"Vampire" Energy is Scary and Expensive

"Vampire" Energy Is Scary and Expensive

Not Even Garlic and Wooden Stakes Can Save You

In the spirit of Halloween and saving money, today we'd like to warn you about a serious threat to your electricity bill—vampire energy.

As the name suggests, vampire energy sucks up electricity in nearly every home. This phenomenon is unknown to its many innocent victims. Below, we've pointed out what vampire energy is and where to find energy-sucking fiends that are running up your bill.

What is "Vampire" Energy?

Let's start with a simple premise: almost everything in your home that's plugged directly into an electrical socket consumes electricity throughout the day. Imagine you're walking around your home. You pass through the bedrooms, into the kitchen, and finish in the living room.

Chances are you've noticed many appliances and electronics plugged into your outlets. Even when these devices are turned off, they still draw electricity. This is known as standby energy loss, phantom power, and vampire energy.

According to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the average American home has about 40 items that actively draw electricity. This especially applies to TVs, streaming devices like Apple TV and Roku, and other electronics that use remote controls.

In fact, the Natural Resources Defense Council reported in 2015 that Americans spend $19 million annually on vampire energy. On a per-home basis, that can cost you $200-$400 in unnecessary electricity expenses.

In that same NRDC report, the organization conducted a study involving 70,000+ California homes. They found that 23% of those homeowners' bills were attributable to vampire energy—we told you this stuff was scary. Imagine throwing away 23% of your food instead of eating it. Now imagine burning 23% of your car's gas while sitting in your driveway.

Common Vampires to Watch Out For

  1. TVs, cable boxes, gaming consoles, and other devices that have wireless remotes or controllers
    Solution: plug as many of these items into a power strip to reduce electricity waste
    (Here's a handy resource from Energy.gov that will help you shop for the right power strip)
  2. Computer chargers and smartphone chargers that have a chunky box on them (formally known as external power supply) can consume nearly as much electricity when plugged in, even when not in use.
    Solution: unplug them after using them each time
  3. Toaster ovens, air fryers, or your favorite coffee maker
    Solution: unplug them after using them each time
  4. Air purifiers, dehumidifiers, and personal electric fans
    Solution: These devices may run continuously, but be sure to unplug them when you are away for the weekend or while at work—remember, every little bit counts
  5. Lamps and other decorative lighting pieces
    Solution: unplug them after using them each time
  6. Electric water heaters can draw a lot of electricity when you unnecessarily run a lot of hot water before a shower, while brushing your teeth, or as you are washing dishes.
    Solution: use hot water only when necessary, which will prevent your water heater from making more hot water than you need

These Measures Can Be Cost-Effective and Protective

Aside from the money you can save by unplugging certain things, you can also protect them against power surges. Lightning, a blown transformer, and other surges can ZAP! your devices when they are plugged into the wall directly.

These types of surges are likely to damage appliances, ultimately destroying them gradually or immediately. So aside from protecting your devices, this will go along way to prevent vampires from feeding on your home.

A Little Goes a Long Way

Do I expect you to spend an extra hour each day combing your house for devices that are still plugged in? Definitely not. But I can assure you that making small adjustments to the way you use your electronics will save you some money each month.

The average homeowner should save enough money throughout the year with these few simple solutions to equal the cost of almost two months of electricity. For example, imagine a homeowner reduces their annual consumption by 10-15%.

Now let's assume they spend $1,200 annually on electricity. On average, they are spending $100 per month. Reducing their usage by 15% would save them $180 -- nearly two months worth of bills.

We hope this has explained what vampire energy is and how unplugging your devices can pay dividends. You can make a meaningful impact one device at a time!