The Electric Bill Battle

Kelly Ann Butterbaugh

Every month I open the electric bill and accept it with quiet discontent. However, this month the bill was too high to ignore. I stepped away from my desk and took a 360 degree look around my home. What did I see? A giant electric sucking vortex of wasted energy. I immediately blamed the seven-year-old light flicking, TV viewing, aquarium owning member of the family. However, he was not the only one to blame. With him in tow, I decided to single-handedly battle the unnecessary use of electric in our home.

Battling Standby Power

It didn't take long for us to adapt our power consumption. Only a quick talk to my son informed him of the problems with leaving lights on when not in the room, and he's now the Power Policeman of the house. However, the electric still continued to seep into my home, but from where?

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Standby power is the culprit. When appliances are off but plugged in, many of them still drain power. While the consumption is much less than when the appliance is turned on, it still pulls a few watts at a time for nothing. Yet, I wasn't ready to turn into my grandmother who unplugs everything from her toaster to her lamps when they're not in use. Her electric consumption is admirable, but I'm not that devoted.

Indicators of standby power vampires are easy to spot. These features often pull electric even when the appliances are off:

  • a large box power adapter on the power cord or plug

  • an appliance or power cord that feels warm even when the product is turned off

  • anything cordless that has a recharging base (it pulls electric whether the battery is fully charged or not)

  • appliances that have a standby light on them

The only solution to completely eliminate this electric pull during down times is to unplug the items or to plug them into power strips and flick the power switch off.

Where Can I Save?

Unplugging some of these devices doesn't stop the electric seepage. There are other accessories that increase the usage of each appliance. Think about your surge protectors and power strips. Each one pulls a bit of electric when the red light is on. Consider shutting down your computer equipment at night and flicking off the surge protector. While the protector is made to protect electrical surges from ruining your equipment, the closed circuit created when the equipment is off protects it just as well. With the equipment turned off and the surge protector turned off, severe surges have a fraction of a chance to hurt your equipment.

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Who Are the Main Culprits?

Types of electronics lend themselves to standby power usage more than others. It's safe to assume that all of these electronics pull some power whether on or off:

  • microwaves
  • video game consoles
  • flat screen and plasma televisions
  • audio and video equipment (look for the standby indicators)
  • cordless phones
  • laptop chargers (whether the laptop is plugged in to the cord or not)
  • light and motion sensing lamps
  • digital displays
  • surge adaptor strips and plugs

February 16, 20110 found this helpful

Wow! This really opened up my eyes, especially since I had just opened my electric bill a few minutes before reading this and cringing. I'm taking a look around myself now. Thanks for the info.

Becky

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ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes
February 16, 20110 found this helpful

I think I need to walk around the house and start unplugging now. Not sure how much it will save, though.

ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes
February 18, 20110 found this helpful

I have purchased a wonderful thing to help with vampyric electricity.

Its a Belkin remote controlled power strip.

You put the remote next to next to the light switch and when you go to bed, you flip the switch and push the remote and it turns off all power to the items are plugged into the strip, and designated to get no power when the remote is off. We have all of our electronics for our TV center plugged in, and the only thing that gets to keep power is the DVR when we shut off the strip.

it has made a huge gap in our power bill.

We also have unplugged everything int he house we don't use on a daily basis. (lamps/clocks/tv/s in guest rooms).

ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes
February 21, 20120 found this helpful

I hate getting the electric bill, and now I am going to do an audit of electricity vampirism as well.

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July 14, 20150 found this helpful

Our electric bill was so high last month that we had to miss a mortgage payment to pay the electric bill! I now go around unplugging everything I can. But it's getting worse and worse, everything is going up! Actually considering selling my house and getting a "tiny" house or Trailer home! Sad!

ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

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