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You may not have even realized that energy vampires lurk amidst the playful ghosts and goblins, but they’re there. Energy vampires are appliances that even when turned off use a small amount of electricity. They’re called phantom loads. 

On average, these phantom loads, also known as standby power, might be draining energy in your home, resulting in an unnecessary spike on your bill. How’s that for a trick rather than a treat? 

But don’t worry, with three simple steps you can turn energy vampires into a Casper the Friendly Ghost, and start saving money and energy in no time. 

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Step 1: Identify the vampires

The first step to defeating phantom loads is identifying the energy vampires. An average home has 20 to 40 energy vampires lurking. Some common offenders are appliances and devices designed to be plugged in continuously in order to maintain settings.

Six common energy vampires you likely have in your home:

1. Cell phone and tablet chargers: Chargers plugged in to outlets continue using energy, even when they aren’t charging your device.
2. Kitchen appliances: Toaster ovens, coffee makers and microwaves each suck up energy when not in use.
3. Cable or satellite TV boxes: Even when powered off, these devices use energy.
4. Computers: Desktop and laptop computers can zap energy, especially if they aren’t in sleep mode. So shut them off and unplug when not in use. While you’re at it, this is a great time to determine if your devices are sufficiently protected against cyber threats. Check out these cyber security tips to keep you and your devices safe from scammers.
5. Video game consoles: PlayStation and Xbox consoles use electricity even when they’re not running.
6. Televisions: Televisions are likely the biggest energy vampires in your home and continue consuming energy when they’re powered off.

Step 2: Defeat the vampires

Once you’ve identified the energy vampires, defeating them is simple.

The easiest way to slay energy vampires is by unplugging your appliances when you aren’t using them. If you have a grouping of energy vampires, try plugging everything into a power strip that can turn multiple devices on or off at once. 

Advanced power strips are a less labor-intensive way to rid your home of phantom power. Advanced power strips, or APS, prevent electronics from drawing power when they’re turned off or not in use. You can even find an APS that monitors your activity and turns off devices accordingly.

Step 3: Keep a watchful eye

Even after you’ve identified and defeated the energy vampires, you can continue taking steps to keep the phantom load in your home at bay. Did you know October is also National Energy Awareness Month? It’s a perfect time to take some steps to make your home more energy efficient.

Thanks to our friends at Black Hills Energy for these tips to The DC Patriot.

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