We all know vampires as the movie monsters that drink our blood, but vampire power does something much worse: it drains energy and our finances. Often coming out at night when you’re sleeping (or during the day when you’re at work), vampire power slowly sucks the power out of your TV, computer, Alexa, Google Home, and other smart devices throughout the house, costing you more money and wasting resources.
Harvard University explains that vampire power is also known as standby power, or the power used when devices like TVs, microwaves, scanners, and printers use power even when turned off. And according to the Lawrence Berkeley National Library, vampire power accounts for typically five to 10 percent of residential energy use in most developed countries. Additionally, this standby power use is responsible for approximately one percent of global CO2 emissions. All that for power we don’t even need!
Eliminating vampire power usage is not just about helping the environment — it also costs you more money, too. The energy used by inactive devices adds up to about $19 billion, or $165 per U.S. household, and 50 large 500-megawatt power plants’ worth of electricity a year, according to the NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc.).
Luckily, you don’t need garlic or sunshine to tackle these energy vampires, as there are several easy ways you can curb this standby power usage. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends unplugging as many things as you can, such as TVs that you don’t use often, rarely used appliances (i.e., not your coffee maker), and other electronic devices. Another way to help is by plugging things into power strips, where you can simply flip the switch to turn off power to multiple devices or appliances at once. Turning your computer or video game console off instead of just leaving it on pause or sleep mode will also save lots of power. Finally, replace appliances with ENERGY STAR devices, which have a lower standby power consumption.
SaveOnEnergy.com mapped out the places vampire power likes to hang out the most in our homes. These are places like a home office with a desktop or laptop computer, speakers, scanners, printers, and cable modems; livings rooms with a set-top box, TV, speaker system, and video game console; and the basement or garage with power tools, stereos, and musical instruments. Tackle these areas first to make the biggest difference.
Vampire power makes us humans basically throw money out the window and harm the environment at the same time, which isn’t ideal for anyone. By reducing vampire power in your home, you’ll save money and lower emissions, which is even more satisfying than a stake to the heart, guaranteed.