Cut up to 25% of your electronics electricity usage by slaying energy vampires lurking around your home. 

What is an “energy vampire?” It’s an appliance or electronic device that continues to suck energy while turned off or in stand-by mode. According to ENERGY STAR®, this stand-by power, also called phantom power or vampire power, costs U.S. households more than $11 billion a year! 

Learn how to identify energy vampires around your home or business, and take action to stop them from draining your budget.

Top 5 Energy Vampires:

  1. Computers and computer-related equipment (modems, routers, etc.)
  2. Instant-on TVs (LED, LCD and rear-projection). Rule of thumb: larger screens use more energy
  3. Surround sound systems
  4. Cable or satellite TV boxes
  5. Household items with a clock (e.g. microwave, DVD player, etc.)

Other energy vampires often have an external power supply, use a remote control or are used to charge a battery (think of your cell phone chargers.)

Arm yourself with these “wooden stakes” to slay energy vampires around your home:

  • Unplug chargers and electronic devices that are not in use. Many devices have an indicator light that will let you know when a device is fully charged and can be unplugged.
  • Plug your appliances into a power strip. Traditional power strips don’t lower energy usage. They can be used to easily power off all devices plugged into it. Smart or advanced power strips are designed to shut down devices in standby mode and eliminate sources of energy vampires. Occupancy sensors also help by shutting off devices when no one’s around. 
  • Purchase ENERGY STAR® products. If you’re using outdated appliances or electronic devices, consider upgrading to more efficient ENERGY STAR®-certified models. ENERGY STAR® devices are made to use less energy, lower standby power and guarantee significant energy savings. 
  • Upgrade to smart devices. It’s easier than ever to become more energy efficient. Small devices like smart thermostats and smart bulbs can be simple solutions for energy savings. Smart thermostats and Smart LED bulbs are more energy efficient and detect motion to shut off when rooms are unoccupied. Some devices can also be controlled from your smartphone. 

Get more savings solutions at

15 responses to “Slay Energy Vampires and Save Money

  1. I have a Spectrum cable box that takes 10-15 minutes at minimum to reboot after it loses power. Maybe the electrical utilities should pressure Spectrum to work on their cable boxes since it is too cumbersome to deliberately turn them off.

    1. Hi Mary. ENERGY STAR does work with many manufacturers to encourage improvement in energy efficiency standards. I can certainly understand how the power-up time for cable boxes can be an inconvenience. Something you might consider, rather than a power strip, is plugging the cable box into a timer. This would allow you to power up the equipment in advance of the time you wish to watch television if your schedule is consistent.

    1. Great question Rick. This is dependent on a few factors, such as how the product is used (i.e. most efficient settings vs. comfort settings, frequency, etc.), if use behaviors change and the price paid. In general, smart thermostats are to estimated pay for themselves in about 2 years.

  2. Remember to unplug coffee maker, toaster until AM use. I also unplug my wax scent cube warmers until I’m ready to use them and when I’m done for the day. Lotsa lil vampires around the house! ????????

  3. Are you saying that a charging plug for a phone still uses energy when the phone is completely charged or is not plugged in at all?

    1. Carol, Yes. A cell phone charger does continue to use energy even when the phone is completely charged or unplugged. It is a small amount, however with the number of devices many homes have these days, it can add up.

  4. I’m a senior citizen with a small income. I also have some electrical issues and drafts. My furnace doesn’t work so I’ve been using small space heaters in my mobile home for 4 yrs now. I put plastic over my windows, insulation in my floor ducts and make sure wherever I have air leaks to the outside, I fill the cracks each winter. I don’t have carpet on my floors, just vinyl. Because of all these things, and trying to stay safe, I leave nothing plugged in except my refrigerator. I don’t have cable or wifi so I don’t have any waste there. I plug in a lamp in the room I’m in when needed and unplug it when I’m done. I am conservative and cautious, do I am able to keep my electric costs down considerably compared to my neighbors, through much effort.

    1. Hi Betty. I’m sorry to hear that you’re having trouble with your furnace. I would encourage you to reach out to your local community service agency. They offer a number of options such as home weatherization and energy bill assistance programs. More information about the Home Weatherization program can be found here: or you can call (800) 282-0880 to find your local agency. I would also caution you against using small electric space heaters… this is the least efficient way to heat your home and could result in much higher electric bills.

  5. Have you stopped the program of cash (it was like $25, or free pick up) of old appliances that still work but are being replaced by owner? I can’t find any info on that program. My fridge is 26 years old and I’ve been taking the internal temperatures… still works great, but I’m thinking of replacing it soon. Did you cancel that program?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *