February 28, 2024

The everyday appliance with a ‘vampire’ load that costs you $20 in extra bills even if you’re not using it

The everyday appliance with a ‘vampire’ load that costs you $20 in extra bills even if you’re not using it

PLENTY of appliances around your home are hiking your electricity bill even when you’re not using them.

This is because of their so-called “vampire” or “phantom” load, which sucks energy from just being plugged in.

Your TV will add to your energy bill even when you're not watching it


Your TV will add to your energy bill even when you’re not watching itCredit: Getty

The worst one, according to Arizona utility company SRP, is your TV.

The general rule of thumb is that instant-on TVs, which include LED, LCD and rear projection devices, are the worst.

Larger screens use more energy too.

According to the company, a 52″ to 65″ rear projection TV has an average consumption standby mode of 186 kWh.

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This, in turn, could cost the average household $18.67 per year.

If you have a 50″ plasma TV, you can expect it to cost you $14.56 in added bills from its vampire load, SRP added.

Of course, if you have more than one TV, expect this cost to rise and be aware that energy prices will vary by state and providers too.

It’s also important to note that newer devices may have a lower phantom load.

One common exception is if they have “instant on” or “quick start” modes like many smart TVs, however.

According to the Department of Energy, vampire appliances and electronics account for 10% of energy used in an average home.

You can identify energy vampires around your home by checking for an external power supply, a remote control, a continuous display (including an LED), such as a clock or if it charges batteries.

It’s important to be aware of them as they could hike your bills by hundreds of dollars a year.

Devices that are always on but inactive may cost Americans $19billion and 50 power plants’ worth of electricity every year, according to a study by the Natural Resources Defense Council.

How to reduce your phantom load

Apart from unplugging the device, there are a few other actions to take to reduce your energy bills.

  • Plug devices into a power strip, or consider installing a whole-house switch that remotely turns off controlled outlets with the single flip of a switch
  • Plug them into a timer
  • Adjust power settings on devices such as TVs, computers and game consoles
  • Purchase ENERGY STAR-labeled equipment wherever possible: they have requirements to minimize idle load (low standby power, auto power down), in addition to using lower power in active mode

We’ve rounded up the full list of vampire appliances in our guide.

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To further slash your utility bill, see if you qualify for Verizon’s free internet service initiative.

And check out this financial expert’s creative advice to save up to $75 each month on streaming subscriptions.