Eco-Tuesday: Vampire Power

Posted by Hometalk | Nov 03, 2009

With a title like vampire power you would think that I'm stuck in the Halloween spirit. But that's really not the case as really vampire power has nothing to do with Halloween! Rather it has to do with learning how to save energy and money in your home by cutting down on what is called Vampire Power.

Vampire Power (also called standby power or phantom load) is the electricity appliances and more waste just by being plugged in (even if they're switched off). Have you ever noticed how warm your answering machine or cell phone charger is after they have been plugged in all day? Well this is due to the fact that simply by being plugged in they are using electricity and wasting your money and energy. Unplugging unused appliances is one of the most basic ways to conserve electrical energy in your home, but many of us don't realize this and only associate energy use when an appliance or gadget are "on" and being used. So on this Eco-Tuesday here at I am here to tell you that this notion is false and to start unplugging your appliances, gadgets or whatever when they are not in use!

I found these stats at and it made me realize just how much truly gets wasted from vampire power, "Individually, your rechargeable electric toothbrush may not put that much strain on the local power plant, but the big picture is far more troubling. In the United States alone, vampire power costs consumers more than $3 billion a year (source: Energy Information Administration). Over time, many microwaves and televisions actually consume more electricity during the hours they're not in use than the times you're actually using them to heat up dinner and watch your favorite show."

Ways to help reduce your vampire power:

  • Unplug power adapters or battery chargers when equipment is fully charged or disconnected from the charger.
  • Use a power strip that can be switched off when electronics and appliances are not in use. Consider purchasing a Smart Strip Power Strip or the Power-Saving Essential SurgeArrest. The smart strip lets you designate one device as the "master" and several secondary devices as "slaves". If the master device is off or drawing only standby power, then the slave outlets don't get any power either. This works well for computers sharing a surge strip with a printer, speaker, phone, etc.
  • Look for the Energy Star label when purchasing products.

Posted by Marcy Tate

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