the time?
It’s one thing to unplug your charger, hair dryer, or coffee pot after it’s done its job, but what about heavy duty items like desktop computers, TVs, DVD players, and video game consoles? These items most likely sit at the back of your desk or TV stand, never to be touched. While unplugging them is a hassle, bear in mind that these devices are the worst offenders.
The Solution: Smart Power Strips
No one has the time to unplug every appliance when they leave the house. Fortunately, smart power strips offer a convenient, money saving solution. These very special surge protectors recognize when you're finished using a device, and shut everything down for you.
The Belkin Conserve Switch ($40), for example, is a top-ranked smart power stip. Just use the wireless remote to switch it off when you're not using the devices plugged into it. It's user-friendly, and makes saving money a breeze.
The Bits Smart Surge ($30) is a cheaper option that detects appliances in vampire mode and shuts them down.
Finding the right advanced powerstrip takes a bit of research, but the end result can save you big time.
Now It’s Time To Hunt These Vampires Down
Now that you know what to look for, you have the power to hunt these domestic Draculas. While changing your habits may take a bit of adjustment at first, your wallet (and the planet) will thank you.