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ene rg y wi s e Beware the Dreaded


VAMPIRE LOAD Fight back with with simple tricks—no garlic necessary


these days. It's known as "vampire load." Vampire loads come from devices that use electricity even when they appear to be off. Primary culprits are chargers, set-top television boxes, instant-on televisions and gaming systems. There are others, but these four represent the major offenders.


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The Environmental Protection Agency reports vampire loads are approaching 10 percent of our average household electric use. A closer look at why and how these loads occur shows surprising facts.


For instance, television set-top boxes consume energy when they appear to be off. Anytime the set-top box’s lights are on, it is using power. Like chargers, they use more when the television is on, but they are always working – even when the TV is off. This is especially true for devices with a DVR function that records your favorite TV shows.


The instant-on television is another culprit. The “instant-on” feature provides instant gratification for the viewer, meaning no waiting for the TV to turn on and warm up. Unfortunately, for that convenience, the TV must be on at nearly full power, which drains energy.


The typical gaming console is an energy hog that can consume as much energy as a regular refrigerator even when it’s not being used. To stop this vampire, check the console settings and disable automatic updates, which is where the energy drain comes from. Games on the console are frequently updated, which requires a lot of electricity.


So how can the average family combat these dreaded vampire loads? No garlic necessary. Just change how you handle these energy-sucking electronics with the following suggestions:


here is an energy problem lurking behind all those seemingly harmless electronic devices we rely on so much


• Unplug chargers when not in use.


• Invest in smart power strips. These look like normal power strips but have a twist; one of the outlets is the “master” that receives power all the time. The others are off. When the device connected to the master outlet turns on, the rest of the outlets receive power too. Ingenious and perfect for entertainment set ups. Have the television in the master outlet and when you turn it on, the set-top box, speakers, streaming devices, etc. will turn on too. They are also ideal for PCs and their peripherals.


• Turn off the instant-on function on your TV. Turn off set-top boxes that do not contain the DVR functionality or use a smart power strip.


• Disable automatic updates in gaming consoles and turn the console completely off when you finish using it.


• When replacing any device or appliance, look for an Energy Star-rated product.


Vampire loads are a problem that will only continue to grow as the digital age advances. To prevent them from draining your energy budget, fight back by adhering to the recommendations above.


For more energy saving suggestions or to schedule a free home energy audit, please contact KEC at 800-888-2731 or visit www.kiamichielectric.org.


Light Post | september - october 2017 | 7


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