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How to Reduce Vampire Load – What is vampire load?

Vampire load, also known as stand-by power or phantom load, refers to the electricity that is used by home electronics and appliances when they seem “off” or are in standby-mode. Most people think that when you turn something off, it turns off completely and stops drawing power. Unfortunately, that’s not true in the case of many electronic devices. Examples include TVs, VCRs, DVD players, stereos, game consoles, laptop computers, desktop computers and monitors, anything with a remote, a charger, or a clock display.

Why are vampire or phantom loads so scary?

Home electronics products, such as televisions, computers and monitors, DVD players, digital video recorders, and audio equipment, account for about 15% of household electricity use. For example, game consoles, like the Xbox 360 or PlayStation, draw 120-150 watts of electricity when in use – but they can also use up to 150 watts of electricity when they’re supposed to be off. This can add up to more than $100 per year on your electric bills. That’s scary!

Six ways to fight vampire load

  • Use an Advanced Power Strip. The Advanced Power Strip takes care of vampire load for you, so when you turn your TV off, you can have your entire home theater–your DVD player and game consoles–turn off, too. Use an Advanced Power Strip for any cluster of electronics you want to control with the flip of a single switch or the click of a remote control.
  • Unplug your devices. For small accessible electronics, just pull power cords out of the outlet if they’re not in use.
  • Reduce your demand. See if there are electronics in your home that you no longer use at all, or use very infrequently. How about that old VCR that you no longer use?
  • Don’t leave chargers plugged in. Your cell phone charger, iPod charger, laptop charger, etc. keeps drawing electricity even if they are not charging a device. So if your phone or other device isn’t attached to your charger, pull the charger out of the wall.
  • Choose ENERGY STAR® and save. ENERGY STAR qualified electronic products offer the same features and technologies as non-qualified products, but they use less energy, and this saves you money on your electric bill.
  • Measure your electronics power consumption. You can measure how much electricity your electronic devices use with the Watts Up electric meter. With this information, you’ll be better able to identify the connection between your appliance use and the amount of your electric bills. Borrow a Watts Up electric meter from Efficiency Vermont.

Tip: Some local libraries also loan Watt meters.  They are very eye opening regarding what it is that raises your electric consumption!

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