October is here, and spooky season is upon us — a time when ghouls, ghosts, and creepy crawlies lurk around every corner. But there's one type of terror that can lurk in our homes all year long, and if you ask us, they're some of the scariest of them all.
Yep, that's right. We're talking about energy vampires.
An energy vampire refers to any appliance or device that continues to drain power, even when not in use. You may think these appliances are off, but in reality, they're continuing to draw small amounts of power that can contribute to some significant (and unnecessary) additions to our monthly energy bills — talk about frightening!
In fact, according to a 2015 study conducted by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), it's estimated that energy vampires are costing the nation around $19 billion in wasted energy every. single. year (that's $165 per household!).
It's an obvious problem and one that equates to roughly 80 million tons of carbon dioxide produced annually, and that's just here in the United States.
Well, there are a few reasons. But on the whole, it comes down to function.
For instance, devices with screens that are always on (like a clock on your microwave), ones with internal temperature monitors (like your refrigerator), and technologies designed to receive signals (like TVs that communicate with remote controls) all require some degree of power even when they're not being actively used.
It makes consuming vampire energy pretty unavoidable, but that doesn't mean there aren't things we can do to minimize the waste and lower our energy bills in the process!
So, where do we begin? The good news is that many of these monstrous consumers are hiding in plain sight, and identifying them is the first step.
Knowing which appliances and devices are consuming unnecessary power is a great place to start when it comes to reducing our consumption of vampire energy.
On the whole, you'll want to consider devices like:
Consider taking on the role of an amateur vampire hunter and conduct an at-home walkthrough to locate some of these devices in your living space. Once you've made a list, it's time to take action.
First things first, we're going to need a lot of garlic.
Home energy vampires are actually pretty easy to combat, and most solutions are low-cost or no-cost to put into action. Let's look at each of the significant contributors we listed above.
When left plugged in, our televisions and cable boxes can consume a lot of excess energy.
In fact, combined, studies suggest these devices could be costing homeowners anywhere between $18 and $111 annually in standby power alone — that's a lot of Netflix!
Fortunately, there are a few ways that you can help slay their wasted consumption:
While not quite as bad as televisions and cable boxes, computers and gaming consoles can also be major vampire energy culprits.
Consider the following ways to combat these unsuspecting energy suckers:
This next tip is probably as simple as they get, but it can make a huge difference in reducing your household's vampire energy levels — unplug your chargers when they're not in use!
Phone chargers, tablet chargers and laptop chargers (as well as just about any other type of charger you can think of) are still drawing power, even when they're not attached to their respective devices.
Unplug them from your walls (or connect them to a power strip) to avoid unnecessary energy drain.
Our next group of suspects are hungry for power — and you can find each of them in the kitchen!
From sneaky clock displays on microwaves and ovens to kettles, coffee makers and blenders that sit unused most of the day, our kitchens are full of energy vampires unsuspectingly racking up our monthly electrical spending.
Luckily, we've got a few tricks to help treat yourself to a lower energy bill:
PRO TIP! Did you know that refrigerators naturally cycle on and off throughout the day? It's true! As a matter of fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), you can safely leave food for up to four hours in a fridge that's disconnected from power, making them an excellent candidate for that smart plug scheduling trick we mentioned earlier.
Consider setting a timer to allow your refrigerator to power down for an hour or two each day (hello, OhmHours!) to cut back on vampire energy — just make sure to leave the door closed to avoid food spoiling!
The final category of energy vampires we need to discuss are the ones in our bathrooms. Think hair dryers, curling wands, electric toothbrushes, electric shavers and the like.
They may seem small, but their contributions to your energy bill might not be!
Try these tips to maximize your savings:
October is a time for thrills and chills, but your energy bill should never be the thing making the hairs rise on the back of your neck.
We hope this post has taken some of the mystery out of a few of your home's energy vampires and given you a few tricks (and treats) to enjoy some energy bill savings. Good luck, and happy vampire hunting!