As a homeowner, one of the biggest frights you might ever experience is opening the latest electric bill and seeing a balance that is downright spooky. How on earth did you use that much power over the last month? What you may not realize is that the things plugged in throughout your home may have been sucking power away while you didn’t realize it. This is a phenomenon known as “vampiric power” or “vampiric drain,” and it is becoming increasingly more common with modern appliances and devices that have additional functions when they aren’t necessarily running.
This Halloween, if you want to avoid the fright of an out-of-control electric bill, read on to learn what vampiric power drain is and what you can do to stop the problem.
What Is Vampiric Power Drain?
When you turn something off, is it really shut off? In most cases, the answer is actually a resounding “no.” For example, a modern television will actually consume quite a bit of power even in its supposedly “powered down” state. Many TVs have a small LED indicator light to show that the television is powered and working. Smart TVs often have a connection to the internet that they must use power to constantly maintain. Still others have to provide power to a connected auxiliary device through an HDMI or some other cable. All of this can add up to the tune of a few extra kilowatt hours of energy per month, and that means you may be spending up to a few extra dollars just to keep your TV powered when you aren’t even using it.
Now, this would be an extreme case, and most of the time the actual cost is probably no more than a dollar or so. However, when you consider that this is just one of the devices that is constantly using power, it’s easy to see how this effect can snowball. Let’s look around your TV even further—do you have a cable box plugged in and powered at all times? If your cable box is also a DVR, you almost certainly leave it powered at all times so that it can continue to record your shows. In fact, these devices are among the worst vampiric power drainers in your home. Shutting one off only marginally diminishes the amount of power they actually use. Do you also have a streaming box, video game console, stereo receiver, and/or DVD player attached? All of these devices are known vampires on your power, and all of them combined can place a pretty substantial strain on your wallet.
Smart devices are also notorious constant power consumers. For example, a smart switch is always using power in order to maintain a Wi-Fi connection with your home’s wireless network. Even when they aren’t turning a light on or off, they’re using just a small amount of energy. The same can be said for smart lightbulbs and other home automation devices.
How Much Is Vampire Power Costing You?
When you add everything up, vampire power can account for as much as 20 to 25% of your monthly electricity bill! According to the EIA, the average electric bill in the state of Georgia during the year 2020 was roughly $130. That means vampiric power alone accounted for an average of $32.50 every single month. Over the course of an entire year, that’s just under $400 you were forced to spend just because of devices using power that you didn’t necessarily need them to. Most people would slow down and think very carefully about any commitment to spending $400 per year, and yet most people do very little to nothing at all to eliminate vampiric power draw from their homes.
Put an End to Vampiric Power Draw
What can you do to stop this problem? The easiest answer is simple: unplug things when you aren’t using them. This means anything that does not need to remain plugged in to continue functioning properly. For example, you should absolutely keep your Wi-Fi router and modem plugged in when you aren’t using them, as your home likely depends on this internet connection in many ways (your smartphone almost certainly does). Likewise, if you want your cable box to continue recording your shows, don’t unplug it!
However, anything that doesn’t necessarily need to run when you aren’t using it should be shut off. One way to make this easy is to plug several of these devices into a surge-protected power strip. This not only protects these devices from the effects of a power surge, but also gives you the ability to completely cut the power to all of these devices with the flip of one simple switch. Power strips physically break an electrical circuit, completely cutting the power to these vampiric devices.Happy Halloween from our family at Lightning Bug Electric to yours! Dial (404) 471-3847 to schedule your service appointment today.