Although the concept has begun permeating mainstream culture, there are still millions of Americans that are unaware of the cost of leaving consumer electronics plugged in when not in use. This invisible drain on your power bill is referred to by experts as ‘Vampire Power’, because the devices consume energy and drain your wallet under the cover of being ‘off’ at night.
Which consumer appliances use power when they’re off? Nearly all of them, everything from your personal computer, modem, speaker system, and phone charger to your TV, Blu Ray player, VCR, and cable box. The most discouraging thing is, you have no way to know which appliances and electronics are still using power when they are on without buying a special 3rd party device to tally the waste.
How much money could you really be losing? Please make sure your sitting down because one plasma TV, which is among the biggest energy hogs, can cost in excess of an extra $150 a year while its turned off. Other electronics in your home won’t cost quite that much however when you consider how many you have it starts to add up quick. Your computer costs about $5 per year while it’s off and your powered speakers cost almost $10. If your family is anything like ours, you will find ten to twenty electronics and appliances that eat energy while they are off, and in our case it’s totals an approximate $300 per year in extra power cost.
Protecting yourself from this phantom power loss is as easy as unplugging the devices that aren’t in use, however that could become a pretty repetitive and time consuming task, not to mention that some devices such as a DVR can’t work for you while unplugged. That is why ‘smart’ power supplies and surge protectors have begun to make their way on the market which can detect vampire power use and cut juice to the offending device. These intelligent power bricks cost from $30 to $100 but it’s easy to see they could pay for themselves over time. Another easy fix is to look for ‘Energy Star’ approved electronics and appliances that will perform for considerably less energy than their non-stickered counterparts.
The choice isn’t soley about saving money either, as all that wasted energy is adding up to environmental impacts also. Don’t work so hard saving money with free coupons and freebies just to give it all back to those evil vampires of the night, sucking up energy and clearing out your wallet while they’re off.