When people think of October, they think of pumpkin spice lattes, leaves crunching under their feet and maybe, most importantly, Halloween.
Halloween is arguably one of the best holidays — there’s free candy and the freedom to express your creativity through costumes and pumpkin carving. You’re bound to see ghouls, ghosts, vampires and all things creepy roaming around in the street at night. While Dracula might be welcome at your costume party, there’s another kind of vampire that you shouldn’t invite inside your home: vampire appliances.
What exactly are vampire appliances? According to the United States Department of Energy, vampire appliances, or energy vampire appliances, are appliances that continue to use energy from your power outlets even when they’re turned off or idle. It’s not only a small amount of energy that’s being wasted — vampire appliances can add hundreds of dollars to your energy bill each year via silent energy use. So, these devices might not be the only spooky thing haunting your house this season.
Here’s a list of vampire appliances that may be causing you to spend more on energy than you need to.
1. Video game consoles
While you might want to break out your gaming consoles to play some spooky games during Halloween, don’t forget to unplug after you’ve finished using them. For example, a Microsoft Xbox One would use around 15.7 watts during standby and cost you around $10.83 a year. While that doesn’t seem like a lot of money, it adds up when you have several other vampire appliances in your home that use up energy during standby.
2. Coffee maker
Some of us act like zombies without a cup of coffee. But did you know that your coffee maker can use energy even when it’s idling? According to Direct Energy, idle power consumption could raise the amount of energy it takes to brew a cup of coffee from 200 to 300 watts, depending on the model. That’s certainly something to think about over your morning cup of Joe.
3. DVD player
Halloween definitely calls for watching scary movies in the dark, but surprisingly, your DVD player is also a dreaded energy vampire. Depending on the model, Energy Star says your DVD player could use between 2.8 watts to 6.2 watts idly. That could cost you around $12 a year, for an appliance that most of us don’t use very often.
4. Plasma TV
If you’re going to watch horror movies on Halloween, you’re going to need something to watch them on. While watching movies on your 50-inch flat-screen TV might be pretty enjoyable, the silent energy use from your TV isn’t. According to SRP, the average annual cost of a 50-inch plasma TV from idle energy use is around $14.56 per TV.
5. Routers and modems
While routers and modems are pretty inconspicuous in our day to day lives, they’re important for keeping us connected online and for things such as streaming videos. Depending on the size of your house, you might have more than one router present in your home in order to keep all parts of your home connected to the internet. That could mean a lot of extra energy wasted since the annual average energy cost from a router during standby is around $10.24, according to SRP.
While we use computers actively during much of the day to get our work done, many of us have the bad habit of leaving them in sleep or standby mode overnight so that they boot up faster in the morning. According to MUO, leaving your computer running 24/7 for the entire year could cost around $129.73. Turning off our personal computers could save around $20 annually, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
7. Space heaters
Halloween can have us shivering, figuratively and literally. While horror movies and terrifying costumes can give us a chill, so will colder temperatures that are typically associated with fall. While it’s tempting to place space heaters in our homes to warm up, sources such as Energy Saver list space heaters as a commonly found energy vampire in our homes that can drive up energy bills. Rather than using space heaters, cheaper alternatives are available for warming up your home, such as improving insulation.
8. Cell phone chargers
You’ll probably want to take pictures of all the neat costumes you’ll see during Halloween, so it’d make sense to have your cell phone fully charged. However, a lot of us are guilty of leaving our cell phones plugged in overnight and leaving our wall chargers permanently plugged in. You may not know that even cell phone chargers draw power idly. In comparison to other appliances, cell phone chargers might not use a lot of idle energy (around 1 watt), but the amount can still add up in conjunction with other vampire appliances.
9. Laser printer
While we certainly need to print things occasionally, we probably don’t print things often enough at home that warrants having our printers plugged in all the time. According to MarketWatch, laser printers eat up around $5 in idle energy costs a year. That’s money you could have spent on a pumpkin spice latte instead.
The next time you microwave some food or a drink, you may want to consider the fact that your microwave is also an energy vampire. While you’re eating food, your microwave is eating up excess power when it’s idling. Although your microwave doesn’t use a lot of standby power (3.08 watts), it still contributes to the excess amount of power used by your appliances. Several appliances that use a small amount of standby power can add up in costs quick, such as microwaves and cell phone chargers.
How to protect your home from vampire appliances?
Now that you know about some of the potential energy vampires, you may be asking what you can do to protect your home. You don’t necessarily have to stop using your appliances to stop excess energy from being used, but there are definitely simple ways for you to lessen or stop vampire appliances from sucking up extra energy.
For example, the U.S. Department of Energy suggests simply unplugging appliances to stop excess energy use. If you’re forgetful, timed power switches can help prevent power use while you’re away from home. If you have several appliances or electronics in the same vicinity (for example, TVs, game consoles and DVD players in your living room), plugging them all into a smart power bar that has a timer can help you save energy. According to NRCan, replacing appliances with Energy Star-certified ones can help with using less power when your devices are in standby mode.
Now that you know how to stop vampire appliances from haunting your bills, you’ll have more peace of mind to enjoy this season.