Most Americans don’t realize that, even when they aren’t using one of their many electronic appliances and devices, those same appliances can still be using up quite a bit of energy. The end result is that every year all of those appliances are costing them hundreds of dollars.
Approximately $895 is what the average American household spends every year on electricity in New Mexico, where it’s the cheapest, and that goes up to $2438 a year where it’s the most expensive, in Hawaii.
Unfortunately, approximately 10% of those costs are due to what energy experts call “vampire appliances”. The reason that they’ve gotten this interesting nickname is that, even when they aren’t being used, they are still “sucking up” electricity.
That equates to $250 for a family that spends $2500 yearly on their electric bill and, in some cases, it’s much more. According to Gene Wang, the CEO of People Power, the cost to Americans consumers in lost electricity to these vampire appliances is more than $10 billion a year.
Below is a list of the worst of these electricity vampires, some of which may surprise you. Enjoy.
Computers. On average, when a computer is not unplugged when it isn’t being used, it wastes approximately $40 every year. This can happen whether it is in “sleep mode” or not, although it will use less during this mode. A good way to stop this from happening is to set your computer to go to “sleep” after 30 minutes, disable any screensavers that you might have and also set your computer so that after 10 or 15 minutes of not being used it will shut down the monitor.
In many older homes windows tend to not be energy efficient. Without these types of windows there can be a big draft letting cold air into your home in the winter. When there is a draft coming in your home that means that your bills will be higher because your heat has to run a lot longer to warm up the home.
Flatscreen TVs. These are actually the worst of the vampire appliances and can cost an average of $160 a year even if they aren’t being used. Frankly, the solution, which is to unplug the television when it’s not being watched, isn’t going to be followed by very many people. That being said, there are new, advanced power strips available that prevent electronic gadgets like flatscreen TVs from using power when they aren’t being used. Although they cost approximately $30, over several years of use they can definitely save you enough money to pay for themselves several times over.
Video game console. If you like to play video games and have an Xbox or PlayStation, you might be wasting $75 a year even if you aren’t playing. We talked about getting a power strip for your flatscreen TV and, since most video game consoles are used near the TV, they can also be plugged into that same strip. In fact, the television, game console, cable box and surround sound equipment can all be plugged into the same power strip, allowing you to easily save money on all of these devices by simply flipping one switch.
Those are the biggest vampire appliances in your home. Below are a number of other, smaller appliances that waste money also, albeit on a smaller scale. They include:
- Tablet computers
- Cell phone chargers
- Microwave ovens
- Coffee makers
- Laser printers
- Toaster ovens
- DVR and cable boxes
While it might not be feasible to use a power strip for all of these appliances and devices, if you can plug several of them into one you will save a few bucks during the year and lower your energy consumption at the same time.