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Preventing Vampire Energy Loss

“Vampire” energy loss isn’t quite as scary as it sounds, but it could be costing you a significant money on your energy bill. When electronic devices are plugged in and turned off – even in “standby” or “sleep” mode – they are consuming significant amounts of electricity.

TVs, computers, video game consoles, coffee makers, clothes dryers and other appliances consume varying amounts of power when not in use. So how much energy is being wasted? By reviewing smart meter data in California researchers at the Natural Resources Defense Council were able to determine that devices that were plugged in but not in use were consuming energy all day long and accounting for as much as one quarter of a home’s power consumption.

The average cost of this vampire energy loss per household ranges from $165 to $440 per year. So what can you do to limit standby power loss in your home? Here are some suggestions:

1. Unplug devices when not in use.

2. Use power strips to turn off power to multiple devices.

3. Use a timers for devices that are only needed for a short time each day like hot water recirculation pumps, coffee machines and towel heaters.

4. Use energy saving settings when available. Set your computer to go to sleep after 20 minutes or less of inactivity. Turn off computers and video game consoles at night and turn off the power strip instead of using sleep mode.

5. Look for the ENERGY STAR rating when purchasing washers, dryers, TVs and other appliances. They are designed to minimize energy use when idle.

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