Your mother probably taught you to turn off the light when you leave a room. Why waste money and energy when you’re not using it, right? Well, there are lots of other sneaky ways that we’re wasting electricity, and it’s costing us big time. Vampire power, or standby power, is the energy wasted by appliances and other electronic gadgets that are drawing power when not actually in use. It’s costing Americans $19 billion annually, according to a new report from the National Resources Defense Council.

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When you breakdown the wasted money by household, the impact is still pretty alarming. The report suggests that an average home wastes $164 per year powering devices that aren’t in use. Depending on your rates and how many of these vampiric appliances and electronics you’re living with, that figure could be as high as $440 a year—right down the drain.

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So, what kinds of electronic devices cause this vampire suckage to occur? Anything with a display can be a culprit, like the electronic screen on new-fangled washers and dryers, or even your cable TV box. Other offenders include video game consoles and computers left in ‘sleep’ mode while not in use, which use an average of 164 watts per home, which Treehugger equates to brewing 234 cups of coffee every day for a year. Yikes. Even a plugged-in power strip without anything plugged into it can suck electricity, just to keep its little power light on.

The solution is fairly simple. When you’re done using your computer, shut it down. When the game is over, turn off the video game console. Consider unplugging other devices that suck energy when not in use, like your cable box. Sure, it’ll take a little longer to get powered up the next time you’re ready to use them, but the cost savings over the long-term is astounding.

Via Treehugger

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