This Halloween, be aware that the hungry little vampires who ring your doorbell aren’t the only ones you need to be afraid of.
Energy vampires inside your home are sucking electricity right out of the wires — for no good reason.
Energy vampires are appliances and electronic devices that you leave plugged in when nobody is using them. Even though they’re turned off, they still use small amounts of energy.
When you consider how many unused devices are plugged in around your home, their energy use can add up. In fact, they can add 10 percent or more to your monthly electric bill.
So when you turn something off, unplug it, too — unless it has to be on all the time, like the refrigerator.
To save you from a witch hunt, here is a list of the most likely vampires in your house:
- Computers, modems, routers, printers and other related equipment.
- Your flat-screen TV. The larger it is, the more energy it uses, even when turned off.
- Home theater equipment, including surround-sound devices.
- Your cable or satellite TV box.
- Anything with a digital time display, like your microwave oven or DVD player.
If an electrical device has a continuous display, like a digital clock; if it charges batteries, like your mobile phone charger; or if it has a remote control, like your TV — it’s a vampire.
Here are some easy ways to slay those vampires:
- Unplug any appliance or electronic device whenever you’re not using it, unless there’s some reason to leave it plugged into the wall. It’s not practical, for example, to unplug your cable box and wireless router. But you can unplug your TV, stereo, laptop, countertop kitchen appliances and cell phone chargers when they’re not in use.
- Use power strips. Plug the devices that can be turned off into power strips so all you have to do is turn one thing off instead of going around the room switching everything off one at a time.
- Setting computers and video game consoles to sleep mode in case you forget to unplug them at the end of the day will save some energy.
- Choose new appliances and electronics that use less “standby” power than your old ones. Any equipment marked with the Energy Star seal has that feature.