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Vampire Energy

Garlic won’t stop them—it will just make your breath smell bad. And a wooden stake through the heart? Well, that will just leave a gaping hole in the middle of your flatscreen. Or your subwoofer and speaker system, DVR, Playstation, Roku, phone charger, or other myriad devices sure to be plugged in around your house. But you can fight energy vampires before they suck up enormous amounts of your of blood electricity and kill you with higher monthly bills. 

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Vampire energy is standby power. It’s the electricity that continues to be consumed by devices that are switched off, yet actually continue to operate, albeit minimally, in a standby mode. You know, the kind being used when your devices are turned off, but still have little LED lights illuminated, letting you know that “off” doesn’t really mean that, but more a kind of something-in-between, use-purgatory.

Why would devices have standby modes? Simply put, to increase convenience of use. Standby modes enable “instant-on” for screens, or continue to provide power to receivers for remote controls so that the connected divide is able to respond to infrared or radio-frequency signals sent to it. 

Although there are regulations governing how much power a device can draw while in a standby mode, this can still add up to significant electricity usage in an average home. The One Watt Initiative is one such regulation adopted by many countries, limiting standby power draw to one watt.

Did you know? Vampire energy can be as much as 10% of an average household’s annual usage!. 

Or as Energy Star has calculated, at least $100 a year. 

 

So what are your options ? You could of course go with the tried and true method of manually unplugging your stuff. It’s failsafe, but time consuming—even if you make it easier on yourself by just hitting the switch on a power strip instead of actually unplugging all of your gadgets and gizmos. Or, you could invest in smart power strips, which are able to do effectively do this on their own.

Smart power strips come with dedicated outlets that that will cut off standby power when connected device get powered off, all while leaving you with traditional plugs for devices for which standby power is necessary. Options from Belkin, GE, Tripp Lite, and Monster give you options ranging from products that will show you how much energy (and money) you save to ones that give you control from your smartphone!