What’s wasting energy in your home right now?

Jen Barton, Earth Notes columnist

Have you ever heard of vampire power?  It is the energy used by electronics even when they are not actually on.
Virtually all of your electronics are sucking up energy even if they’re turned off or not being used. Some of the biggest culprits include your TV, computer and printer. Even your electric toothbrush is drawing energy when it’s plugged in and sitting idle.
On its own, the vampire power used by one device might seem miniscule, but collectively it amounts to more than $4 billion a year of wasted energy here in the United States.
The easiest, and most obvious thing you can do is get up right now and unplug whatever you’re not using. Here are some candidates: Your hand-held vacuum in its charging station, power drills, automatic coffeemakers, the DVD player you haven’t used in nearly a decade, that TV that’s collecting dust in the guest room, or maybe that nearly empty refrigerator in the garage.
For the slightly more ambitious, buy a power strip at your local hardware store. Yes, it takes a little time up front to plug everything into it, but you’ll more than make up the time when you can cut all power with just the flip of a switch.
Clamping down on vampire power is one of the easiest ways to save money on your electric bill, about 5 percent a month, and pump less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. It may not seem like much, but it all adds up.
Questions, thoughts and concerns can be forwarded to Jen at jbarton@nwrpc.com, or 715-635-2197.