I’m not sure about you, but once October hits, it’s time to start thinking about planning for one of my favorite holidays of the year: Halloween. It’s not every day that we get to dress up looking like whatever we want and not get weird looks for it.
Kids are happily roaming neighborhoods, adults like to have fun with it, and of course, there are plenty of haunted hayrides to attend. But, did you know that some of your household devices are always dressed for the occasion? These gadgets are called “vampires.” Much like a real one, vampire devices have a way of slowly taking all the electricity from your home whether they are “on,” “off,” or in “standby” mode.
Yikes! Think of all the electronics you have in your home that stay in standby mode when not in use? In that state, they may be considered “off” but are still sucking electricity. I can think of a couple that I have in my own room: my laptop and digital picture frame. From there, the list goes on as you explore your own house. For now, we will take a look at some of the most popular vampire devices so you’ll be more aware of what exactly could be lurking in your bedroom at night. Fear not, there are solutions.
If you have a plasma TV, you may want to think of upgrading to a more energy efficient kind, such as a LED TV. The reason? Plasma screens suck up A LOT of electricity—they’re not very efficient. Even if you watch TV for four hours per day, the screen is still using electricity during the other 20 when it’s turned off.
Even though you might turn off your cable box when you’re not using it (emphasis on the might—because let’s face it, most of us don’t), it’s still using power when you’re asleep…24/7 in fact. The displays of channel numbers don’t just magically appear there; rather they require light (which consumes electricity) for illumination, along with other internal parts that are always energized. As outlined in this article, cable boxes are certainly not energy efficient and are one of the top consumers of electricity in your home. By unplugging the box when the TV is not in use, you have the potential to save a lot of that hard-earned cash.
When I supposedly “turn off” my DVD player, a little red light appears to let me know that it’s off, as opposed to a green light when it’s on. However, it’s not really off because the light is on. Does that make sense? Power is still flowing into the DVD player because if it weren’t, the light wouldn’t still be on. Most DVD players only get used once in a while anyways, so when you’re not using it, unplug the darn thing! You can easily plug it back in the next time you want to watch The Notebook for the millionth time.
Laptop or Desktop Computers
Whoa. I know it may be hard to believe, but there are actually some times during the day/night that we aren’t using our computers…GASP! I didn’t know it was possible. When a desktop computer is left on all day, the screen may go black, however the computer is still working to power all the applications and programs that are running in the background. Even on “sleep” mode it’s still using energy. And, when it’s plugged in charging all night? That’s unnecessary power that it’s using. Be smart about how you take care of your computers – it’s best just to shut them down when you’re not using them.
This is another big one. Along with the DVD player, there is still a green light illuminated when you turn your X-Box off (red for a PlayStation). As I said above, it takes electricity to make it light up. When you think you’re turning game consoles off, think again. They’re actually just in standby mode. To fully turn it off and stop power from flowing to it, hit the other off-switch, usually located on the back of the device.
Cell Phone Chargers
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. When your cell phone is plugged in for hours on end, it’s not only damaging the phone, but it’s wasting electricity as well. Furthermore, when the phone isn’t plugged into the charger, it’s still using electricity. In this case, it’s best to just unplug the charger from the wall when you’re not using it to charge your phone.
Don’t be too fearful of these vampires, though. If we band together and take action against them, we WILL succeed. To prevent our homes from further attacks, get into the habit of unplugging these things. Buying a power strip will also do you some good, too. That way, you’ll only have to flip one switch instead of dealing with multiple cords. Also…garlic.