Alright, admittedly, I veered towards the dramatic side with that headline. Energy Vampires are a real thing – they just may not be what you expect. Here’s how to identify them, and to stop them draining your resources and your finances.
What are Energy Vampires
Unlike that of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, real life vampire power is far less gruesome, and harder to spot. It often comes out at night, when you’re sleeping and blissfully unaware of it, and instead of draining your blood, it sucks power out of your appliances. Your TV, microwave, printer, or computer could all be energy vampires – and leaving them plugged in when not in use ends up costing you money and adding to climate damaging-energy consumption.
Simply explained, vampire power is the electricity your appliances use even when they’re switched off. According to the Lawrence Berkeley National Library, vampire power typically makes up a whopping 5 to 10 percent of residential energy use in most developed countries (this includes the USA and South Africa) – all the while fuelling global CO2 emissions.
In fact, according to PopSugar, the energy used by our inactive devices – or energy vampires – adds up to approximately “$19 billion, or $165 per U.S. household, and 50 large 500-megawatt power plants’ worth of electricity a year”!.
Recognising energy vampires in your home, and reducing their power consumption, is an obvious and simple energy saving technique that will also end up saving you money in the long run.
How to slay the energy vampires
It’s not as hard as as one would think to kill these energy vampires.
According to Terra Firma Academy, “almost all appliances draw energy while on standby”, but but the main offenders include “all appliances that are turned on via a wireless remote control” – like the TV – “all appliances that have a digital clock face” – such as the microwave – and mobile phone chargers. Turns out what your mother always scolded you about is true: Even when not charging your phone, the charger draws power from the wall.
They also suggest the following steps that can easily be taken if you want to consume less electricity in your home:
- The first and most obvious way to reduce the costs of vampire power in your home is to turn off appliances at the wall socket. If no power is able to reach the appliance it is not unnecessarily drawing energy.
- Turn off appliances using their on/off button and not using the remote control.
- Close the microwave door; if the door is open then the light is on and consuming energy.
- Reduce your energy demand; the fewer appliances you have the less power they can draw.
- Unplug your mobile phone charger when not in use.
- Plugging numerous appliances onto one strip provides an easy solution for switching off multiple appliances at once.
- Smart strips are an effective product that sense when appliances are not in use and automatically turn off plug loads.
- For televisions or computers and their accessories, a smart strip monitors the power of the primary appliance and when not in use turns off all accessories. For example, you don’t need your printer on when your computer is not in use.
If your appliances are using electricity while you’re not using them, you may as well start throwing money out the window, because not only are you losing it already, but you’re also contributing to the pollution of the planet.
If you struggle to remember to unplug your phone charger, leave notes for yourself, or ask a family member to do it for you if they see you’ve forgotten. As a matter of fact, why not get the whole family involved and try to reduce your vampire power consumption as a team?
These tiny changes won’t inconvenience anyone much, but they will help you be kinder to your bank account and to the planet.