Vampire electricity — the energy wasted while devices are plugged in, yet not turned on — is a very real drain on the power bill. From televisions to internet routers to phone chargers, there are several devices constantly adding extra dollars onto the monthly electricity rate. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates nearly 50 electronics in the standard American household continue to use power even when switched off. The accumulated electricity wasted annually in the U.S. is more than some developing nations actually use. Data suggests that Americans waste billions of dollars annually on wasted electricity — that’s billions with a “B.
” It’s not only a financial consequence either; electricity production is a major contributor to climate change, not to mention the millions of tons of e-waste created when consumers toss their old devices.
What About Smart Devices?
Investing in smarter devices improves efficiency in the home and often adds convenience. For example, many electric companies encourage consumers to install a smart thermostat, a wifi-enabled tool that leads to savings and a more comfortable living environment. But what about the Alexa in the corner, lurking for commands? Or the MacBook left charging near the desk, always in standby mode? While appliances and devices have undoubtedly grown more energy efficient, Americans also have way more of them.
Smart devices are convenient and often use less power, but Americans are adding more and more devices to the home and using them constantly.
Electricity Use on the Rise
Energy companies have witnessed increased power use over the decades — the average individual kilowatt use per hour, or kWh usage, has more than doubled since the 1960s. The U.S has some of the most affordable energy rates among affluent countries and boy, do Americans enjoy it. In Texas, the market allows homeowners to look at different energy providers, compare electricity rates and seek cheap electricity, which has exacerbated overall consumption. While Texas has some of the cheapest electricity rates, residents pay some of the highest energy bills because they use a larger amount of power relative to other states.
Tips That Work To Reduce Energy Bills
Household devices are wasting too much energy, but with the vast majority of Americans owning a smartphone and a laptop, it’s not the simplest issue to fix. Garlic won’t help with these vampires.
One of the easiest ways to prevent wasted energy and reduce your energy bill is to unplug devices when they’re not in use. However, this often disconnects smart devices from the internet connection, requires extra minutes to reboot, or restarts the clocks on appliances. Choose the battles to fight. A computer uses more electricity when left plugged in than a coffee pot, so unplug laptops whenever they’re fully charged. To be honest, leaving a phone charger plugged in all the time doesn’t drain too much energy, but a whole bunch of passively plugged-in devices could add up.
Employ smart power strips as much as possible; it’s easier to turn off one switch at once. When feasible, replace older appliances with new, more energy-efficient ones.
Take a minute to walk around the house and count how many little lights are on and active digital displays.
It’s likely more than expected and the wasted power is adding up.