Sustainability Myths: Are Vampire Appliances Sucking the Green Out of Your Lifestyle?

Many people think they are doing their part to go green by simply turning off their TV or computer when it is not being used, but does that cut it? It is true: Most appliances use the greatest amount of energy when they are in use, or “on.” However, what about the other 20 hours a day when your TV is plugged in in the corner? Doesn’t matter because it is off, right? Turns out, that is a myth that needs to be busted.

Myth: Everyday appliances use energy only when they are powered on. And yes, this one is in fact a myth.

What many people don’t realize is that their TV, computer, and coffee maker are sucking up energy for the entirety of the time they are plugged in. The scariest part about these energy suckers – they are everywhere. Everything from your radio to your toaster to your garage door opener is using energy constantly if it is attached to a power supply – i.e. plugged into your wall. These energy sucking electronic gadgets are known in the sustainability world as “vampire appliances.”

So why does this happen, even if you turn your devices off? Well, as it turns out most power switches on appliances really mean more “standby” than they do “off.” This is an added convenience so that electronics around the house do not take as long to power up, as they are starting from a standby state. However, this “convenience” is a major energy draw – and adds about $200 to the average American’s annual electricity bill.  So for those sustainably concerned among us, this is much more alarming than convenient.

So what is a green crusader to do in the battle against energy vampires? The solution is actually pretty simple. The first step, perhaps an obvious one, is to unplug infrequently used appliances between uses, and unplug everything when you leave for vacation. For more frequently used appliances, invest in a power strip with an “on/off” switch, which can be found at almost any electronics or hardware store. Then, when you turn off these appliances, turn off the power strip as well. This cuts off the energy current at the source, so the vampires get nothing when the strip is turned off.

By Grace Interlichia, Class of 2014


10 Replies to “Sustainability Myths: Are Vampire Appliances Sucking the Green Out of Your Lifestyle?”

  1. Strange how people see this so differently. However i would have to agree with you that one simple way we can all help save more energy is by simply unplugging appliances when we leave for vacation or long weekend getaways.

  2. There’s a vampire in your home, and it’s feeding off of the energy from your electronics. With the average American household owning 25 consumer electronic devices, you can begin to see how these phantom loads can translate into a significant chunk of your energy bill.

    There are several simple and convenient strategies like :

    1) Unplug devices you don’t use often
    2) Use power strips
    3) Curb idle time in devices such as computers and video game consoles.
    4) Make smart upgrades

    None of these strategies will eliminate your electric bill entirely, but together these tricks can help you slay energy vampires while saving money, a treat you can appreciate long after Halloween has passed.

  3. Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to
    say that I have truly enjoyed browsing your blog posts. After all I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!

  4. You could certainly see your expertise within the work you write.

    The arena hopes for even more passionate writers like you who aren’t afraid to mention how they believe. At all times follow your heart.

  5. Everyone knows that energy is a limited source in the environment. And home appliances are the things which take maximum electricity. for controlling that energy wastage go green is the best way.And the information which is provided by you is really very informative and necessary to know for everyone.

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