The trick or treaters may be gone and the decorations may be looking a little weepy, but there is still a vampire stalking you at your house. All the items you have plugged in, whether they are power on or not, are sucking money out of your pocket. Standby power, vampire draw or phantom load are all names for the same process, energy being plucked from your home without you seeing it.
Standby energy accounts for almost 10% of our electrical cost. That means that if your electrical bill is $1800 a year, than up to $180 a year of that is vampire draw that could be controlled by simply unplugging the item.
How much energy do my products take?
The average game console - $23 a year
Computers in sleep mode - $16 - $21 a year
Coffee maker - $2 a year
Cable box - $38 a year
VCR/DVD player left on, not playing - $8 - $15 a year
2 watts x 24 hours = 48 watts x 30.44 days = 1461 watts a month
1461 watt hours = 1.46 kWH
1.46kWH x .125 cents a kWH (my cost) = 18 cents a month to run
Will 18 cents put you in the poor house? No, probably not. However, it is the cumulative total of the items you have plugged in. And some items use more power. Such as a CRT computer monitor that is always on, uses 12 watts of power in sleep mode and that is $1.08 a month.
* Use a switchable power strip for cluster of electronics - There are some powerstrips that will turn the item off for you after a period of inactivity as well.
* Look for low watt items. Checking the energy star guide helps as well.
* Buy a low-cost watt meter to measure the items you already have, check them when in standby and when on and running. The ones you want to check first are - game consoles, tv sets in rooms other than the main room, portable fans and heaters, some dryers, window air conditioners.
* Keep cell phone chargers out of the wall when you're not charging the phone. Those black power bricks often draw a little current-even when your phone's not connected.
* Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps (CFL). A 13-watt CLF is just as bright as a 30-watt incandescent light. That alone is a 17 watt difference for lights that are used often.
Routers - 6 -10 watts
Internet modem - 5 - 8 watts
Printers - 8 - 14 watts
LCD monitor - 1- 2 watts
Security systems - 2 - 4 watts
Unfortunately, as we buy more electronic items our consumption of electricity goes up and not always down as one would presume with energy star ratings and even knowing about vampire drains. Being diligent now will get us in a better habit for the future world of electronic "necessities".