Halloween is upon us. In a few short weeks, costumed trick-or-treaters will take to the streets, but the real haunting might be occurring inside your home thanks to vampire energy.
What is vampire energy?
Vampire energy is caused by appliances that use energy even when they’re turned off. As fang-toothed vampires suck the blood of their victims, these energy vampires suck energy from your outlets and drain your wallet in the process. And they’re not just lurking around your home during Halloween; they’re wreaking havoc on your energy bill all year.
According to the Department of Energy, vampire appliances and electronics account for 10% of the energy used in an average home. Frightening! Just imagine how much you could save each year by slaying your energy vampires.
How to identify energy vampires
To identify the evilest energy vampires in your home, start by looking at the plugs. The most terrifying energy suckers are known as “wall warts” and “bricks.”
A wall wart has a large plug; your cell phone charger is a likely example of one of these monsters. A brick is a large black box often found on cords used for laptop computers and televisions. Left plugged in, these ghoulish bricks use energy continuously.
The top energy vampires include:
- Computers and computer-related equipment (modems, routers, printers, etc.)
- Instant-on TVs (LED, LCD and rear-projection)
- As a rule of thumb, larger screens use more energy.
- Video game consoles
- Surround-sound systems
- Cable or satellite TV boxes
- Tablet and cell phone chargers
- Household items with a clock (microwave, coffee maker, DVD player, etc.)
How to slay the energy vampires in your home
While hanging garlic around your home won’t help, there are a few key things you can do to slay your energy vampires.
1. Buy a plug-in energy monitor to find your scariest energy vampires. Once you know how much energy your appliances are using, you can take action to reduce your energy usage and lower your monthly energy bills.
2. Unplug appliances and electronics when not in use. If you find this task to be a little dreadful, consider using power strips to turn off all appliances and electronics plugged into them quickly and easily. This can be especially helpful for your entertainment center and home office.
3. Use plug timers for holiday decor. Those Halloween lights, fog machines and inflatables surely make your yard look spooky, but they also use electricity. Use plug timers to turn them off and on at optimal times and ultimately save energy.
4. Limit idle time. Instead of pausing your video game system or television, save and power down.
5. Make ENERGY STAR® upgrades. When it comes time to send your old electronics and appliances to their graves, make smart home upgrades. Look for the ENERGY STAR label, as these products have a lower standby consumption.