With Halloween around the corner, you may not be surprised to see ghosts, zombies or vampires in stores, TV shows and streets. But what if I told you one of these things lurks in your home year round?

What are known as ‘energy vampires’ may be sucking your energy when you’re not around, driving up the cost of your energy bill.

Energy vampires are electronics and appliances in your home – like TVs, home computers and cell phone chargers – that continue to draw power when they’re turned off or idle. So even if you’re not using the device, it is still using energy. This energy is sometimes called “standby power.”

Think of this: How many rechargeable electronic devices does your family have? How many chargers are left plugged into the wall all day long, even when no device is being charged?

The average home has roughly 40 vampire devices, including cell phone chargers, cordless phones, desktop and laptop computers, laser printers, TVs, VCRs, DVD players, game consoles, and digital displays on appliances like coffee makers and microwaves.

Energy vampires like this can add up to 10 percent to the average homeowner’s electric bill, costing the average U.S. household $100 per year to power devices while they are off (or in standby mode).

Ready to slay the energy vampires in your home? Here are some tips:

  • Unplug! The easiest way to cut down energy vampires in your home is to unplug anything that is not in use. This includes hair dryers, curling irons, electric shavers, cell phone chargers, camera chargers and more. Even when turned off, these devices are idly sipping electricity from your outlet which costs you money.
  • Use a smart power strip so when you turn off your TV it will automatically turn off your DVD, VCR, Blue-Ray and/or gaming console so you are not paying for ‘vampire’ power. Smart power strips work to reduce your power usage by shutting down power to products that go into standby mode. Some of these strips also provide an “always on” plug so devices such as your DVR are always available to record your favorite show.
  • Look for ENERGY STAR when shopping for appliances. All ENERGY STAR qualified products are among the lowest power consuming in their category in standby mode.
  • Use the DTE Insight app to track energy usage in real time. The DTE Insight app even lets you view electrical appliances’ monthly operating costs by scanning the power cord with an iPhone.

For more tips on how to increase your home’s efficiency, visit dteenergy.com/saveenergy.


Photo Credit: Łukasz Hejnak