Energy Vampires: Which Devices Are Draining Energy from Your Home?

Don't let power-hungry devices result in higher electricity bills and less money in your wallet. Learn what electronics you should unplug when not in use.

Computer can drain energy

Bad news: You have vampires all over your home. But these vampires don't live on blood; they live on electricity, and they're sucking money right out of your wallet. 

“Energy vampires” are appliances and electronic devices that continue to use energy, even when they're turned off. In our plugged-in society, this is by no means a small problem.

A 2015 study by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) estimates that Americans spend an extra $19 billion every year to pay for the always-on appliances and electronics in our homes. On a per-household basis, that's like opening up your wallet once a year to discover that there’s $165 missing. 

The NRDC study concluded that, on average, American homes have about 65 different devices and appliances that are plugged in or permanently connected to a power source. Obviously, certain appliances, like refrigerators, need to stay plugged in 24/7. But there are plenty of other things that are fine to sit unplugged until you really need them. 

Here are a few energy vampires you should consider unplugging when not in use


You use the remote to turn your TV off every night, but is it really off? Nope. As long as your television is plugged in, it's in standby mode and therefore still using energy. Standby mode does use less electricity than when the device is fully powered on, but it can still cost you money. This also applies to your cable box and DVR. 


How long has it been since you've actually had to print something? If you don’t use your printer daily, consider leaving it unplugged until you need it. Unless your printer has an actual "off" switch, it's in standby mode, which means you're paying for it to just sit there and do nothing. 


Computers, gaming systems, modems, routers and and anything else connected to the internet all continuously use electricity unless they're unplugged. Additionally, any device with a transformer — the little black boxes attached to cords of laptops and other electronics — uses energy as long as it’s plugged in. 

Laptops and Cell Phones

Try to be aware of how long you charge your laptop, cellphone, tablets and other devices. They will continue to draw power from the wall even after the battery is fully charged. 

All that plugging and unplugging can be a hassle and can even cause wear and tear on your power cords. Try plugging multiple electronics into a convenient power strip so you can flip them all on and off at once. Some power strips even have individual switches, so you can pick and choose what needs to stay on and what doesn’t. Your efforts will be rewarded with both energy and cost savings. 

AHS assumes no responsibility, and specifically disclaims all liability, for your use of any and all information contained herein.

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