"Vampire energy" is a colloquial phrase used to describe electronics, gadgets, or appliances in the home that use energy and power even when they are not in use. A large number of these devices have passive or active standby modes that can have a huge unnecessary draw on power, and cause a large increase in one's monthly electric bill. It is important to identify sources of vampire energy and make necessary changes to save power and money.
Many electric companies will come in to one's home, either for free or for a small fee, and identify sources of vampire energy. It is very possible to identify these sources on one's own, however. Plan to take half an hour to an hour one day and walk around the home.
One very common source of vampire energy is chargers for electronic devices such as cameras, cell phones, or MP3 players. People often leave these chargers plugged in all the time, even when they are not actively charging a device. The chargers then continue to suck energy. One simple fix for this is to plug each charger into a power strip with an on/off switch; when the chargers are not being used, simply flip the power strip off.
Electronic devices such as printers, televisions, DVD players, or DVRs often have active standby modes that allow the device to quickly switch on. These are often indicated by a small red power light that remains on even when the device is turned off. Unplugging these devices when not in use, or again, plugging them into a power strip with an on/off switch, can be a great way to save energy.
Appliances are another common source of vampire energy. Many homes keep an extra refrigerator or freezer in the garage or basement; if this appliance is filled with food, it is generally fine, but if there are only one or two items in it, it can be a huge energy-sucking source. Determine if the appliance is really needed, or if it is necessary to leave it plugged in all year long. Many garages and basements get quite warm in the summer, causing the appliance to work much harder than it needs to in order to keep the food cold.
Other sources of vampire energy might include things such as light bulbs or outdated air conditioners. Replacing these with new energy-efficient models can help to save money, as well as using fans to supplement an air conditioner. Identifying all of these sources of vampire energy and making changes can save a household hundreds of dollars a year on electric bills.