Vampire Power Sucks

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With Halloween around the corner, it’s best to be prepared for all the magical creatures that could be lurking in your home. We’re talking about ghouls, goblins, witches, werewolves and, especially, vampires.

And while silver bullets and garlic may help you fend off these creatures on All Hallow’s Eve, the kind of vampires we’re interested in don’t sleep in coffins at night.

Vampire power (also known as “phantom load”) is the power that your electrical devices use even when they are turned off or in standby mode. That’s right, the little power switch isn’t enough to protect you from unnecessary expense as your appliances, entertainment center, cell phone chargers and the like suck money from your wallet by consuming electricity – even when the power is off.

In fact, your household bleeds an average of $1,000 every year, as 40 percent of all your electricity use goes to feed these phantoms, according to the Department of Energy.

And while the concept of vampire power is frightening, there are a few, simple tricks you can use to beat them at their own game:

  1. Unplug electronics when they’re not in use.
  2. Use a power strip, and turn it off when your TVs and toys are not being used.
  3. Upgrade electronics and appliances to ENERGY STAR-rated models, which draw less power than average when in “off” mode.

To learn more about vampire power, Earth911 talked with Walter Thornton, vice president of product management and supply chain for iGo, a company that’s making cool products to slay the vampires in your home. iGo also created Vampire Power Awareness Month to help spread the word about these creatures lurking in your home.

One of our favorites of iGo’s products is the Power Smart Wall, a surge protector that helps you reduce your power consumption by 85 percent. The best part? You can “train” it to know when your electronics are in off or standby mode, optimizing its control of vampire drain.

“One of the things that’s interesting is that every device is different,” said Thornton. “So, what we did was we actually added […] the ability to have the consumer optimize the surge protector for the exact products they plug in.”

iGo also created a free vampire calculator for your iPhone, an energy loss calculator and cool augmented reality where you can “bleed” to show your vampire power drain and share “gruesome” pictures with your friends.