Kill Energy Vampires and Reduce Standby Power Usage

It’s National Vampire Power Awareness Day! Do you know what vampire power is? You don’t know what that is? Neither did I until Michelle Hsu contacted me to let me know that Best Buy had declared October 30, 2008 National Vampire Power Awareness Day in an effort to help consumers be aware of and reduce energy consumption.

Vampire Power is the energy used by appliances when they’re turned off or in standby mode. Michelle gave me some interesting statistics as to how much energy the U.S. actually uses when appliances are turned off.

For instance:

  • Forty percent of all electronic and appliance power is consumed when they are shut off.
  • The average American home has approximately 20 to 40 electronics plugged in that abuse vampire power.
  • Roughly $4 billion annually across the United States is spent on electricity lost to “vampire power,” according to the International Energy Agency.

Now those are some scary statistics! I’ll admit that I use way too much vampire power. I am notorious for not turning my computers (yes, that’s plural) off at night, and I don’t unplug my small appliances at night either.

Best Buy suggests plugging all appliances into a power strip and unplugging the power strip at night to make it easier to conserve power. They also suggest unplugging chargers (such as cell phone and battery chargers) when not in use.

So I’m up for the challenge! How about you? Will you make an effort to reduce the vampire power you use today? And every day?

Photo by Uriel 1998.


By , on Oct 30, 2008
Lynnae McCoy I'm Lynnae, wife of one and stay-at-home mom of two. I'm committed to getting out of debt by being frugal with my choices in life.


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  1. I’m up for it. We don’t have a lot of plugged in appliances but there is the tv, vcr, computer, etc. I have enough power strips to turn them all off.

  2. We put our desk area and TV area both on power strips, along with changing all our lightbulbs and noticed a very significant difference in our bill. It’s annoying to power down the computer every night, but worth it. I feel like I’m doing my part as a responsible consumer and teaching my daughter good habits from the beginning. Like David said, it’s a win-win.

  3. Rob in Madrid:

    Yes the video is quite corny but it gets the point across.

    Quick question what about kitchen appliances? The toaster coffee maker kettle, don’t they have Off Switches built right in?

  4. Very interesting. Some tips that I never thought about. I knew that products with the energy star symbol on it were much more efficient when turned off, but I didn’t think about the cell phone charger. That video was a little corny, but I guess it got the point across.

  5. Kate:

    great post.
    I am a great advocate for turning things off not left on stnadby.

    There are even products now that you can buy that you plug everything into and then you use a remote to turn them off. However they are a little pricy. Our only hope is that the manufacturers develope electronics that use no power when in standby. I know the technology exists, its just about rolling it out.

  6. caryn verell:

    had to start putting everything on power strips years ago cause everytime there was a storm we would get zapped….lost too many tvs, and phones from lightning.

  7. Marci:

    Here at the edge of the world, the local power company calls it “Phantom Power”, but it would be the same thing. Just no vampire teeth to it.

    I’m good at unplugging the phone charger, mainly because I need to plug in the hair dryer :)

    The unused TV and VCR/Dvd player are unplugged.

    That just leaves the computer and accessories, which are already in a power strip – I’m getting better about it, but not great.

    The microwave has to be reset every time the power is off before it will microwave, so that’s a hassle to unplug.

    There’s just nothing else in the house that stays plugged in, except for the nightlights – and they are light activated and I need them on if I come home in the dark, which will start very soon here!

    I think because my highest electric bill has only been $45 that I don’t have a lot to worry about.

  8. That is pretty sweet. Your one statistic about how devices use 40% of their power when turned off means that there is an easy way to cut down on electricity costs by 40% – be willing to unplug your devices. It might be hassle, but a 40% savings is probably worth it.

  9. Just turning off the power strip cuts all the power, you don’t even need to unplug it! Once we switched all of our computers, stereos, TV and kitchen stuff to appliances, we really started saving some money each month. Also, it reduces the amount of power our power companies need to make, which reduces the amount of pollution they emit. It’s a win-win for everyone.

  10. Angelsong:

    A very timely post. I do use power strips, and will definitely be flipping the switch to off, and unplugging when not in use.

  11. Wow, this is pretty neat! I make sure I unplug all appliances, like my blender, phone charger, etc. I also put my computer to go to “sleep mode” after 10 minutes of no activity. I would love to get a laptop but that’s more money I would spend! :)

  12. Christina:

    I’m def. taking the challenge! She also contacted me with information about National Vampire Awareness Day. I just wrote my post :)

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