This Halloween, we’ll be seeing tons of spooky creatures and supernatural monsters out on the streets, but the scariest monster is lurking every day right in your own home: the energy vampire! An “energy vampire” is an electronic appliance or device that still uses energy when it’s plugged in, even if it’s turned off.
Most energy vampires go into “standby” mode, where they continuously suck a trickle of electricity (called a “phantom load”) to power features such as clocks, digital displays, timers, and LED status lights. Yes, that means your glowing microwave clock is actually a creature of the night!
Did you know that the typical modern household uses 20-40 energy vampire appliances? And they’re hungry creatures. They account for 5-10% of a household’s total electricity use. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, that adds up to about $100 per year for each household, or more than $10 billion in annual energy costs nationwide!
Some energy vampires that might be draining your wallet include:
- DVRs (digital video recorders) & set-top cable and satellite boxes
- TVs (especially LCD and plasma TVs) & DVD players
- Video game consoles
- Computers (desktops & notebooks)
- Chargers (e.g. for cell phones, MP3 players, notebook computers, tablets, etc.)
- Home audio systems
The City of Corona has partnered with Southern California Edison, Southern California Gas Company and The Energy Coalition through the Community Energy Partnership* to help you defeat energy and money-wasting monsters like these. Here are some tips on how to slay energy vampires in your own home:
- Unplug devices when they’re not being used. Energy vampires can’t suck your home’s electricity if they aren’t connected to a wall outlet! It may not be feasible to unplug every energy vampire in your home, but it’s easy and practical to unplug appliances in areas not frequently used, such as a guest room or garage. Finally, be sure to unplug rechargeable items as soon as they’re done charging.
- Use a power strip or surge protector: Plug appliances into an easily accessible power strip or surge protector and simply turn the entire power strip off when the devices aren’t being used. This conveniently cuts off the electricity from greedy energy vampires!
- Buy weaker energy vampires: You may not be able to completely avoid energy vampires in this digital age, but you can choose to buy and use appliances that drain less energy than others when in standby mode.
*The Community Energy Partnership is funded by California utility customers and administered by Southern California Gas Company and Southern California Edison under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission.