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Vampire Power Bites into Your Energy Budget

How Standby Power Wastes Your Electricity

As you read this, “vampire power” is quietly sucking money from your pocket. So diabolic is this insidious electricity-guzzling ghoul that you never even know you are being robbed.

Standby Power

Here is the real shocker: your appliances and electronic devices are lying to you. They pretend to be turned off. Don’t believe it. Most electrical products continue to draw small amounts of currents even when turned off.

Cartoon electrical plug looks like a bat, with the caption: "Is your home a victim of energy-sucking vampire power?"The current used by appliances and electronics while seemingly turned off is called “standby consumption.” The terms “leaking electricity,” “phantom load,” and “vampire power” are used interchangeably with “standby power.”

How do you know which devices to suspect of leaking energy? Look for the clues to identify vampire power fiends in your home with these standby power examples:

  • Devices with a remote control, such as TVs, stereo equipment, garage door openers, and air conditioners.
  • Products featuring digital displays like clocks, microwave ovens, TV set boxes, and digital video recorders (DVRs).
  • Power adapters for charging devices like cell phones, cordless phones, tablets, notebook computers, rechargeable batteries, hand-held vacuums, cameras, cordless power tools, baby monitors, cordless shavers, electronic game players, and cordless toothbrushes.
  • Devices powered by an internal clock, like computers.
  • Electronic equipment and appliances with soft-touch controls instead of push buttons.

So How Much Power is Lost in Standby Mode?

Infographic shows the amount of electricity wasted by various appliances and electronicsMost appliances and devices only consume one to five watts in standby mode. Sounds like no big deal, right? However, studies show American households often have as many as 40 such devices quietly slurping up electricity every day.

Some studies have found vampire power sucking up to 26% of the total household electric bill. Most experts put the average standby consumption at about 10% of the total electricity consumed.

However, with 123 million households in the U.S., 10% of the total energy usage is astronomical.

Americans spend, on average, $1,323 per year for electricity. If usage dropped 10%, one home would save an estimated $132 per year. That’s $16.2 BILLION in electrical savings nationwide.

How to Check for Vampire Power in Your Home

The simplest way to check for leaking energy in your home is turn off everything in your home for just a few minutes. Check your electrical meter. If the dials on the meter are still turning, you are losing current in standby mode.

Here’s how to reduce vampire power/standby power to save money:

• Unplug seldom-used appliances and electronic devices.

• Use power strips for clusters of devices in one location, like your computer workstation. Turn the power strip off when not in use.

• When buying new appliances or electronic devices, look for products with the Energy Star® label.

• Some electronic devices, such as video game consoles, offer optional settings to reduce the amount of energy consumed in standby mode. Choose the lower setting, where available.


These Money-Saving Tips Brought to You by RHINO Steel Building Systems

For information on prefabricated metal buildings, call RHINO today at 940.383.9566.