There Are Vampires Among Us
Ghouls, goblins and other scary creatures roam our neighborhoods on Halloween. But there are other scary creatures – vampire devices – secretly sucking energy from our homes.
Vampire energy, or phantom load, is the name we give to the electricity consumed by household electronics when they’re not in use. Households in PSE&G’s service territory spend an average of about $1,200 a year in energy costs, and up to 10 percent of that can be attributed to vampire appliances wasting energy that customers probably don’t even realize is being used.
No one would throw away $120 a year, and no one wants to see that much energy wasted. These are the appliances freeloading the most power – and money – from your home, and some tips to help you reduce the amount you pay for unwanted electricity use.
Flat-screen TVs, especially those equipped with smart technology, are the biggest vampires in your home. They need to draw power constantly to be ready to respond to signals from their remote controls and content providers. Advanced power strips (APS) are one convenient way to help reduce energy wasted by TVs and other vampire devices. There are a few types of APS systems available that won’t cramp your energy lifestyle.
Video game consoles are the second-biggest energy vampires. They could be costing your family even when they’re not being played. For avid gamers who purchase games digitally, automatic game downloads and updates can keep a console drawing power for hours. But why take the fun out of gaming? Disable automatic updates, downloads and Wi-Fi access. Instead, enable “background downloads,” to have new content delivered to your device as you play. That will keep your console up-to-date without adding to your energy bill. Another solution is connecting the gaming console to an APS to ensure the device is completely shut off and not wasting energy or money.
In your kitchen, a single appliance may not have a huge impact on your energy bill, but when the energy use is combined, the waste adds up. At an average of $5 apiece, when not in use, blenders, coffee makers, toasters and microwaves can add $20 to your energy bill every year. Anything with a digital display is drawing power non-stop to keep the clock and other information up to date. Do you really need your microwave to tell you it’s lunch time? Plug all these devices into a power strip that can be easily shut-off on your way out the door.
Opening your energy bill does not have to be a scary experience – especially when you can reduce unnecessary power consumption.