Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Guest Post - Are Your Finances Being Fed on by Vampire Appliances?

All over the UK homeowners are waging a war against energy waste, investing in insulation, LED light bulbs and doing everything they can to try and eliminate the major causes of inflated household bills.

However, there is another enemy in the fight to save money that is hiding in the corners of most rooms in the house, feeding on your electricity and raising that energy bill - 'vampire' appliances.

What is 'Vampire' Power?

Known by a number of different names - including standby power, phantom load and leaking electricity - 'vampire' power refers to the electrical power that is consumed by electronic appliances when in standby mode or switched off.

Although the amount of power these vampire appliances consume has reduced significantly in recent years (vampire power for some devices would be several or even tens of watts as little as 10 years ago), when added together the total energy wastage can add hundreds of pounds to your energy bill over the course of a year.

What Appliances are the Biggest Culprits?

Not every device in your home draws power from the mains when switched off, but there are certain appliances that are particularly big offenders, and some of them you will probably already be aware of. These include:
  • Television sets - you know that little red light that is on whenever your TV is on standby? That has to be powered by something. The same is true of DVD players, games consoles and digital television boxes.
  • Laptops and computers - in the case of laptops it is the charger that is the main culprit, drawing power even when not plugged into the laptop itself, however there are a whole host of other devices attached to your computer that are consuming energy.
  • Modems and routers - the internet is such an integral part of our modern lives we think nothing of leaving our modems and wireless routers running all night and during the day when the house is empty - but are we all so addicted to Twitter that we need it on even when we're asleep?
  • Mobile phone chargers - Like with laptop chargers, even when there is nothing connected to it your mobile phone charger is using energy, so remove it from the wall when it is not in use!

What Can you Do?

Before you can tackle those vampire appliances you need to first know how to identify them. The best way to do so is to feel them for warmth when they're not in use. A device that is not drawing any energy will be cool to the touch, while an illuminated light is also a dead giveaway that power is being consumed.

Once you have worked out what appliances are using electricity while they're not being used the next step is simple - unplug them when you don't need them. If you think you'll struggle to remember to turn off every single device every night then make yourself a checklist to run through before you go to bed.

According to the Energy Saving Trust vampire appliances add between 9% and 16% to annual domestic electricity bills, amounting to £1.3 billion ($2.10 billion) in wasted energy, and this is without taking into account the amount wasted by businesses.

So given the amount of money you could save - why be a sucker? Unplug those devices and stake those vampires.

This guest blog was written by John Rooney on behalf of SolarTech - providers of solar panels and other energy efficiency measures designed to save you money.