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Save Money by Reducing Your Vampire Power | Don't Ever Look Back

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Save Money by Reducing Your Vampire Power

Save Money by Reducing Your Vampire Power

This is a guest post by Ryan Gargiulo of Pause The Moment. Ryan is a travel blogger, wannabe photographer, wordpress ninja, aspiring minimalist, professional bargain hunter, adventure seeker, rabid fan of lifestyle design and self-proclaimed world traveler who has been fortunate enough to be able to travel to over 22 countries across 4 continents and he’s just getting warmed up…

Standby Mode

Keeping your devices on standby power can use an extra $50-$80 a month in electricity!

Did you know that you could save money this month by simply unplugging your household appliances and devices each night?

Vampire power, more commonly known as “standby power” refers to the amount of electric power that is being used by appliances and other electronic devices when they are either switched off, or in standby mode.

Some devices have a standby power that can run up to 10 to 15 watts, sometimes more. Now let’s face it, 10 to 15 watts of power isn’t much but when you’ve got a half-dozen devices that are just wasting away on standby every night you’ve now got yourself the equivalent of a 60-watt bulb!

Many household appliances such as VCR’s, televisions, stereos, computers, and kitchen appliances all draw a small amount of power even when they are switched OFF. Most people think that because they switch off their bedside lamps that there’s no possible way that there would be any power running to it. Well, you’re WRONG!

Understandably, running around unplugging things each and every night would be a daunting task so I’ve got an extremely simple and cost-effective solution for you below.

Head on out to your local big-box store and pick up a bunch of power strips! You can usually find these handy little things at your local Walmart for less than $10! The use of power strips in your home will not only save you a ton of time, but it will also cut the power to all of your electronics with one easy click of a button.

We’ve set up numerous power strips in our home since finding out the massive amounts of wasted energy that we were going through month after month. Every device that didn’t necessarily need to be running over night in our home was plugged into a power strip. Since putting this plan into action over two years ago we have cut anywhere between $50 and $80 per month off our electricity bill.

We have saved so much energy that we receive monthly Home Energy Reports from National Grid (our electricity company) letting us know that we’ve used up to 44%, 46%, and even 55% less energy than our EFFICIENT neighbors.

Don’t believe me? Well, I’m going to prove it to you by showing you one of the many Home Energy Reports that we’ve received over the course of the last couple of years. See the reports below.

Remember, we’re not talking about being 46% less than our neighbors as a whole, we’re talking 46% less than our EFFICIENT neighbors! That’s some serious energy-saving.

As you can see in the second report above, over the course of the last 12 months we’ve used 51% less energy than our neighbors as a whole. National Grid claims our savings for the year cashes in at around $983.00.

Are you currently battling high electric bills in your home? Do yourself a favor and make an attempt at installing a few power strips in your home. It could put an extra $500-900/year in your pocket. Why give your money away to the electric company when you could be using it for better things, like Traveling!

If you are currently using these energy-saving techniques in your home, feel free to leave a comment below with a rough estimate of how much you’ve saved on your electric bills over the last year or two. Also, feel free to share with us any other energy-saving methods you may have.

Flickr Photos: functoruser, Surat Lozowick


  1. Posted February 14, 2011 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    I’ve read this before, but not the suggestion about plugging everything into energy strips. Makes great sense!

    • Posted February 14, 2011 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

      Yes, the key part is the energy strips. This will save you a ton of time and aggravation. Thanks for the feedback.

  2. Posted February 14, 2011 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    This is a great idea! We’re already implementing this mostly because — well, because we have always been doing this. Not sure how much money we save but every little bit helps when you’re trying to save up for a trip!
    Jill recently posted..7 Reasons to Travel With Your Significant Other

    • Posted February 14, 2011 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Jill! I’m so glad to hear that you’re already implementing this money saving technique. Most people either haven’t thought of it, or don’t want to put the effort into making a slight change in their lives. Admittedly, it’s tough at first!
      Ryan recently posted..Traveling to Cape Town on a Shoestring

  3. Posted February 14, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    My dad is always on my case with turning off my lights. Sometimes, I just forget to shut off my light when I leave my room (thought is that I’ll return, but then I get so easily distracted and then don’t), haha. Houses/apartments these days should have built in room sensors to turn on lights when someone enters a room and then turn them off if someone forgets upon leaving.

    • Posted February 15, 2011 at 3:20 am | Permalink

      Your father is a smart man! You’re right, there should be sensors in rooms but it’s not just the lights that need to be turned off…

  4. Posted February 15, 2011 at 2:38 am | Permalink

    Kudos! This is one the most informative posts I’ve read in a long time. Hey, I actually learned something!

    • Posted February 19, 2011 at 1:48 am | Permalink

      Thanks so much Lindsay! So glad you enjoyed my post…

  5. Posted February 15, 2011 at 4:12 am | Permalink

    I will never reduce my vampire power!!

    Oh wait… we’re talking about electricity? I’m totally with you on that one. 😉 Living in an RV has made us very aware of every tiny bit of electricity we use, as our batteries aren’t super great and we have to save all the power we can for our laptops. We don’t pay for electricity directly, but when we’re not plugged in somewhere it definitely rules our life!
    Christy recently posted..Photo Essay- Everglades National Park

    • Posted February 16, 2011 at 11:29 am | Permalink

      Haha Christy! I would love to do an RV trip some time. Sounds like a blast! Thanks for weighing in.

  6. Posted February 15, 2011 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

    Hey, great idea! We switch appliances off at the wall when we’re not using them, and have a pretty low energy bill, but it’d be interesting to see if the strips mean even LESS power used!

    Happy travels!!
    Red Nomad OZ recently posted..7 Days on the Southern Yorke Peninsula- South Australia

  7. Posted February 16, 2011 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    Nice tip! Will make me feel like I have OCD, but saving money is the goal 🙂
    Brooke, WhyGo Austra recently posted..How to Get to Broken Hill from Sydney

    • Posted February 16, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

      OCD! Too funny. That’s where the power strips come in… you’ll feel a little less OCD for sure.

  8. Dianne
    Posted March 12, 2011 at 5:24 am | Permalink

    One note of caution in using power strips: Make sure you buy UL listed surge protectors, not just plain power strips without surge protection. Otherwise, you could be jeopardizing your electronics in the event of a power surge or lightning strike.
    Also, be aware that when you turn off the power strip to shut off the plugged in items, you’re turning off the surge protection.

    One nifty alternative to a regular surge protector is a device known as an “advanced power strip”, or “smart power strip”. These are surge protectors, but instead of you having to manually turn the strip off to shut off the phantom power drain, the power strip automatically shuts off the phantom power drain for you — while still providing surge protection. They work well for computer workstations and entertainment center set-ups. You plug your computer or TV into the “control outlet”, and all of your peripherals (printer, monitor, VCR, game stations, etc.) into the “switched outlets”. When you turn off your computer or TV, the power strip automatically shuts off all power to the peripherals — eliminating their phantom energy drain, while still providing surge protection to everything.
    In Massachusetts, National Grid, NSTAR, and many other utilities are offering their customers a $10 instant rebate on these advanced power strips. Check out justunplugit.com for more info. (Sorry about the commercial, but these really will save energy and money, and the utilities really do want people to take advantage of the rebate.)

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