Twenty years ago when you turned your television off, it was off. When flat screen and smart televisions began to take over American homes, their need for constant power helped to give rise to a new phenomenon: the dreaded “energy vampire.” Televisions aren’t the only culprit. Cell phones, computers even basic household appliances feed these “vampires.” Don’t panic! There’s are ways to take the bite out of these vampires.
“Off” Doesn’t Mean “Off” Anymore
An energy vampire can be any object in your home that uses electricity when it isn’t in use or turned to “on.” You could have up to 50 objects in your home that fall into this category. Individually, these objects don’t use all that much electricity. However, taken as a whole over the course of a year, these “vampires” can represent 5% to 8% of your electric bill. That equals the cost of one month’s electricity usage.
Time to Unplug Appliances?
Yes and no. First, here’s a partial list of appliances and electronics that can use power even when they’re “off:”
- Desktop computers
- Laptop computers
- Cell phone chargers
- CD players and radios
You don’t want to unplug appliances just to have to plug them back in the next time they’re used. So, put several of these items on one power strip so you’ll just need to turn off the strip. Keep in mind there are some appliances, such as your refrigerator, that must of course be plugged in all the time.
Will I Really Save Money if I Unplug Appliances?
You will! How much depends upon how diligent you are in turning “off” appliances. You’re paying for electricity in watts: for example, if you have an old VCR plugged in in your basement, it is using 13 watts per day, every day, when its plugged in. That’s 114 kilowatts (kWh) per year. At the national average of 13 cents per kWh, that’s $14.82 per year. That doesn’t seem like a lot…until you multiple it by another 20 or 30 appliances. Contact Tim Kyle Electric in Emmitsburg to track down your worst “energy vampires” and to learn strategies for reducing that hidden cost.