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Energy Vampires

Energy vampires never sleep.

Save energy and money by unplugging gadgets you aren't using.

Slay energy vampires and save

What is an energy vampire? An energy vampire is a device that continues to use energy and drain power, even when it is turned off. They lurk in your home, taking the form of phone chargers and cable boxes, computer cords and coffee pots. These phantom energy suckers can account for as much as 20% of your monthly electricity bill. What is the quickest way to slay an energy vampire? As simple as it sounds, all you need to do is identify the culprits and unplug them.

Identifying Energy Vampires

Two common examples of energy vampires are "bricks" and "wall warts":
wall wart

A wall wart is a device, such as a cellphone charger, that has a large plug. Left plugged in, it consumes energy even when it's not being used.


A brick is a large black box that is often found on cords used with laptop computers, televisions and some cable TV equipment. Left plugged in, these bricks use energy continuously.

Other examples of energy vampires include:

  • Cable/satellite boxes
  • Digital TV converters
  • DVR, VCR, DVD players
  • Mobile/cellular devices
  • MP3 players
  • Video game consoles
  • Standby coffee makers
  • Devices that turn on instantly via remote control
  • Devices with standby light or clock

Controlling Energy Vampires

In addition to unplugging energy vampires, you can also control them. Consider the following tips:

  • Use power strips. Plug wall warts and bricks into power strips, and turn them off when not needed. Use smart power strips to make it even easier. Smart power strips automatically cut off power when devices are not in use.
  • Unplug devices you don’t use often. While this may not be a smart tactic for your alarm clock, if you have devices in your home that you don't use very often — such as a second television set, stereo or DVD player — consider keeping them unplugged during times that they are not in use.
  • Put it to sleep. Curb idle time by making use of the energy-saving features — such as sleep mode —that are commonly built into computers.
  • Consider your options. When it comes time to replace old or broken devices, choose products that are more energy efficient and have a lower than average standby consumption rate.

While none of these strategies will eliminate your electric bill, together, these steps can help you slay energy vampires and save money.

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