Six Hacks for Cutting Down on Invisible Energy Drain in your Home
Jan 06, 2017
Written by Ashley Leach

Did you know you have vampires in your house? No, not the sparkling, angst-ridden teenaged ones, or dark and sinister ancient ones – these frightening vampires feed off of the energy in your home, slowly draining away your dollars and cents without you noticing.

Garlic won’t help, and neither will a stake and mallet, but you can cut these vampires off at their path by identifying their haunts and ridding your home of access points. After all, a vampire denied entry has to vacate.

Turn off the Set-Top Boxes!

According to the National Resources Defense Council, just two DVRs in a home can rival the energy use of a refrigerator. The 160 million cable or satellite boxes in the US run at full power almost constantly, racking up a national power cost of over $3 billion per year and using the power production of nine coal run plants. Solution? Plug the TV, cable box, and everything else into a power strip, and turn it off when you go to bed. Turn it on the following evening when the shows you want to record will be coming on (allowing 30 minutes for the menu to reload and the box to reset.)2

Same Goes for Computers…

Your computer, monitor, printer, external hard drive and even wired mouse and keyboard also can slowly suck power in sleep mode. Again, plug everything into a power strip (one with a surge protector) and turn everything off when not in use. Each piece of equipment can pull between 20 - 40 watts even when idle, and over the course of a year this can add up.

Wireless Devices? Ditto.

Constantly having to charge phones, laptops, tablets, and music playing devices is another way to drain your homes energy. Turn off your phone when it’s not being used, keep that landline for emergency midnight phone calls, and buy a cheap battery operated alarm clock instead of keeping your devices on all night.

Check the Kitchen

Do you really need that half a dozen little glowing digital clocks in your kitchen? Unplug the microwave when not in use, and the coffee maker too. If you like a light when you get up in the middle of the night for a drink of water, consider installing a low wattage lamp you can keep on that won’t use a lot of energy.

Invest in Timers

Small digital timers set to turn on devices can allow for times when you aren’t at home or are asleep and need something to happen on schedule. You can also use them to regulate your thermostat, keeping the heat on low and cranking it up a half hour before you come home from work.

Use your Dryer Energy Settings

Most new dryers have a moisture sensor and will automatically turn off when clothing is dry. Consider using this setting instead of the timer setting, and you might be surprised at how much less time your clothes actually take to dry compared with your expectations.

You can save big on your utility costs (the National Resources Defense Council estimates anywhere from $400 to $1100 per year) by showing these energy vampires the door. Start saving today!

 

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Ashley Leach

Ashley Leach is a freelance writer and digital content marketer with a background in journalism, digital reporting, and marketing for numerous industries. She's found her perfect fit at North American Power in writing about home maintenance and repairs, energy efficiency, and smart home technology.