This Halloween, Vectren, a CenterPoint Energy company, is reminding customers they can save 10 percent on their electric bills by cutting “vampire” load, also referred to as phantom load. The average home has up to 40 devices contributing to vampire load, which refers to the amount of electricity that’s being drained by equipment when it’s off or in standby mode.
Any device that has a remote control or instant-on capability is slowly draining power. Examples of these energy vampires include Blu-Ray and DVD players, digital cable boxes, DVRs, microwaves, video gaming systems, alarm clocks, cell phones that are fully charged, computers, televisions and any device with a digital display.
“Most customers don’t realize how easily they can curb energy costs and save significant dollars off their electric bill by ridding the home of these energy vampires,” said Rina Harris, director of energy efficiency. “The individual vampire loads range from a fraction of a watt to more than 45 watts, and these electric appliances may account for as much as 10 percent of the total electric bill even when switched off.”
For instance, mobile phone chargers that are left plugged in after your phone is disconnected consume .26 watts of energy — and 2.24 watts when your phone is fully charged and still connected. According to the Department of Energy, 45 “vampire” watts feeding off your electric power bill for a year totals nearly 400 kilowatt hours – enough energy to operate a new, 21 cubic-feet refrigerator for nearly one year.
Combat these energy vampires in the following ways:
- Plug all components of a home entertainment system into a power strip and turn it off when the equipment is not in use. Anything plugged into the strip is then truly turned off.
- Computers and their peripherals should be placed on a Smart Strip, which automatically powers down a computer’s peripherals, such as speakers, modems and printers, once the computer is turned off. Essentially, a Smart Strip detects when the primary appliance in a group has been turned off and then electronically powers-off the associated peripherals. Smart Strips range from $25 to $40.
- Unplug devices that are rarely used as well as chargers that aren’t in use. Unplug items such as televisions, toaster ovens and other well-used appliances before leaving on vacation or more frequently as desired.
- Curb idle time by simply setting your computer to sleep mode or stopping a game and powering down your video game console instead of leaving it paused for a prolonged period.
- Buy energy-efficient appliances or those bearing the ENERGY STAR® label. ENERGY STAR-qualified appliances incorporate advanced technologies that use 10 to 50 percent less energy than standard models. Find a list of products at EnergyStar.gov.