It is an often told story. A creature that lives in the shadows of our collective conscious and although we don’t always notice, it preys upon our wallets. A shape shifting terror that has existed as long as we have had AC outlets. I’m speaking of course about ‘vampire load’.
Also known by the names ‘phantom load’ or ‘standby power’, it’s estimated that electricity ratepayers lose roughly $3 Billion (with a B!) a year to
to the electricity that appliances use just by being plugged in when they are turned off!
It may not be much of a strain on the grid to have your electric razor charging, but if you were to zoom out and consider all the other small appliances, as well as televisions and microwaves on standby, the impact is much greater. What’s more, is that up to 25% of energy consumption by a home happens when these gadgets are off.
Perhaps the oldest example of vampire power is television. Back in the late 60’s, televisions were adapted so that certain parts remained on and didn’t have to ‘warm up’. This consequently put an added strain on energy bills, but considering the addition of numerous gadgets in the past 50 years that strain has been multiplied many times over. Take for instance a cell phone AC charger. Regardless of whether or not a phone is charged, some AC adapters can draw up to 50% of the electricity used to charge a phone.
Although this invasion of electricity vampires can be overwhelming, the good news is, you can be a vampire hunter and put a stake through those high energy bills with a few simple tips.
- Buy a Smart Power Strip. This addition literally makes your energy use smarter by turning off power to devices that are plugged in but not on.
- When buying appliances, always look for an Energy Star sticker. According to the Energy Star website, since its inception in 1992 “ENERGY STAR and its partners have helped save American families and businesses more than $450 billion and over 3.5 trillion kilowatt-hours of electricity while also achieving broad emissions reductions—all through voluntary action.” With a track record like that, flipping your old appliances and investing in Energy Star certified products can go a long way in combatting vampire load.
- Invest in monitoring hardware like Sense to find out what might be drawing phantom power, and then decide whether or not it needs to be plugged in.
It may seem to be a daunting task to combat this scourge on our grid, but if enough households invest in these solutions we can all be a little more energy efficient. To see how PosiGen can help you be more energy efficient, contact a renewable energy representative today, and see how you can save on your electricity bill!