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photo by Rennett Stowe

Did you know you have vampires living in your home? Really, you do! Energy vampires. These are devices that stay plugged in 24/7, draining electricity even while turned off. Energy vampires aren’t specialty gadgets–these are items almost all of us have in our homes. They can pull as much as 40% of their full operating power even while turned off.

Here’s a list of common energy vampires you may have around your home:

  • Coffee maker
  • Cell phone charger
  • Lamps
  • Toaster
  • Mixer
  • Microwave
  • TV
  • Hair dryer/curling iron/flat iron
  • Laptop charger
  • Printer
  • DVR or Cable/Satellite box
One recent study showed that the average DVR/Cable box uses as much electricity every month as a full-size refrigerator! Even worse, two-thirds of their energy use comes when they’re not in use!
There are some simple things you can do to continue to enjoy these products but still save money on your electricity bill. The simplest method is to simply unplug the items from the wall when you aren’t using them. After using the toaster, unplug it. After charging your cell phone, unplug the charger. If the idea of unplugging items after every use sounds tedious, try this: invest in a few power strips, and turn off the power to the strip when the items aren’t in use. If you’ve got items plugged in behind larger objects, there are power strips that have remote controls to turn them on and off.
Just how much can you save? More than you probably think! This probably won’t save you hundreds of dollars a month, but it very well could save you hundreds of dollars a year. Think about it–every item that is sitting there plugged in, is drawing 40% of it’s electricity even when turned off. That’s a lot of money going to electricity you really aren’t using. This is one case where going green and saving energy will definitely be a win-win situation!


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