It’s night time. You’re tucked up in bed. It’s dark, quiet and peaceful. But unbeknownst to you, vampire power is draining energy from all around your home. Sounds spooky!
Actually… it’s less exciting than it sounds. Vampire power is just a more interesting term for the power being used by your appliances when they are left on standby. And it’s not garlic or a wooden stake which will ward off this vampire, just some good habits to minimise your energy use.
Switching off and unplugging your appliances more often when they’re not in use will save you money on your energy bills – around £30 a year according to Energy Saving Trust. And if more and more people get on board with eliminating vampire power they won’t just save energy but the planet too!
The Main Culprits
Appliances with brightly lit consoles like modern washing machines and tumble dryers are also power drainers. It’s the work of a moment to switch them off after each cycle.
Chargers for laptops, mobile phones, tablets, and even electric toothbrushes still use a little power when the device is fully charged and even when they’ve not got the device connected. Overcharging a rechargeable battery is really bad for it – over time it’ll get less efficient, eventually losing the ability charge altogether – so avoiding overcharging is win-win for your electronics and your energy use.
Ways To Save Energy
Unplugging appliances when you’re not using them is the most effective way to save energy. But we know it can be inconvenient to go around switching everything off before you go to sleep in the evening or in the mornings before you head off to work (especially if you’re running late)! Extension leads make it easier to cut the power to your appliances. It’s handy to be able to turn off multiple appliances at once and you can put the leads in easy to reach places too.
You can also save energy by charging smarter and maximise the life of your mobile or laptop battery at the same time. Charge your devices for a couple of hours in the evenings rather than overnight and unplug your chargers afterward.
When buying new appliances take energy usage into account when making your choice. A more energy-efficient machine may cost a little more to buy but will cost less to run over the course of its life so it may well work out cheaper overall. Look into standby power usage as well as the power the machine uses whilst it’s running.
What Not to Turn Off
It’s probably more trouble than it’s worth to unplug appliances like ovens or digital clock radios that need the time resetting whenever they’re switched back on. It’s a pain enough having to do this if there’s a power cut or the clocks go back.
To make your home more energy-efficient and eco-friendly just ask yourself one question when you’ve finished using each appliance – does this need to stay on? If the answer’s no, you know what to do.