How the Grinch Steals Your Energy

If an appliance is on, you probably don’t give it much thought. It’s not costing you anything, right? For the moment, maybe not much. But over time, these energy grinches — appliances and electronic devices that use power even while switched off — can take up a lot of wattage, and those costs can really start to add up.

Here are some common energy grinches (also known as “energy vampires,” since they suck up so much of your power) that might be hiding in your home, and how to make sure they’re not stealing any extra energy.

Are Your Electronics Actually Off?

Even if you’re diligent about turning off your electronics when you aren’t using them, most devices still operate in standby mode, which consumes electricity. For example, to switch on your television with a remote, it has to keep an active sensor to receive signals at all times. Another good example is your laptop — even while asleep, it consumes power to maintain status lights, charge its battery, and perform other minor functions.

If your device is plugged in, it’s possible it’s still using energy. The solution? Plug your devices into a power strip, and then turn the switch off when they aren’t in use.

What Else Is Considered an Energy Grinch?

Now, keep in mind when we talk about these energy grinches, most electronic devices with a status light still on are probably using less than a single watt daily.

But there are a few real energy suckers to watch out for. The main offenders are cable TV boxes and DVRs. While they’ve gotten way better since their initial release, older models are infamous for their energy use. Combined, they can use about 50 watts of power around the clock. And that adds up quickly.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Most people tend to be concerned about phone chargers overusing energy, but the truth is they use very little, even when your phone is plugged in. So, if you’re already sweating over having to make sure every device is unplugged, don’t worry — this is one you can put out of mind.

Luckily, manufacturers have been working to protect you from energy grinches. As this problem becomes more understood, more and more electronics manufacturers have developed ways to create devices that use less electricity, even while switched off.

As you’re looking around your own home, pay special attention to older-model appliances — they’re the ones most likely to be costing you money. Newer models, especially those approved by ENERGY STAR, will be far more efficient.

Being mindful of the energy grinches in your home is a great way to save electricity while keeping a few extra dollars in your pocket. And if you’re looking for even more ways to make your home as energy-efficient as it can be, contact your energy advisor today.