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Unplug these energy vampires and save money

Turn Off Vampire Electronics and Save Money

Updated on April 20, 2021

 Personal Finance

Five percent doesn’t sound like much, does it? If we told you that you could save five percent on your utility bill, you may or may not get enthusiastic about the prospect. Surveys have shown that most people don’t respond to low percentage numbers in terms of savings (when was the last time your favorite retailer had a 5% off sale? Typically 20% is the minimum that marketers have shown will catch the consumer’s eye). But the truth is, when it comes to savings, especially savings on repeated expenditures, that five percent can become a pretty significant amount.

What do we mean buy this? Well, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has found that up to five percent of the electricity you use is consumed by electronics in “standby” mode. Your appliances - your TV, stove, dishwasher, DVR, even your hairdryer - use electricity to maintain things like internal clocks, external lighting (such as a power indicator light. When did it become necessary to have a power indicator light to tell you your TV was off?), or other functions.

These are the so-called ‘vampire’ electronics that pull electricity from the grid even when they are in the ‘off’ position. Take a look at your television. Does it have a green light to indicate when it’s on and a red light to indicate when it’s off? Does this seem like something we need? Most of us can tell when our TV is on or off. Ironically, most of these appliances that have screens also have a ‘power saving’ screensaver mode, supposedly to reduce electrical usage.

So back to the five percent; if you could shut off these appliances each night - and we mean truly shut them off - you could save five percent off your utility bill. Now before you go and forget to get excited over a measly five percent (we understand, it doesn’t sound like much to us either), consider the idea if your bill is around $150.00 a month, you would be saving $8.50. That’s two large mocha lattes right there!

But in all seriousness, you’re looking at $64.00 a year in savings, and again, that’s based on a utility bill of $150.00 per month. That’s not a bad chunk of change just for shutting off the appliances when they’re not in use.

So, your question is, “how do I shut off my appliances, and I mean really shut them off so they don’t use electricity in standby mode”? Well, for things like the washing machine or the dishwasher, that would take some handiwork; you can install switches for those and set them on timers to shut off at night. However, for your TV, DVR, computer, cell phone charger, etc. Chances are you already have those hooked to a switch.

A lot of people (wisely) buy surge protectors for their electronic equipment, but many forget there are manual switches on just about every one of those protectors. Essentially, all you have to do is plug most of your electronics into a surge protector and shut it off at night. The practicality in doing this is, of course, entirely up to you.

We’re constantly looking to save you money any way we can, even if it’s just 5%! If you’re having trouble paying the electric bill this month, come see us at CASH 1 to get a loan online.