- Standby power, often called ‘vampire power’, refers to the electric power consumed by electronic and electrical appliances while they are switched off or in a standby mode.
- Up to the middle of the last decade (2000 – 2010), before the widespread adoption of new regulations, standby power was often several watts or even tens of watts per appliance. – Wikipedia.
- Large numbers of devices which continue to draw a small amount of power when they are switched off had resulted in energy usage of 8 to 22 percent of all appliance consumption in various countries.
Digital Trends makes the following points:
- “The average American household spends $100 per year powering devices that are turned off or in standby mode. Energy Star reckons vampire power costs $10 billion nationwide every year – and counting. While electronics and appliances are certainly more energy-efficient now than they used to be, there are also far more of them in homes than ever before”.
Some Examples from Energy.gov:
- The average phone charger is consuming .26 watts of energy when not in use, and 2.24 watts even when a fully charged device is connected to it.
- Even when they’re powered off, cable boxes consume an average of 17.83 watts. Make that a cable box with DVR capabilities, which is an increasingly popular option, and your total more than doubles.
Solutions [also courtesy of Energy.gov]:
- Unplug devices you don’t use often. This probably won’t work for your cable box or clock radio, but if you have an extra TV, an old desktop computer or a stereo you only use from time to time, you should consider unplugging them completely until the next time you need to use them.
- Use power strips. Power strips allow you to completely toggle the power flow on and off. This will allow you to control the power usage of clusters of devices so that they’re not consuming electricity when you’re not around. Using a light switch that turns power outlets on and off accomplishes the same end, if you have one in your home.
- Curb idle time in devices such as computers and video game consoles. Simply setting your computer to sleep mode or saving a game and powering down instead of leaving it paused for a prolonged period can actually save more than $100 a year in many cases.
- Make smart upgrades. When it comes time to send your old devices to the graveyard, you should also consider replacing them with ENERGY STAR devices. They have a lower standby consumption than your average device and generally use less energy in all their functions – a savings you should take into account when comparing similar products.
- None of these strategies will eliminate your electric bill entirely, but together these tricks can help you slay energy vampires while saving money.