Count Dracula might not be lurking around your home but energy vampires are.
1. What Are Energy Vampires
Energy vampires are behind the so-called standby power and phantom loads. The term refers to the energy used by appliances and electronics when they’re turned off or in standby mode.
According to Cornell University’s Department of Design and Environmental Analysis, vampire appliances cost an average of $200 a year in every household. This translates to literally throwing $200 out of the window. What’s even more striking is that according to the EPA, America could power 11 million homes with all this wasted energy.
Now, not all vampire devices are ‘bad’ as your wi-fi modem needs to work non-stop so you don’t miss an important email and your fridge needs to work 24/7 so you don’t get food poisoning but there are many other energy vampires you could combat. The coffee maker can be unplugged when it’s not in use, just like your microwave, laptop, TV, printer, and gaming console.
2. How To Slay Energy Vampires In Your Home and Other Energy Efficiency Tips
Although there are some energy vampires you cannot slay, there are many ways you can slay others and even reduce the power of those that you cannot beat, lowering your Centerpoint Energy bill along the way.
Install a smart thermostat
You can’t really turn a thermostat off but you can optimize it for maximum energy efficiency and installing a programmable thermostat is the way to do it. If you want to boost your savings, you can use ceiling fans that will allow you to raise the thermostat setting without compromising your comfort. You can also add thick curtains or blinds to add an additional ‘layer’ of insulation.
Even though you cannot unplug your fridge, you can get an energy-efficient one that will use much less energy. Energy Star appliances are proven to save energy, which can save you hundreds in electric costs.
Use power strips
Look for ways to consolidate plugs in common locations. You can choose from the classic format with a red button, a timer one that adheres to your schedule, a remote one, a master-controlled one, or a master-less one that turns off appliances based on load usage.
Adopt energy-efficient habits
Don’t peek in the oven when you are baking as every time you do that, the temperature drops, making your oven work harder to get back to the set temperature. Turn off the oven and stove a few minutes before cooking time comes to an end as the created heat will finish the job on its own, without electricity. Wash your clothes in eco-mode that uses colder water. Only turn on your computer and other devices when you need them. Turn off the lights when they’re not in use or even better, find interesting things to do in the dark. Lighting accounts for about 12% of a typical residential utility bill. Dress for the weather by wearing layers during winter and dressing as lightly as possible during summer to ease the burden on your HVAC as heating and cooling costs take the biggest chunk of your monthly bills.
Regularly maintain your devices
Poorly maintained devices work a lot harder to get the job done and use much more energy as a consequence. For example, defrost your refrigerator and freezer before ice buildup becomes 1/4-inch thick.
Strategically place your devices
Don’t put your refrigerator in a sunny spot as it will have to work much harder to stay cool. Avoid placing appliances that give off heat, such as lamps, near a thermostat.
For everything that you can flip the switch- make a habit of doing so. Your wallet and the planet will thank you for slaying as many energy vampires as you can. Besides ensuring they are plugged out once they are not in use, you could also forego some devices altogether: instead of playing with your console, you could play a board game, draw, paint or read a book!