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What is Vampire Power?

Are you afraid of the dark? Maybe you should be - vampires are in your home, sucking your energy supply! Learn about what vampire is, and how you can avoid it


Are vampire devices sucking your energy supply?

What is Vampire Power?

When a device is turned "off" it's off, right? Wrong! Many devices continue to use power, even in the "off" setting. This phenomenon goes by many names, such as "phantom power", "vampire power", "leaking power", or "standby power", but means the same thing: your energy is being used, even when you aren't using your device.

Vampire Products

Products that have a remote control, internal clock, continuous display or charging function are generally big users of standby power. Sometimes there is no clear sign that your device is continually consuming power. The amount of vampire power that devices use varies, depending on how much power it uses to run:

Device Average wattage when in standby mode Cost of one year's worth of standby mode @ 10 ¢/kWh
Television (rear projection) 6.97 W $6.10
DVD/VCR 5.04 W $4.41
Cell phone charger 0.26 W $0.23
Set-top Box, digital cable with DVR 43.46 W $38.10

While not all of these devices represent a huge amount of money, it's still money out of your pocket! Some estimate that standby power accounts for 10% of total energy usage in an average North American household.

How to Slay the Energy Vampires

While it is not possible to eliminate vampire energy altogether, it's fairly simple to reduce it. Here are some tips for slaying the energy vampires in your home:


 Unplug it if you're not using it
The simplest way of eliminating phantom power is to unplug devices that suck energy when you're not using them. While it may not be practical to do this for all of your appliances all the time, it is a good idea to unplug energy-sucking devices when you go away on holiday.

 Unplug your laptop, tablet, and/or cellphone once it is charged
You may be able to preserve its battery for longer if you do not keep it fully charged all of the time

 Plug electronic devices into a power bar, and turn the power bar off when you are not using them
This is especially handy for things like computers or entertainment systems, which can draw a lot of energy even when turned "off"

 Check the manuals of your electronic devices to make sure you're using energy-saving features

 Choose energy efficient products
ENERGY STAR products have energy efficiency specifications that are superior to the average, and often use less power when on standby mode

 Shorten the idle time for computers and video game consoles
Powering down high energy-using devices to standby, as opposed to pausing them can represent major savings over the course of a year