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Energy Vampires - You've Invited Them In

Updated on June 17, 2014

Cheesy, Campy, Awesomeness

When you bring electronics into your home, you have a lot at stake. You've probably already invited a host of vampires into your home and don't even realize it. The worst part, these energy suckers aren't afraid of the sun, they can't be scared off by crosses and you can see their reflection in almost any mirror in the house.

As a phantom load hunter, I have put together a list of the most common vampires in your home and how much they could be costing you every year.

Advice from North of the Border


Cell phone chargers – responsible for 2.28 kilowatt hours (kWh) annually when idle and up to 19.62 kWh annually when a fully charged device is connected. If you have multiple chargers, this can add up to $10 or more every year.

DVD player – responsible for an average of 78.8 kWh every year while in standby mode. Think about how often you use your DVD player. It's probably a good idea to put it on a power strip and turn it on only when you are ready to curl up with your favorite movie.

Computers – desktop models are responsible for an average of 311 kWh every year in standby energy use while laptops fair much better but still will draw over 144 kWh annually. Turn off your computers when they aren't in use. And charge your laptop while you're using it instead of leaving it plugged in overnight.

Plasma TV – while these TVs were great 5 years ago, they are the biggest energy hogs in the home. A plasma screen on standby mode can suck a whopping 1452 kWh of electricity over the course of a year.

Game Consoles – you might love your xBox 360 or Playstation 3, but when you aren't playing them, they don't love you. The average console can cost you over $50 a year in standby costs by drawing 233 kWh of power in standby mode. Couple that with a plasma TV and you could afford a full year of Xbox Live and two new games just by turning them off when they aren't in use.

Cable Box – the cable box is one of those things you might think you need to keep on constantly, but in reality you don't. The typical box will use 128 kWh in standby energy in a year. The ones with built in DVR can consume twice that.

Routers and modems – with wireless technology become the default for most home computer systems, the addition of a router and/or modem is a necessity. Unfortunately, these little guys will munch away at your energy efficiency by going through a little over 100 kWh every year while they wait to be used.

Printers – standard home printers consume about 70 kWh of electricity while they gather dust in your home office. Put the printer on a power strip and save yourself some cash over the long haul.

Don't get discouraged. There is a really simple way to take care of every phantom load in your home without having to bend over and pull out 30 plugs every day. Purchase power strips for your electronic devices. There are several different kinds of power strips to choose from. Do a bit of research and you'll be able to get the right one for each are of your home.


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