The howls of ghosts and goblins may be fading memories now but another danger still lurks in your home. It usually strikes in the middle of the night sucking the energy from your home and slowly draining the money from your wallet while you sleep. No, it’s not your freeloading younger brother who needs a place to crash and who apparently hasn’t eaten in weeks. No, I’m talking vampire plugs. The term refers to appliances such as DVD players, computers, tv’s and their power plugs, and specifically battery chargers for things like phones, computers, and even your beloved cordless tools, which draw power when left plugged in. They may look innocuous but by some estimates these little imps can waste as much as 60% of the electricity they consume, the parallels with younger brothers grows stronger and stronger.
There are a couple of things you can do to prevent electrical suckage. First, unplug these little monsters when not in use. I know that’s terribly obvious, but if you’ve ever spent any phone time with tech assist you know the obvious things are asked first. Also, pay attention to your phones and other electronics. Many new ones indicate when they are fully charged. By unplugging them and their chargers you’ll be saving yourselves quite a bit of money over the long haul. If you have electrical sockets linked to switches turn off the switch before you go to bed and then turn it back on after you wake up. This will minimize the hours over night that power is being pulled. Finally, if the manual unplugging method sounds like the pain in the a$$ it is, you can get a socket timer, like the ones Belkin makes. These plugs into you existing socket and have a timer that you can set that will kill the flow of electricity once the time has passed. It’s an extra piece to buy but can certainly save energy.
Or if you live in California you won’t have to worry about it. In January of 2012 the California Energy Commission passed (unanimously) regulations on these chargers. These regulations require manufacturers to include energy saving mechanisms in the chargers. This will drive the cost of these chargers up but should offset the cost with energy saved. I will make no comments on whether or not regulations like these are good or bad, but suffice it to say it’s a new regulation that should save lots of electricity but will also cost the consumer some more money upfront. California will probably not be alone for long as other states and possibly the Department of Energy look into similar regulations. Either way, these electronics have the capacity to kill your kilowatt usage; thus causing your electricity bills to be no higher than necessary. No garlic or holy water needed. You can find the Belkin Conserve Energy-Saving Outlet for around $10 on Amazon.