This Halloween, be aware that the hungry little vampires who ring your doorbell aren't the only ones you need to fear. Energy vampires inside your home are sucking electricity right out of the wires-for no good reason.
Energy vampires are appliances and electronic devices that you leave plugged in when nobody is using them. Even though they're turned off, they still use small amounts of energy.
When you consider how many unused devices are plugged in around your home, their energy use can add up. In fact, they can add 10 percent or more to your monthly electric bill.
So when you turn something off, unplug it, too - unless it has to be on all the time, like the refrigerator. Here are three examples of devices that waste energy when they're plugged in but not in use:
- CHARGERS: You've got one for your phone, your tablet, your portable speaker, your iPod - and what else? Once the device is fully charged it continues to draw electricity as long as it's plugged in. And if you unplug the device the the charger but leave the charger plugged in, the charger continues to use - and waste - electricity.
- CABLE BOX: If you leave yours plugged in all the time for convenience, you're adding nearly $20 a year to your electric bill for energy you're not using.
- COMPUTERS: Your home office equipment, like the computer, printer and scanner, don't need to stay on all the time. Turn them off and unplug them when you're finished using them for the day.
Can't remember to unplug them? Plug several devices into a power strip instead of into a wall outlet. Power strips allow the user to cut power to multiple devices at once. And unplug anything you rarely use, like the TV in the basement or the old stereo you haven't turned on since you started downloading music.