Halloween is just around the corner, so we thought we’d share information about vampire energy – also called phantom energy. Many families are working and attending remote school from home right now. This means that lights are on for more hours of the day and more devices are sucking energy, all placing an extra burden on your electric bill. Your house may not actually be haunted, but all that extra money being drained away each month can be truly frightful! Here is some information to help you identify and reduce vampire energy…
Understand and Identify Sources of Vampire Energy
Vampire energy is the electricity consumed by devices and appliances when they are idle, or not being used. Home computers are one of the biggest culprits of vampire energy as they are often left plugged in and in “sleep mode” indefinitely, without being fully powered off. Similarly, many people leave portable devices such as tablets and cell phones plugged in throughout the day or overnight. Electronic devices like these are notorious for consuming phantom energy. In fact, any item that is left plugged in after it is fully charged can suck excess energy. Televisions, cameras, laptops, mobile devices, power tools, video game consoles, treadmills and exercise bikes will all consume low levels of energy if left plugged in. Vampire energy isn’t trivial – it can account for an estimated 10% of your electricity bill.
There are several things you can do to reduce the silent, hidden costs of phantom energy:
- Do a walk-through of your home to determine if there are any appliances or devices that you can leave unplugged when not in use. Be thorough – don’t forget the electric coffee maker, any connected exercise devices and all electronics, including chargers.
- Set electronic devices such as laptops and tablets to standby mode, turn off your monitor when you step away from your desk and power everything off at the end of the day.
- Unplug chargers when not in use or after a device is fully charged. If a charger feels warm to the touch, it is still pulling energy.
- Use power strips to make it easier and faster to turn off devices. When you flip the switch, power is automatically shut off for all devices plugged into the strip.
Save on Energy – Even with a Full House
Addressing vampire energy drain will help reduce your energy bill, but there are other ways to save on electricity too. Even with the entire family at home all day, there are still many opportunities to be more energy efficient. A licensed electrician can offer advice for your particular situation and help implement any of the below suggestions:
- Install occupancy sensor lights that turn off automatically when someone leaves the room. You’ll never have to say “turn off the lights” again!
- Upgrade to energy-efficient lighting such as LED lights. LED bulbs use 75% less energy and last 25% longer than incandescent bulbs.
- Install a programmable thermostat to help regulate the temperature in your home and help avoid excess air conditioning or heating consumption.
- Replace older appliances, such as a refrigerator, dishwasher, clothes washer or clothes dryer with new Energy Star rated versions. Appliances with the Energy Star label consume up to 50% less energy. A certified electrician can advise if you will need a dedicated circuit for your new appliance.
- Install ceiling fans to help heat and cool your home more efficiently. In warmer weather, a ceiling fan run counterclockwise will help the room feel cooler by creating a breeze. In cooler weather, a ceiling fan run clockwise will circulate the hot air trapped near the ceiling to help the room feel warmer.
- Water heaters are a large contributor to the overall energy consumption of a home. Consider reducing the thermostat on your water heater by a few degrees and ensure the water heater pipes are insulated. If your water heater is more than 10 years old, consider replacing it with a more energy efficient model.