Do You Have Energy Vampires?May 5, 2020
Beware: vampires are roaming your house, and it is very difficult to get rid of them. These vampires are sucking about 8% of your energy over a year’s time. What am I talking about?
I am talking about all those glowing red, green, and blue LEDs on your computer monitor, your network router, the laser beam on your garage door opener, the soft lights below your television monitor, the clocks on your microwave, the lamp at the end of the surge suppressor extension cord, and all the assorted glowing devices in your bedroom that you see when you can’t sleep and wonder who turned the lights on.
These standby electrical states in our modern electronics are called “energy vampires.” We tend to not think about them because they don’t make noise and sometimes don’t even glow. Pretty tricky, these vampires. Test your “vampire” knowledge with this short quiz.
True or False: Your telephone battery charger draws electricity when your phone is not plugged into it. True, but its very small, less than.2 watts. The problem is that we have so many of these tiny electrical draws, they add up.
Which devices draw the most electricity in standby mode? A. Cordless phone; B. Alarm clock; C. The microwave; D. The electric garage door opener. Answer: D., the garage door opener. It takes a relatively large amount of standby power to continuously run the beam across your garage threshold, and to power the remote.
What item should you NOT turn off when you’re not using it? A. Your computer; B. Your microwave; C. Your laser printer; D. Your toothbrush charger. Answer: C., your laser printer. These devices draw very low amounts of standby power, but will draw large amounts of power when you turn them back on after a complete shutdown.
What household device uses the least amount of standby power? A. Alarm Clock; B. Computer Speakers; C. Internet Modem; D. 46 inch flat screen television. Answer: D., the flat screen TV!
How many “vampires” does the typical American household have plugged into the electrical system at any given time? A. 2 B. 10 C. 15 D. 20 Answer: D., the typical household has at least 20 devices plugged in and on standby at any given time.
Is there any way to reduce this consumption? Yes. Buy an electrical extension cord that has multiple outlets on the end with an on/off switch. Use this to plug in your computer speakers, router, or pc cable modem and switch off when you’re not using them.
There are some pieces of electronics that you don’t want to unplug, including items that are difficult to unplug, items that respond to a remote control, and receivers for television DVRs that have to recycle (reboot) if the power is disconnected. In these cases, I would spend the $35 a year to keep these plugged in. Being aware of the other electrical wasters and unplugging them when you’re not using them should save you enough money to take your family out to dinner at least several times during the year. Not a bad reward for slaying the vampires.