The Truth About Vampire Energy (And How To Vanquish It)

There are vampires in your house. No, not the pale-skinned, toothy, teenage-angsty, kind. The kind that like to take a painful bite out of your wallet instead of your neck. Energy vampires lurk within virtually every appliance that plugs into the wall.

Televisions, refrigerators, video game consoles: these are all things we plug in once and then forget about. Even though we may remember to turn them off (or not stand in front of them with the door open) these appliances are sucking up valuable energy every second they’re plugged in. Over time, this little trickle of energy consumption adds up to lots of wasted money and unnecessary carbon emissions.

The good news about energy vampires is you don’t need a wooden stake or shirtless werewolf to vanquish them. All you need is a little knowledge about how they work and some nifty gadgets that can put an end to the waste. Feel like slaying some vampires? Keep reading to learn more.

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Image via GOOD Magazine

Know Thy Enemy

The first step toward ridding your home of energy vampires is knowing what they are and where they like to hang out. They’re also referred to by several different names, like “idle current usage,” “phantom loads,” and “standby power,” which can be confusing. Simply put, energy vampires are electrical devices that expend energy when they’re plugged in, even when they’re not in use — which may not only cause unnecessarily high utility bills, but could also waste a good deal of energy. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the average U.S. household spends as much as $100 a year powering devices that are off or in standby mode. On a national basis, standby power accounts for more than 100 billion kilowatt hours of annual U.S. electricity consumption and more than $10 billion in annual energy costs.

The Worst Offenders

Now that you know exactly what energy vampires are, it’s time to shine some sunlight on the worst offenders (vampires hate that). cell Phone chargers, camera chargers, battery chargers or power adapters as these pull energy from the outlet even when not connected to an end-use product. Next on the list are devices that stay active even when they’re not in use, like DVRs or DVD players that are set to record a show, game consoles, laptops, and plasma TVs. A good rule of thumb for identifying an energy vampire is to turn all appliances in a room off, and then turn out the lights. If you see a steady or blinking light, that appliance is still using energy.

Keep Reading: How To Vanquish Energy Vampires

Beth Buczynski is a freelancer writer and editor currently living in the Rocky Mountain West. Her articles appear on Care2, Ecosalon and Inhabitat, just to name a few. So far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent. Follow Beth on Twitter as @ecosphericblog