Energy Vampires

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

If your home is like most, there are likely about 20 vampires lurking in it!  And, no, we’re not talking about the cute ones from twilight who make your teen swoon.  Many typical household appliances continue to suck electricity, even after you’ve turned them off.  These notorious “energy vampires” include TV’s, VCR’s, coffee-makers, garage-door openers, microwaves, cell phone and MP3 player chargers, and more.  According to Jeff Sheckels, Charles County’s Energy Manager, many of our everyday appliances simply go into a standby mode when we turn them off.  They continue to siphon energy, allowing them to start up again immediately when we want to use them.  Unfortunately, this wastes a lot of energy – these “phantom loads” account for about 5% of the energy used in our country and may be costing you about $200 each year!  According to the Department of Energy, our country requires seven power plants just to feed all the energy vampires.

Garlic isn’t likely to fend off these types, so how can you help to preserve your home or business from these energy suckers?  First, you need to identity them.  Energy vampires are often appliances that have one or more of the following: remote controls, continuous digital displays, rechargeable batteries, and/or external power supplies.  Secondly, you need to be smart in how you use the appliances that you’ve identified.  When practical, unplug these energy wasting appliances whenever you’re not using them.

In particular, remember to unplug them before you leave for vacation.  To make things easier, plug components (of a computer or home entertainment center, for example) into a power strip.  When not in use, simply turn off the power strip.  This will ensure that these devices are not using energy.

To learn more about energy vampires, as well as other green initiatives.