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Unplug Your ‘Energy Vampires’ to Save on Electric Bills: TVs, Computers and More

There are moochers living in your house. Some of your appliances and electronics will spend all day absorbing the valuable energy you have to pay for, even if you don’t use these devices. Until they plug in, they increase your energy bill.

We call them “energy vampires.” And maybe you don’t know, but it could be a strain on your wallet. The average house sees about 10% of the total energy use that goes to energy vampires – meaning it’s power that doesn’t need to be used. That can cost a hefty amount: $ 250 or more, depending on where you are located.

Let’s take a look at your house and find energy vampires so you can eliminate them, replace and save yourself from overpaying your monthly energy bill.

Computer equipment

Do you have a desktop computer installed in your home? Whether it’s for gaming, work or just browsing the internet, your big tower and all its accessories are likely to absorb a lot of excess energy, even when it’s not in use.

According to data from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Standby Project, run by the Department of Energy, a desktop computer can cost upwards of $ 23 per year to continue to plug in and operate in stand-by mode. The monitor adds another $ 1.53 per year on average, and the modem or router contributes about $ 7 per year.

It’s not as much in itself, but it’s not hard to see how fast it adds up. Even a basic computer setup can cost well over $ 30 per year-and that’s just one machine. Your house is full of electronics guilty of the same energy-vampire activity.

Televisions and set-top boxes

Another major energy feeder sits in your living room. Televisions can cost more than $ 20 per year in excessive energy use if they remain plugged in while turned off. LEDs are probably more energy efficient than LCDs or plasma if you want to reduce your cost.

What’s even worse is the set-top box you use to watch all your favorite movies. Digital cable boxes like the type provided by your cable company will likely cost you close to $ 50 per year if you plug them in all the time. Other set-top boxes like the Apple TV tend to be more energy-conscious. But if you have cable, you will have a hard time escaping that energy-sucking box.

Speakers and sound system

Speaking of entertainment … if you have a home stereo system, it probably wastes a lot of energy. Audio systems can eat up about $ 10 per year if they stay plugged in, and audio input devices like CD players or record players can add another $ 5 or more. Subwoofers and audio receivers tend to absorb a lot of energy when they’re not in use, so consider unplugging your audio set up when you’re not jamming.

How to identify the most common energy vampires in your home

While some devices and appliances are more efficient than others, there are a few things to watch out for if you don’t want one to absorb a lot of excess energy.

Any device with an external power supply is likely to use more power than you expect, even if turned off. Likewise, devices that use a remote control are often energy vampires because they are constantly on and waiting for input. Anything that has a continuous display – the clock in your microwave or a screensaver on your TV or computer, for example – always uses energy as well.

Look around your home for these devices and decide if you really need to plug them in all the time. There’s an easy reason to play, but the extra step of plugging in and unplugging your device can save a little money over time. Plus, it’s good for the planet, and it applies to every little bit of help you can give.

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