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Energy Vampires: Is Standby Power Bleeding Your Bank Account Dry?

The thought of energy vampires hiding away in your home and bleeding you dry may seem like a concept out of a cheesy 1950s horror movie, but vampire energy loss is a very real threat for the majority of homeowners in the McHenry, IL area. If you’re ready to cut energy waste, it’s time you became aware of vampire power and how to banish this nasty Dracula from your home once and for all.

What is Vampire Power?

Also known as vampire energy loss, phantom load, or standby power, vampire power is simply leaking energy. Energy leakage occurs when appliances, electronics, and other gadgets remain plugged in even when they’re not in use. You may think that turning these items off saves power, but the truth is, electricity is still being wasted as long as they’re still plugged in. That’s because every single gadget continues to draw current until it’s unplugged from the outlet.

Although the energy waste from these gadgets and appliances may seem nominal, it’s been estimated that anywhere from five to ten percent of the average homeowner’s power usage is the result of vampire energy. Think about that. What if your power bill was five to ten percent less than it is now? If you consider all of the wasted energy from every homeowner across the U.S., you’re looking at $4 billion in electricity waste each year.

The Biggest Culprits

Appliances, electronics, and gadgets waste varied amounts of energy, but two of the biggest culprits are your microwave and television. In fact, these two items use more electricity when they’re not being used than when they are in use. According to the Department of Energy, your plasma TV uses about $165 in electricity when it’s completely turned off. Other items that use a startling amount of standby power include subwoofers, computer speakers, and desktop PCs. In general, none of these will expend enough standby energy that reaches that amount of money, but a few dollars here and there really adds up over the course of a year.

Tips for Slaying Energy Vampires

Finding vampire energy culprits is key to getting the problem under control. Start by unplugging gadgets when not in use, including cell phone chargers, nightlights, speaker systems, laptop chargers, and printers. You can also unplug appliances such as microwaves, coffee makers, can openers, and other countertop equipment. Making small changes like these will help create better habits, allowing you to move on to the next step.

Large appliances, wireless routers, modems, DVD players, cable boxes, video game consoles, TVs, radios, computers, and monitors generally stay plugged in at all times, but some creative thinking can help combat the problem. If you hate the idea of unplugging these items after every use, make it a point to unplug them when you go away on vacation. Doing so may only save you a few extra bucks, but all of that adds up over the course of a year, especially when you’re implementing other energy-saving habits.

In addition to being more mindful of when to unplug devices, you can also:

  • Use advanced power strips (APS) – replacing conventional power strips with advanced power strips prevents electronics from drawing power when not in use. There are even different types of APS for different needs.
  • Skip the sleep mode – video game consoles and computers have hibernation options, but this wastes more energy compared to shutting the system completely down.
  • Upgrade your devices – ENERGY STAR-rated appliances and devices consume less standby energy, so if you tend to forget to unplug these devices, opt for an eco-friendly upgrade.

Call in the Professionals

If you feel you’re doing all of the above and you’re still having issues with vampire energy, enlist the help of a professional technician who can check your electrical and HVAC systems. It may be time to install a new thermostat or heat pump, or your home may simply benefit from a little routine maintenance.

Contact Black Diamond at 815-444-0979 today to speak with a professional. We can offer you tried and true solutions that can help kill off your home’s energy vampires for good.

Image provided by Shutterstock

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