Save You Money: Rid your home of energy vampires

Save You Money: Rid your home of energy vampires

POST FALLS, Idaho - A Dracula-like force is quietly sucking energy from your home and money from your wallet. It's vampire electronics, devices that, even when technically off, are still using power if plugged in.

Halloween came and went, but there's still something spooky in the Frickle family's Post Falls home: Vampires, and they're everywhere.

"The term vampire electronics is something uses power even when it is off," Tom Lienhard with Avista said.

Lienhard went through Eric and Nicole Frickle's home Monday looking for ways to cut energy waste.

"I don't think that is something that I thought about in the past., like when something is plugged in and it is off, to me it's off," Nicole Frickle said.

For example, Lienhard said some older boomboxes can draw close to 60 watts of power even when turned off. To put that into perspective, imagine a 60 watt light bulb on 24/7/365.

"It would probably be a ten, fifteen dollar cost to you in a year," Lienhard explained.

Not a huge figure, maybe, but imagine all the power suckers that are in your home.

"Over the course of a year, I am sure it would add up tremendously," Frickle said.

Lienhard did an audit of the Frickle home, starting in the bathroom with items Nicole keeps plugged in, such as a blow dryer, face scrubber and tooth brush charger, which draw around 10 watts constantly, the equivalent of an energy efficient light bulb being left on.

In the kitchen, a coffee grinder, brewer and a tea kettle are only drawing around three watts when powered off but add the Vitamix and that's another 10 watts of waste.

On to the entertainment center, which Lienhard called one of the worst offenders. The TV, wireless router, cable modem, and sound system are constantly drawing around 20 watts when powered off. Again, these aren't huge amounts by themselves, but this energy waste adds up very fast.

The simplest way to curb some of these power suckers is by unplugging them. Great for things like a sound system that maybe only gets fired up for movie nights or parties, but that's not always convenient for devices you use everyday.

One of the most useful fixes Lienhard shared was a smart power strip.

"If it sees your TV go off or at least drop power considerably, it will say 'I'll leave your DVR on so you can record but I am going to shut off the power to the audio system and everything else and those things won't take power from you while that's off," he said.

Avista has an arsenal of tips and tools like this to help you find savings and eliminate waste. Some are small changes that will cost you nothing and any piece of equipment you purchase will generally pay for themselves in energy savings within several months.