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Energy Vampires

image of vampireEnergy Vampires don’t feed on blood—they drink up electricity, and they are VERY real. In our homes, schools, and businesses, we have lots of electrical products that cannot be switched off completely unless they are unplugged. These are things like televisions and cell phone chargers. When plugged in, they use electricity 24 hours a day, just sitting and waiting for you to turn on a switch or recharge something.

The “standby power” these items use can be as much as 15 or 20 watts for each one, which is a little more than a night-light uses. That might not seem like much, but it adds up fast. In fact, when we figure the cost of standby power used by everyone in the United States, it comes to more than $4 BILLION a year!

Did you know that your microwave oven uses more electricity to power the digital clock than it does to cook your food? Although heating food requires more than 100 times as much power as running the clock, most microwave ovens are not being used more than 99 percent of the time.

Here’s a list of the biggest Energy Vampires you may have in your home:

  • Television—especially plasma and LCD TVs
  • Window air conditioners
  • Computers
  • Video game systems
  • Microwave ovens
  • Power tools like drills, screwdrivers, and saws.

How can you get rid of the Energy Vampires? Here are some ideas to keep them away:

  • Use a power strip with an on/off switch to plug in a group of items — for example, cell phone and MP3 chargers. When you unplug a device from the charger, just flip the power switch off.
  • Use a power strip for your TV, video game system, DVD player, and stereo equipment. When you're done playing games or watching TV, turn the power strip off.
  • A power strip is also great for items whose plugs are hard to reach. There's no need to crawl under your desk to disconnect all of your computer components when you can plug them all into one power strip.
  • Don’t forget the garage! Power tools should be unplugged until needed. For rechargeable items like cordless hand vacuums, pull the plug as soon as the battery is charged.

The best way to beat the Energy Vampires is to unplug anything that you can. Starve those vampires and you’ll save energy, reduce pollution, and save money.

In just a few months, your family could save enough money to go see a movie. Maybe Dracula will be playing!