You see all those appliances around you? Your computer, your TV, your cell phone charger? All the ones that appear to be off? Well, they’re not off. In fact, they are sucking power and costing you money right now. It’s called standby or vampire power, and it is a huge, silent consumer of energy. Of all the power consumed in the EU each year, about 10% of it is vampire power. The amount of vampire power consumed in the United States each year is enough to power the entire country of Italy for a year.
A TV is a good example of a vampire appliance. When it is off but still plugged in, the TV is actually in standby mode, awaiting the signal from the remote to turn on. In this state, it is consuming power. Other common appliances that consume energy in standby mode are computers, adapters, chargers, DVD players, stereos, and microwaves.
So how can you kill these vampire appliances and prevent them from wasting energy and your money? Throwing garlic at the TV from the fort you built out of the couch cushions in the corner of the living room that your wife keeps telling you to clean up because company is coming over for dinner doesn’t work (it actually just made a mess). Sneaking up behind the TV, wrestling it to the floor, and driving a wooden stake into its cold, metallic heart every night before bed does work, but is not the cheapest option.
One simple way to prevent your appliances from consuming power while in standby mode is to plug your appliances into a power strip that you can switch off when not in use. This prevents the appliances from receiving power they would otherwise be consuming in standby mode, saving you 5-10% on your electricity bill and saving the world all in one fell swoop.