What are Vampire Appliances?
They're here. They've come to your town, your neighborhood, your home. Lurking unseen as you go about the business of your day. Even if you do realize they are there, you feel compelled to ignore their negatives and focus only on the allure and advantages you perceive that draws you to them. What is this sinister invader? Vampire appliances.
What are vampire appliances?
Vampire appliances are electronics and electrical appliances that continue to draw standby power even when they are switched off. Anything that uses a remote control, has an external power supply, charges batteries or has a continuous display uses standby power. Think about it. You turn off your television and dvr but it still remembers to turn itself on to record your favorite television shows. Your computer screen is dark but when you jiggle your mouse it immediately comes to life; ready and waiting for you to explore the information highway. Your cordless phone is informing you of the time and date, readily awaiting your next call.
These are all conveniences that we all appreciate but the problem is that it is costing us money. Not just a little money--a lot. Here is a list of some of the biggest energy users in your home:
- HDTV DVR. These things are great. The picture is crystal clear. A baseball, tennis ball or golf ball is much easier to track making your viewing experience much more enjoyable. If you need to step away from your TV while your favorite show is on--no problem. These devices will record them for you to watch when you have time. The problem is that, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, these devices consume an average of 17.83 watts of power when they are turned off. If you left this device plugged in but turned off for an entire year that would still add about $43 to your bill. If you don't have DVR capabilities, it will still cost you $18/year to have this device off and plugged into your home.
- Computers. If you're like me, you use the sleep mode on your desktop computer, thinking it is a power saving measure. In sleep mode, your computer uses 21.83 watts of power. If it is plugged in but off, it uses 2.84 watts. Do you have a laptop computer? These gadgets consume 8.9 watts of power when they are off.
- Inkjet printer/fax. Let's be honest here. In most homes, this device is used sparingly. When turned off, it still uses 5.31 watts.
- Cordless power tools. Do you keep that drill plugged in and ready for the next time you need to bore a hole into something? These tools use 8.3 watts of power while plugged into your garage wall.
- Audio mini systems. They play CD's, cassettes, radios and even your iPods. But when off, they consume a staggering 8.32 watts of power.
- Game consoles. The kids pause their game and turn off the television, leaving the console in ready mode. That little habit costs your family 23.34 watts of power. If they actually turn the system off, it still costs 1.01 watts.
The list goes on and on. Coffee makers, phone chargers (even when not charging), cable modems, stereo speakers, thermostats, sprinkler systems--they all consume power when plugged in and turned off. Vampire appliances account for roughly 5-10% of an average homeowners yearly power bill. When you take a look at your power bill, you can see that really adds up.
Want more information?
How to save money on your power bill.
The simplest thing to do is unplug your appliances and gadgets when they are not in use. Well, simple except for the fact that that would be rather inconvenient. A solution could be that you put these appliances on a power strip that you can toggle off thus cutting off the energy flow. Using a light switch that turns the power on and off is equally effective. Amazon.com sells energy saving power strips that automatically power off when it senses that the plugged-in devices are not in use. That is really the best option. Additionally, you can replace your devices with Energy Star rated ones that are designed to consume less power.
©Denise Mai, August 30, 2012. All rights reserved.
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