This time of year, lots of us are decorating our homes with all things spooky. But there’s something else lurking around the house year-round that you probably aren’t thinking about: vampire appliances.
Sounds like a bad horror flick, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, it’s all too real. Vampire appliances are electronic devices like televisions and game consoles that continue drawing power even when you think you’ve turned them off. And because they’re drawing power, they’re adding to your energy bill.
In fact, vampire appliances account for about 10 percent of an average household’s energy bill, according to the Association of Energy Services Professionals. As a whole, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that idle gadgets waste more than 100 billion kilowatt hours of electricity annually—costing consumers a terrifying $10 billion each year.
How many vampire appliances are in your home? Here’s a list of the top 10, in order of their energy-sucking appetite:
1. Flat-screen TVs
2. Home computers (laptops and desktops)
3. Video game consoles
4. Digital video recorders
5. Cable boxes
6. Cable modems
7. Laser printers
8. DVD players
9. Cell phone/tablet chargers
10. Small appliances, such as microwaves, toasters ovens and coffee makers
If you’re not sure whether an electronic device or appliance is an energy vampire, first check the plug. Many have rectangular adapter boxes on their plugs that stay warm even when the devices are off, indicating they’re still drawing power. Others use standby power to always run digital clocks or display lights.
The good news is that you can have the upper hand in warding off these vampires, potentially saving you hundreds of dollars each year. Here are five tools at your disposal: