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Energy Vampire Electronics

Some appliances and electronics constantly consume electricity, even when they appear to be off, earning the name “energy vampires.”

Bar chart showing standby power demand of some common appliances.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, vampire appliances account for approximately five percent of the average home’s annual energy consumption. For example, a television, or any household device operated by remote control, consumes electricity as it waits for a signal to be turned on. Computers and cell phone chargers are also common culprits, with some power adapters wasting as much as 50 percent of the power they consume. In total, standby power adds up to $100 per year to your electric bill.

To slay energy vampires, either unplug electronics when not in use or use a smart power strip, which recognizes when appliances switch to standby mode and automatically cuts power to that device. Energy Star-qualified appliances also have technology built in to reduce the amount of standby power used when the appliance is turned off.