Did you know your coffee maker may have a secret identity as a vampire? Not the blood sucking type of vampire -- the energy sucking type. A vampire load, also known as a phantom load, is energy that is being used by an electronic device electronics are in stand-by mode.
The United States government estimates that its citizens spend more money on their stereo equipment, which these days often includes a complicated set up of stereos, TV’s, DVD players, gaming systems and speakers, when they aren’t in use than when they are in use. Unless the system has been powered down completely when not in use, it’s still drawing energy.
It may seem like a small amount, but when you add that small amount up 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and then add your vampire load to everyone else’s vampire load in the country, it’s an enormous amount of energy being wasted. Some estimate what the U.S. wastes in a year in vampire energy could power the country of Greece for an entire year.
It’s not just stereo equipment. Look all around your house -- including your kitchen. If your coffee maker has a digital clock on it, it’s drawing power 24 hours a day, not just when it’s making coffee. The same is true for your microwave, under the cabinet stereo/TV system, and even many newer models of toaster ovens.
If you have a charging station in your kitchen where your cell phones, PDA’s, mp3 players and other hand held electronic devices charge overnight, there’s another huge potential energy sucker if they are left plugged in when not in use. Each individual charger or charging station draws about 1 megawatt a day. It’s estimated that in the U.S., there are 190 million cell phones. That’s 190 million megawatts of wasted energy – enough to power 100,000 homes a day!
Getting rid of these energy sucking vampires doesn’t mean getting rid of the appliances themselves. It simply means unplugging them or plugging them into a power strip that gets turned off when the electronics aren’t in use.
Do you really need the clock on your coffee maker and the clock on your microwave when you probably have one on your stove or on the wall and one in the cell phone that’s in your pocket? No, you don’t.
Start in your kitchen where the task is small. Identify all the vampires and plan to turn them off when not in use. When you get used to it, head into the rest of your home to slay those vampires, too.
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