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There appear to be two different energy vampires. The people who suck your energy and the appliances that suck your energy. Both are costly. I would never claim to have a high emotional IQ, so my advice on ugly emotional people is to eliminate them from your life. Now, that we have addressed people, let’s talk about how to save on your electric bill by reducing those electric energy vampires in your life.
10%-20% or more of your electric bill could be the result of energy vampires. The standby electricity usage that is sucking money out of your wallet every month. You may think that an appliance is off, but it actually might be in standby mode.
According to the NRDC, the average household spends about $165 on vampire energy per year and has 65 electrical devices permanently connected in the home.
Remember it is not just the electrical bill savings that are important. It is also the impact of greenhouse emissions. The NRDC study states it is possible to prevent 44 million metric tons of carbon dioxide pollution annually in the United States by better addressing these electrical vampires. Crazy!
How much are you spend on energy vampires? Well, Duke Energy has a calculator to help you along. Interestingly, Duke Energy discusses TVs, but not have that as part of the calculator.
There is no logical way to eliminate all standby electric usage. I think you want your electric garage door to actually open when you push the button. However, there are easy ways to reduce the impact of the energy vampires in your home.
This is not a perfect list, but it will help you identify most vampires in your home.
- Does it have fangs…does it runs on electricity?
- Can it see in the night…does it have a light that is continuously on? This also includes clocks on appliances.
- Can it move quickly…is there a remote control for the appliance?
- Can it stay still for hours at a time…does it have standby ability?
If you want to review a more comprehensive list, consider TVs, computers, printers, stereos, gaming equipment, microwaves, clocks, coffee makers, and large appliances.
The Truly Bad Vampires
Typically, the worse energy drainers are going to be associated with older appliances. Early computers and older TVs that can run in standby mode or have remotes are bad.
But it’s not only the older appliances that need to be a concern, it is also the number of electrical devices.
Killing Vampires – Put a Spike in It
The easiest way to kill an energy vampire is to unplug it. It really is as simple as unplugging unnecessary or infrequently used devices throughout your home.
Ironically, it is typically that old TV, gaming system, computer, or printer that is rarely used that is drawing power.
The cable box is also a big energy vampire. Just another cost savings reason to cut the cord.
If You Cannot Kill It, Starve It
There are two good methods for addressing more frequently used appliances.
1. Traditional Power Strip: Sometimes it is unrealistic to unplug everything each day. The odds increase if you plug those items into a couple of power strips. It is much easier to turn off a power strip than unplug 5 items.
2. Smart Power Strip: There are a variety of smarter power strips that can run on a timer and/or have a primary and servant relationship. For example, the DVD player will automatically turn off if the TV is not on. Smart power strips are particularly good for the TV and computer, which typically have multiple devices associated with it that will run in standby mode.
Buy Energy Star Appliances
I had run out of vampire-related headers!
I am not a big fan of buying new appliances just to have the shiny and new. However, if you are in the market for a new appliance consider an Energy Star rated appliance as it meets higher energy conservation standards.
So, maybe you want to do a calculation on a current appliance to compare to an Energy Star Appliance. The basic calculation is pretty easy, but it does not calculate the energy vampire amount.
There are three variables that you need to collect: kilo Watts (from the appliance itself (kW), $/kWh from the electric bill, and your estimated hours used per day.
Note: some appliance read in Watts (so kW = Watts/1000)
Calculation: (Appliance kW*Hours Per Day Appliance Used) * $/kWh (electric rate) = Total cost per day
Three simple steps can go along way to reducing energy vampires:
1. Unplug Where Possible
2. Use Power Strips – Particularly Smart, Advanced Power Strips
3. Buy Energy Star Appliances
Energy vampires are rarely discussed, but the cost of not addressing these vampires can really hurt your wallet. If you are interested in more ways to reduce your electric bill, please read the articles below.
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Good Luck, WhipperSnapper Finance