Waste-Less Wednesday: A vampire in your home

Vampire Electricity Use

Happy Wednesday Everyone! Today for Waste-Less Wednesday, we are going to talk about something a little scary… I hate to break it to you, but you have a monster lurking in your home. It is a master of disguise, an unexpected fiend, a treacherous vampire. It is the dreaded energy vampire, also known as standby power.

Old tube TV sucking electricity

This monster of many names (standby power, energy vampire, and phantom load) is both a drain on your power bill and your wallet. But what is it you’re asking! Well simply put, it is anything that is left plugged in while not in use. This includes your toaster, microwave, laptop/desktop computer, cellphone chargers, DVD players and game consoles, televisions, AC units, air purifiers, fans etc. You get the picture. A good test to know if your electronic device has been sucking power while not in use is to touch it. If it’s warm, it has been sucking energy.

On a daily or even weekly basis, this energy cost doesn’t add up to a lot of money; however, over the lifetime of the appliance such as a microwave, it will likely use more energy sitting in standby than actually warming your food. According to BC Hydro, up to 10% of a homes electricity bill can be attributed to vampire appliances.

In the average U.S. home, 25 percent of electricity use by home electronics occurs while the products are off  – David Pogue, NY Times

But don’t worry, you’re not the only one with a monster in your home. I in fact had 12 items unnecessarily plugged in, just zapping energy and money from the walls. Prior to writing this, I walked around my house and unplugged all of these hidden monsters which included the toaster (we use it maybe twice a week), my photography lights, air purifier, fan, cellphone chargers, laptop for the TV, printer, heating pad, and dust buster charger.

So what is the solution? Well like all things in life, a good place to start is admitting you have a problem. The second is to exorcise the house of its demons. Do exactly what I did: spend 5 minutes walking around the house and unplug items that you deem unnecessary. That old tube TV sitting in the basement for when the grand kids come over? The desktop computer collecting dust while you use your tablet? Toaster or blender? Cell phone charger? According to BC Hydro, in 2017 30 percent of households still had a VCR plugged in somewhere in their house. VCR’s?! For real?

I prioritized items which had digital clocks or had programmed timers in them like our coffee maker, microwave, and alarm clocks on the nightstands (yes, we still have alarm clocks…) The ones we rely on, or are a pain in the butt to reach were granted a pass for convenience sake. But items like my photography lights and accessories I plugged into a power bar as this allowed me to turn off the whole lot of them with one simple click. This is also a great solution for electronics chargers and home office supplies. Another solution is to change the settings on your computer from screensaver to sleep mode.

So go forth and free your home of its demons! Then reap the reward of a cheaper electricity bill.

Thanks again guys- Heather

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