The Hidden Culprits of Your Energy Bill: Electronic Energy Vampires
Have you ever wondered why your energy bills are so high, even when you're not using many devices at home? The answer may lie in the presence of electronic energy vampires, devices that continue to use energy even when they are not in use or turned off. These "phantom loads" can account for up to 10% of your home's energy usage, leading to wasted energy and higher bills.
To solve the problem of your higher bill and turn your living place into a 6-star energy rating house, you need to identify the responsible elements. Only then you can find ways to eliminate them from your home. In this article, we will mostly focus on the hidden culprits of your energy bill, which we call, in easy words, electronic energy vampires. Let's know in detail about energy vampires and ways to deal with these in your daily life.
What is an energy vampire?
Electronic energy vampires are devices that continue to use energy even when they are not in use or turned off. These devices are also known as "phantom loads" or "standby power."
While the energy usage of each device may seem small, the cumulative effect of multiple devices of these sorts can account for a significant amount of wasted energy and increase your energy bills. Phantom loads include smart devices with instant-on or standby modes, chargers for these devices and some specific home appliances.
The energy consumed by electronic energy vampires is not only a problem in our household but also contributes to a national problem. The wasted energy translates into unnecessary power consumption, leading to increased demand for electricity generation. This increased demand may require the construction of new power plants or expanding existing ones, leading to higher energy costs for consumers.
What are the common phantom loads?
Well, the name of this specific type of power may sound new to you, but it hides behind your regularly used elements. It not only kills energy but also stops your house from achieving 6-star energy rating. Some of the most common energy vampire devices found in homes and offices include:
- Chargers for electronic devices like cell phones, laptops, and tablets
- Televisions and cable boxes, which often have "instant-on" or standby modes that continue to draw power
- Refrigerators, except for the energy-efficient ones
- Computers, which can consume power when in sleep or hibernation mode
- Electric toothbrush for leaving it plugged in all time
- Kitchen appliances, including coffee makers, microwaves, and toasters, often consume power even when not in use
- Thermostats, air conditioners and water heater
- Game consoles, which can consume power when idle
Why does the energy drainage happen?
An energy vampire is the result of Standby power which refers to the energy that electronic devices consume even when turned off or in standby mode. This happens because electronic devices like chargers, televisions, and computers are designed to remain in a state of readiness, even when they are not actively used. The standby power allows these devices to turn on quickly when needed, but it also means they continually draw small amounts of power, even when not in use.
Many kitchen appliances like ovens, coffee makers, and dishwashers have internal clocks that allow them to perform various functions at specific times. Appliances with internal clocks are often in standby mode, drawing little power to keep the clock running even when the appliance is not being used.
Some appliances, such as refrigerators, freezers, air conditioners, and heaters, need to be able to tell how hot or cold it is to function correctly. These appliances may have built-in sensors, thermostats, or other temperature control mechanisms that consume power even when the apparatus is not actively cooling or heating. Turning off these machines completely can lead to food spoilage or discomfort, depending on the appliance; thus, we keep it on, leading to continuous power drainage.
What are the negative impacts?
We already know that phantom load is not at all a good side of modern technology. Some of the most prominent adverse sides of this energy are-
- Environmental impact: Standby power consumption contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, which can harm the environment and contribute to climate change.
- Wasted energy: Standby power consumption is a form of wasted power, as it serves no practical purpose and can be easily avoided.
- Risk of electrical fires: Electronic devices that are constantly plugged in are in greater danger of electrical fires, especially if they are left unattended for long periods of time.
- Reduced appliance lifespan: Constantly consuming standby power can reduce the lifetime of electronic devices, as it can cause wear and tear on these daily used products.
- Increased demand for energy: Standby power consumption increases the demand for energy, which can lead to the need for additional power generation and infrastructure, further contributing to environmental impact.
- Higher energy bills: Last but not least, energy vampires can increase your energy bills and decreases your chance of getting a better home energy rating.
What are the remedies to get rid of energy vampires?
By taking some simple steps, you can stop energy vampires and reduce your energy consumption, saving you money and helping to protect the environment. The possible solutions can be-
- Unplugging devices when they are not in use is the most effective way to stop energy vampires. This ensures that devices are not drawing power when they are not needed.
- Smart plugs can be programmed to turn devices on and off at specific times, reducing energy consumption during off-peak hours.
- Power strips with switches can help you turn off multiple devices at once, making it easier to avoid phantom loads usage.
- Look for devices that are ENERGY STAR certified, as they are designed to use less energy and have lower standby power consumption.
- Some devices have features that are not necessary and can be turned off to reduce standby power consumption. For example, disabling the Wi-Fi feature on a printer can reduce its power consumption.
- If going around the house every year to check on your appliances seems like a chore, one way to step up your energy game without having to put your hands on it is to hire a local energy auditor to check your home and ensure it has evidence against energy vampires. The energy rating report will not only perform tests to find the culprits in energy use, but will also help you look at other ways your home is consuming your energy, such as leaks in your home.
In conclusion, energy vampires can have a significant impact on your energy bills, as well as the environment. It is essential for you to be aware of the energy consumption of your electronic devices and take proper action to reduce standby power consumption. By doing so, you are not only helping to save your own hard-earned money and protect the environment but also extending the lifespan of your devices and reducing the risk of electrical fires. Thus, small changes in our daily habits can make a big difference in reducing energy waste and helping to build a more sustainable future.