Do You Know About "Vampire Appliances"?

Do You Know About "Vampire Appliances"?

Do You Know About "Vampire Appliances"?




Posted on January 4, 2013 at 3:01 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 4 at 3:01 PM


Did you know that many gadgets in your home suck up  energy – and your hard-earned dollars – even when they are turned off?  De-fang these "energy vampires" and you'll lower your monthly energy bills.

What is a "vampire appliance" and how is it sucking up money?

Many electronic devices use what is called "standby power" when they're turned off--as long as they are plugged in. That way, you don't have to wait the few seconds it takes for the device to "power up" when you turn it on. But that "Instant-On" convenience wastes a ton of energy and dollars.

First clue that an appliance is an energy vampire--if it has a glowing LED light or lit clock, it's using energy even when it's turned off:

  • DVD players
  • Televisions
  • Video game consoles
  • Microwave ovens
  • Computers (laptops especially)
  • Music systems
  • Rechargeable appliances such as hand-held vacuums and tools

Other unplugable energy wasters:  phone and battery chargers.  Do you leave the charger plugged into the wall even when your phone is not attached?  That vacant charger is costing you money.  Read:  "Top 5 Energy-Sucking Vampire Appliances".

Also, check out this standby energy chart to see which devices use the most energy when not in use.

Just how much these "energy vampires" are costing you?

Federal regulations have cut back on the amount of electricity “vampire appliances” can consume, but they still account for as much as 5 – 10% of the electricity used in the average home.  In other words, $0.05 to $0.10 out of every dollar spent on electricity could be eliminated, according to the  Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. 

One TV can waste about $150 a year in standby energy (depending on the type and age of the TV); many video game consoles another $25 a year.  Multiply those TVs, DVD players and other appliances and the dollars really add up!

What's the easiest way to eliminate these unnecessary energy costs?

The cheapest option is to just unplug the suckers.  When you turn off your TV, video game player or other electronic device or appliance, unplug it from the electric outlet. That keeps the device from continuing to draw power.  Simplify unplugging appliances by bundling them on a power strip.  This is a smart practice anyway, because the power strip protects sensitive electronics from power surges and outages.  And with the touch of a button all of the devices on the power strip will be disconnected from the power supply.

Best of all, look into purchasing "smart power strips". These reduce your power usage by automatically shutting down power to products that go into standby mode.  There are even some smart power strips that included infrared motion detectors that turn off appliances when nobody is in the room.  These will cost around $80 per power strip, but will pay off with the energy you save.

Finally, when purchasing new appliances and electronics, be sure they are ENERGY STAR®- qualified products.

For more money-saving tips and info on discounts and incentives on energy-saving products and services, visit

This post is sponsored by PSO.