That's a great a question: Energy vampires

Glad you asked. Read our answer.


Q: I’ve heard appliances use power even when they’re turned off. What uses the most?

Appliances or other electrical devices that sip energy even when you’re not using them are often called energy vampires — and if you’re not careful, they can increase your energy use.

Check the family room first

Entertainment devices are often the biggest culprits in many homes. These items may be using energy even when not in use:

  • Televisions
  • DVRs
  • Set-top cable or satellite boxes (especially older models)
  • Game consoles
  • Sound systems

Together, these items could add up to $100 or more in wasted energy costs for you every year.*

Look in your home office too

This is also a prime spot for energy vampires, including:

  • Computers
  • Monitors
  • Printers
  • Mobile phone or tablet chargers

Solution: Use smart power strips

Plug related items in to a power strip. When you’re done with the equipment, just switch off the power strip to turn off everything.

If you have a DVR, modem or other device that needs to stay on, choose a “smart” power strip, which has at least one outlet that stays on when the rest of the strip is turned off. Smart strips are available most places where power strips are sold.

Tip: Look for smart strips with surge protection to also prevent damage to sensitive equipment.

Watch this video to learn more

See our Switch Labs video Episode 4: Wattsferatu, where we measure the energy use of an entire house to see how much energy is wasted when items are not in use.

*Source: Switch Labs