Watch Out for Vampire Loads

Did you know that many of your household electronics continue to use electricity even when they aren’t on? Device chargers that are left plugged in after the device has been removed from the charger also continue to pull electricity. This means that your household is still using electricity even if you aren’t. According to the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, this wasted energy adds up to roughly $200/year in electricity costs.

Here are some tips to reduce the drain:

  • Unplug devices and chargers when they aren’t in use.
  • Put your computer into sleep mode when unplugging it isn’t practical.
  • For devices that aren’t easy to unplug, consider using an advanced power strip that can automatically shut off the power for you. Here are some of the types available:
    • Timer power strips shut off the power at a set time every day.
    • Activity monitor strips use motion sensors to look for signs of activity in the room. If no activity is detected, it shuts off the power. While convenient, this type isn’t always reliable - especially if Fido roams about.
    • Master-controlled strips turn off the power for the entire strip when the item designated as the “master” gets turned off. These power strips also often have an “always on” outlet in case you want to plug something in, such as a wireless router, that should always have power even if other devices plugged into the strip are turned off.
    • Master-less power strips cut the power when all the devices connected to it are turned off.
    • Remote switch strips allow you to turn off the power via a remote. However, you have to remember to shut it off.
  • When replacing or adding new electronics to your home, select ones that have are energy efficient to reduce the amount of power consumed while in standby mode.

Michigan Residents

Check out the Energy Optimization program through the State of Michigan for more ways to save energy. You can even purchase advanced power strips through the program.