How To Stop Vampire Power Drains and Save Energy


Vampire power refers to the electricity used by appliances and electronics when they are in stand-by mode or even turned off. The electricity wasted on devices even when they are not in use could account for 5 to 30 percent of your electricity bill. You can cut the vampire power drained from your electrical outlets and stop money draining from your pocket.

  • Unplug any devices that you don't use very often from the wall socket. These could be appliances in infrequently used rooms or devices you only use on occasion for a short time. The clock on the microwave that you only check when changing the time twice a year is costing you money!

  • For electronics that you want to easily be able to switch on, plug the cords into a surge protector. This way all you have to do is flip a switch on the power strip to turn on the device.

  • When charging your small electronic devices like cell phones, iPods, even your electric toothbrush, only plug in the charger long enough to complete the charge. Once the charge is complete, unplug the recharger from the outlet. If unplugging and plugging things in is inconvenient, follow step 2 and plug all of your rechargers into one surge protector. This way when you want to recharge devices you can just flip the switch on to charge and then off when done.

  • Some electronics come with two power switches, so even if you think they are off, they can still be draining power. For example, desktop computers have the power switch on the front that lights up when on and then the main power switch on the back. To stop these types of devices from drawing vampire power, shut off the main switch when not in use.

  • One of the greatest sources of vampire power drain is electronics with peripheral devices such as your computer or entertainment system. When your computer is shut down, you would not be using the monitor, speakers etc., but they are still drawing electricity in stand-by mode. The way to stop this type of vampire power is with a Smart Strip. With a Smart Strip the status of the main device controls the power to the peripheral devices. For instance, you would plug your computer's CPU into the master and the monitor, cable modem etc. into the slave outlets of the smart strip. When the CPU is shut down, all of the peripherals are also shut down and no longer drawing electricity. The same could apply to your TV as the main device with peripherals such as DVD player, cable box etc. If needed, the Smart Strip also has an outlet for devices that you don't want to power down completely such as DVR or TiVo boxes.

  • On a larger scale, to stop vampire power consider buying Energy Star qualified products when replacing your old appliances or electronics. Energy Star qualified electronics not only have reduced electricity demands when in use, but also when in stand-by mode.

Tips & Warnings

  • Unplug electrical devices when not in use.
  • Use surge protectors for convenience.
  • Use Smart Strips for peripheral devices.
  • Photo Credit Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images
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