Becoming a Vampire Killer: Ways to Combat Wasted Stand-by Power in Your Connecticut Home


Vampire power. Phantom load. Ghost load.

These spooky terms are all names for the power drawn by always-on appliances and devices in your home, such as your cable box, coffee maker, or DVD player (this is more formally referred to as “standby load”).

If you are a conscientious energy user – and if you are reading this blog you probably are – you will want to pay attention to a recent Powerly article about vampire power that reveals just how much energy your appliances use when they are not doing a whole lot for you in your Connecticut home (hint: it’s more than you think).

According to the Powerly study, small adjustments in “on” time for common home appliances reduced the estimated annual standby cost of these devices by nearly 58 percent – a significant number for such a minimal investment of time and effort (you can read the complete details of their findings here). The takeaway: If you’re serious about getting down to the nitty gritty of energy efficiency, look no further than your power outlets.

How to kill energy vampires in your home

So what are the best ways to reduce phantom load in your home? Let’s break down some solutions room by room:

  • In the kitchen – Did you know your microwave uses more energy powering its clock than it does cooking food over the course of a year? Try putting your microwave and other smaller appliance on an outlet strip with a power switch to kill the juice when they are not in use.
  • In the living room – Your plasma screen and cable box are the big culprits here, but unplugging those devices may be inconvenient given their placement in the room. The solution? Try a smart power plug, which can turn off your electronics automatically at night, then restore power in the morning.
  • Home office – Most computers these days have “sleep” modes that work in both battery and power adapter settings; do a little research to understand how best to use these features. Consider powering down your computer (and printer!) before you go to bed, too – and when your laptop is finished charging, unplug the charger from the wall so doesn’t continually drain power.
  • Bedroom – Be on the lookout for plugged-in cell phone and other electronic chargers, as well as space heaters and air conditioning units that are not in use. Unplugging your alarm clock would be great, too, but isn’t always practical; however, alarm clocks in guest rooms, or in children’s rooms when they’re away at college, are fair game. The same goes for rarely used TVs, game consoles, DVD players and other electronics (anything with an LED display or power light).
  • Bathroom – Always unplug potential fire hazards such as hair dryers, straighteners and curling irons when you are not using them – it will save power, and potentially much more.

The bottom line

Always-on devices in your home are using energy and sucking up a significant amount of your hard-earned money in the process. But with a few simple adjustments, you can kill your vampires and become a smarter home energy user!

Want to find even more ways to save energy in your Connecticut home? Invest in a comprehensive energy audit from CMC Energy Services. Schedule an audit today and our expert technicians will install an average of $1,100 worth of energy-saving treatments – from LED lighting replacements to weatherization measures and more – for a one-time payment of just $149.*

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