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You might think that vampires only come out at night or during Halloween. Well, guess what? They are everywhere, all of the time, working 24 hours a day, using energy at your house; and they are adding some 20 percent each month to the amount your family pays for energy.

Vampire energy is a type of energy used by things that consume electricity twenty-four hours a day, even when they are turned off or not being used. TVs, VCRs, DVD players, computers/printers, stereos, microwaves, coffee machines, washers/dryers, rechargeable power tools, etc. are the everyday secret users of vampire energy. You think you have turned them off, but they are still running.

In fact, did you know that a TV with a remote uses energy while the TV is off? And don't forget about those little clocks on microwaves and VCRs--with every blinking second, they, too, are using vampire energy and adding to your monthly energy bill.

According to energy experts, the amount of electricity used by these vampire consumers can add up quickly. Vampire energy amounts to about five percent of electricity consumed in the United States and usually costs consumers more than $3 billion each year.

So, what can you do?

  • Start by unplugging appliances directly from wall outlets when not in use. Instead of turning your electronic devices off one-at-a-time, make the job easier by plugging all of your electronics into a power strip or two and "switch off" the power strip after you have finished using the item(s). (Don't worry; this will not harm your electronics.)
  • If you are not going to be using your computer for a while and don't want to shut it down, simply turn off your monitor. Screen savers do not reduce the amount of energy used.
  • Try to use natural light whenever possible during the day, turn lights off when you are not using them.
  • If you know someone who is planning to buy a new appliance like a refrigerator or dishwasher, make sure they look for ones that have earned the EnergyStar --they use less energy, sometimes half as much, to perform their normal duties.

The ENERGY STAR is a blue sticker that can be found directly on the on the appliance itself or the box it comes in. You can also check the yellow Energy Guide Label that shows how much energy the appliance will use and compare it with others.

We all know that money does not grow on trees! So, beware of energy vampires and do not let them continue to suck energy from your home, especially when you are not there to join in the fun.

Learn more about saving energy at home on the Energy Savers website, or read an article about the ENERGY STAR "Change a Light" campaign.