Top 6 Tips to Reduce Vampire Loads

“I’ve come to suck your electricity,” says the energy vampire. And there are many energy vampires lurking within your house, sucking electricity. The Department of Energy (DOE) estimates that household electronic devices use about five to 10 percent of annual energy costs.

You need not fear those energy vampires any longer. We have some tips for you to reduce vampire loads. Why let them keep sucking your energy and driving up your utility bill? Instead, turn your home into a place that is a model of energy conservation.

1. Use power strips for always-on appliances.

Always-on electricity use refers to appliances that suck energy even when not in use. It includes appliances and equipment in off, “standby” mode or “sleep” mode, and amounts to $19 billion a year, about $165 for each U.S. household on average, according to the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Plugging those appliances into a power strip and turning it off when not using them will stop them from sucking your energy.

2. Unplug devices you don’t use very often.

Some appliances are used so infrequently that they can simply be unplugged. For example, if you have an old VCR that you just can’t bear to get rid of, you can simply unplug it while you are not using it. Other examples include mixers used for baking, bread making machines and other kitchen devices you don’t use daily. Why let the energy vampires continue to suck your power?

3. Unplug cell phone chargers.

Everyone has a cell phone these days. Those cell phones need frequent charging. Did you know that leaving a cell phone charger plugged turns it into an energy vampire? The average charger eats up 26 watts of energy when it is not being used, the DOE estimates. So, unplug those cell phone chargers when they are not in use.

4. Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent lighting.

Old incandescent bulbs suck up too much energy and should be replaced with more energy efficient compact fluorescent lighting (CFLs). They are four times more efficient than incandescent bulbs, using 50 to 80 percent less energy, the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga estimates. Although they cost more, they last longer. Coupled with their energy savings, CFLs are a real bargain.

5. Upgrade old, inefficient appliances.

Older appliances such as refrigerators, freezers, washers and dryers use much more energy than newer models. Look for the Energy Star label because appliances with that label really do save energy and money. For example, arefrigerator made between 2001 and 2008 costs $60 a year to run while a newer, Energy Star certified model costs $45 a year to run. That may not be much, but if you combine it with the other tips, the savings will add up.

6. Use Chai Energy to help identify energy vampires.

Our last tip will help you identify energy vampires so you will be able to practice energy conservation in your home. It is an app by Chai Energy called Chai Lite. It monitors your energy use and identifies savings. It also will let you know what energy is being used in your home when you are not there. If there is an energy vampire in your home, this app will identify it.

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