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Beware of Energy Vampires!

When most of us picture vampires, we picture heartthrobs from the Twilight series or monsters who 

Photo credit: tvakids.com / Click for info about energy vampires for kids.

Photo credit: tvakids.com / Click for info about energy vampires for kids.

wish to suck your blood. Almost all of us overlook vampires that lie within our walls — energy vampires. This special breed isn’t after your blood, but after the electricity in your home. Energy vampires can drive up the price of electricity bills unnecessarily and unknowingly.

Energy vampires are appliances that consume electricity, as long as they are plugged in, even when they aren’t in use. The major energy wasters are TVs, video game consoles, DVD players, laptops, and cell phone chargers (1). Appliances such as TVs, video game consoles, and DVD players all include a power light that stays illuminated. Televisions are used for a few hours a day and remain plugged in for the remainder of the day and when the TV isn’t being used, it is wasting electricity. Video game consoles don’t completely shut down by hitting the “off” button, as long as the power light is illuminated, they are consuming electricity. Similar to video game consoles, DVD players consume energy as long as the power light is illuminated. Furthermore, appliances such as laptops and cell phone chargers consume energy even after the device is finished charging. The only way to completely stop these chargers from sucking energy is to unplug them. Laptops consume excess energy through no fault of the consumer, people charge their laptops and forget to unplug the charger even if it’s fully charged. Just like laptops, cell phone chargers, charge phones and continue charging even if they device is fully charged. Another kind of vampire most people overlook is products that use clocks. Devices such as microwaves, coffee makers, and stereo system draw energy even when the appliance is not being used. The clocks on these devices are constantly using energy. Not only do these devices waste electricity, they also waste money and harm the environment.

There are several solutions to energy vampires. The obvious solution is to unplug appliances when they aren’t in use. However, this obvious solution is very inconvenient for some appliances. After each use, consumers would have to dig through a pile of wires, find the correct wire, and unplug the device. A simple and convenient solution would be to purchase products that have an “ENERGY STAR” rating, which guarantees that the product consumes a minimal amount of energy when it’s not in use (2). Although “ENERGY STAR” appliances are an adequate solution, they do not completely eliminate energy vampires. A better solution is to use smart strips. Smart strips eliminate the threat of energy vampires by shutting down the power supply to products that are no longer being used (3). Individuals can enjoy their electronics without dread about wasting electricity. This route allows consumers to use electronics without worrying about the bill and helps protect the environment. Smart strips are a great solution to energy vampires and if you live in Maryland, you’re in luck! Maryland homeowners receive free smart strips after having a home energy audit performed.

 Author: Hamza Shahid

Sources:

1. Top 5 Energy-Sucking Vampire Appliances
2. Standby Power and Energy Vampires
3. How Smart Power Strips Work

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