Energy Vampires

We turn down our heat at night and when away. We turn off the LED lights when not in use, run full loads in the dishwasher and washing machine, use drying racks and cook efficiently. The burning question is though…. do we unplug? Phantom power, energy drawn from items plugged into outlets even when not in use, is the energy ghost unknown to many.

The Natural Resources Defense Council calculates the cost at around $165/year per U.S. household, $19 billion nationally or 44 million tons of carbon dioxide. In an office, printers, computers and phone chargers can absorb 25% of a building’s energy. In a home, home entertainment centers, heated towel racks and older items like VCR’s and cable boxes are peculiar hogs. But even turning off a computer can spare 65% energy verses leaving it in idle mode.

Get in tune with your vampire power by loading a smartphone app called Dr. Power or purchase a Kill-a-Watt meter, which measures energy usage on appliances and gadgets. Search out your worst vampire of all. Best yet, purchase a Smart Power Strip, available in a smorgasbord of sizes and types from simple to remote. One switch has the magical power to disconnect three to eight phantom loads.

While our refrigerators, safety devices and some internet routers or cable boxes may merit an exemption from unplugging, there are many devices in our electronic saturated homes and offices that can be during the evenings or when away. Lower power bills and greenhouse gas emissions are a draw…. a draw to conquer your worst vampires. Recycle Utah, your community non-profit drop-off recycling center, provides these weekly tips.