You have a thief lurking in your house. There’s definitely even more than one. They’re not stealing anything you can see, but they’re costing you money each month on your electricity bill.
Certain appliances and devices continue using electricity, even when they’re not performing their intended function. This waste can total up to 10 percent or more of your electric bill. That’s a lot to pay for when you’re not even using the item.
How can you spot these secret “vampire appliances”? Know what you’re looking for.
Most of the electricity offenders can easily be found by looking at their plug. There are two types that, based on their design, give themselves away. The first is a wall wart. These are mostly recognizable by their oversized plugs. The other is a brick. This type of plug looks normal at the end but has a big section in the middle of the cord.
Common devices that fit into both of these categories include:
- Phone and laptop chargers
- Video game consoles
- Cable boxes
Those just standing-by
Other devices trick you into thinking they’re saving your energy, but really they’re not. Those items that have a stand-by mode are still sucking electricity when not in use. These are devices like your desktop computer or your TV. They put up a screen saver, but are still awake. It’s not until they shut themselves off or go to sleep that they may stop draining unnecessary electricity.
There are even certain devices in this category you may not even realize have a stand-by mode. This includes garage door openers and stereos. Items like these are always on, waiting for you to use them, so are often in stand-by mode more than anything else.
Discreet energy stealers
The last category of appliances and devices that take electricity, even when you’re not using them, are more discreet in their behavior. They also often waste the most power. These are items around your home that are always on.
Common items in this category include:
- Coffee makers
- Electric toothbrushes (when on their charger)
- Air conditioner
- Digital clocks
What makes these items so wasteful is they often use as much electricity when sitting idle as they do when working. Even though some have to be left on all the time, others can easily get unplugged when not in use to help conserve at least a little energy.
Getting some energy back
Once you identify the vampire electronics in your home, it’s time to decide what to do with them. You don’t have to stop using them, but if possible, you should replace older items with Energy Star ones. This helps ensure even your vampire electronics are operating at the most energy-efficient level possible.
However, the easiest way to battle these electricity suckers is to unplug them when not in use. Even if you keep them plugged in all day, but unplug them at night before going to bed, you’re making a difference.
For any devices whose plugs are hard to reach, consider shifting them to a power bar. You can also combine multiple electronics to a single outlet this way. Then, instead of struggling to unplug everything, you can flip a switch on the power strip.
When you can’t unplug, utilize the sleep mode on all devices that offer that option. It’s much more energy-efficient than a screen saver or stand-by mode.
Think sustainably inside and outside your home
Taking these steps to act more sustainably inside your home is just the beginning. You can apply the same sentiment when you’re out and about as well. This includes thinking more carefully about what products you buy and services you use.
If you’re looking to find like-minded companies who have an eye toward environmentally-responsible practices, get to know the IMPACT COLLECTIVE community. This collection of members all produce their products with sustainable practices in mind. They’re doing what they can to behave in responsible ways toward the world around us. Let IMPACT COLLECTIVE help you carry forward your sustainable practices to increase your positive environmental impact outside your home.