Stop Energy Vampires and Save Money

You may have energy vampires in your home stealing money from you right now. Some electronics draw power from the outlet and money from your wallet, even when they are turned off. They go into standby mode, which uses electricity for features like displays and remote controls.

Energy Star estimates these energy vampires—also referred to as phantom power draws, standby power, or leaking electricity—cost consumers about $100 a year. The Energy Education Council has advice to help you keep some of that money in your pocket.

Phantom power draw is not always wasteful. Some electronics need a constant, small supply of power. These include thermostats and answering machines. Some electronics, such as televisions, maintain a constant power supply so they can be remotely operated and so that they can be turned on quickly. Other appliances, however, do not require constant electricity and you lose money when they constantly draw electricity. 

“Reducing phantom power draw is a painless money saver,” says Molly Hall, executive director of the Energy Education Council. “You won’t notice that your appliances aren’t constantly drawing electricity, but you will notice a difference in your energy bills.”

        The Energy Education Council has advice to help you put a stop to energy vampires in your home:

  • When possible, unplug electronics that you are not using.
  • If you have a room that you do not use regularly, plug electronics into a power strip, and turn the power strip off when items are not in use.
  • Purchase smart power strips for your computers and televisions. These devices sense when the computer or television is sleeping or off. The smart strip cuts off power to related electronics, such as DVD players, video game consoles, and printers.
  • Buy low-standby products. Most Energy Star endorsed products draw smaller than average amounts of electricity when turned off.            

        Fortunately, standards for phantom power draw have become stricter over the years. The United States is part of the One-Watt Initiative, which aims to reduce the phantom power draw of individual electronics to one watt.

For more information on keeping your home energy efficient, visit

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