Energy & Sustainability
New kind of ‘vampire’  – Sucks power out of homes

Make Pt0004
Catchy headline for Halloween, but a real problem… –

A force as insidious as Dracula is quietly sucking a nickel of every dollar’s worth of the electricity that seeps from your home’s outlets. Electronic gadgets running in standby mode use 5 percent of electricity in the United States. Insert the little fangs of your cell phone charger in the outlet and leave it there, phone attached: That’s “vampire” electronics. Allow your computer to hide in the cloak of darkness known as “standby mode” rather than shutting it off: That’s vampire electronics.

New kind of ‘vampire’ – Sucks power out of homes – Link.

12 thoughts on “New kind of ‘vampire’ – Sucks power out of homes

  1. Oooh… a whole NICKLE! Wow… I don’t know what I would do with all those extra nickles… Maybe I would be able to buy ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!

    Not to mention all the wasted time plugging and unplugging all these devices–and wasted boot-up-times on computers. Come on now…

  2. And dragonphyre’s comment, ladies and gentlemen, is a fine example of the attitude that creates energy crisises and $94 a barrel oil.

    First, the statistic posted is that it’s a nickel of every dollar’s worth of electricity, not just one nickel. At $88.60 a month (The national average in 2005, which has no doubt increased since then: http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/electricity/esr/table5.xls Excel file), that’s $4.43. Sure, you can’t buy much with $4.43 a month, but it’s certainly not nothing. Furthermore, there’s a key concept you’re missing, and that’s the idea of addition. $4.43 a month for a whole year makes $53.16 (An amount you certainly can buy something with), not to mention that if just 10 thousand people a year saved that much, it would mean a half a million dollars that could be spent on any number of things.

    Sure, plugging and unplugging is a pain, but that’s a question of a solution, and an argument with a solution is no excuse to deny the problem. Furthermore, arguing that booting up your computer every morning and turning it off every night is a waste of time means that you need some minor education in time management. Press the ol’ power button before you put down your coat, or use the time to go get a cup of coffee. The average computer uses something like a 100 watts an hour, and at 8 hours of sleep, that’s 800 watts a night or 24kW a month.

    As any efficiency expert would tell you, it’s the small things that matter. In manufacturing or athletics, small savings in time, energy, or materials can have a huge payoff when the entire picture is looked at. Efficiency means doing what you’re already doing, but doing it with less input, and as energy prices rise and energy supplies constrict, you’ll see that efficiency means strength and efficiency means durability and efficiency means success.

    And maybe it’ll start with a nickel here and a nickel there.

    (P.S. the “vampires” this article talks about go by another, equally eerie, name: phantom loads. Any renewable energy dealer would be able to talk yer dang ear off about them — much as I have here)

  3. I have to agree with dZed-0105. I think dragonphyre might just be a message board troll (keeping the Halloween theme going, folks) but I fear the “who cares about waste?” attitude is the prevailing one in the industrialized world.

    Saving 5% on electricity usage across the board in the U.S. would be a tremendously significant windfall with real-world impacts. Fewer power plants would need to be built and there would be fewer electricity crises during the hot summers. We could spend a huge amount of money on renewable energy alternatives and infrastructure improvements to the existing power grid and not realize 5% gains. Every little counts.

    I have all of my electronics at home plugged into power strips. It’s actually EASIER to turn off one switch than 5 or 6.

  4. yeh, 20 nickles is a buck and five of those (bucks) is a beer and tip…so, I guess dragonphyre (cute spelling by the way)is just one of those folks who doesn’t have to worry about budgets and impacts and all that other stuff. Maybe when the whole $h!thouse goes up in flames and can’t support itself, we should just ask ‘dragonphyre’ for a solution. How ‘important/busy’ are you that you can’t take the time to unplug/bootdown your gear?
    But, enough politeness, if I smacked you with a roll of nickles, I bet you would think twice about wastin ’em!

  5. A study in the UK discovered that keeping that little light glowing on your toaster 24 hours a day and other pointless energy draws across the country consumed two full power plants worth of electricity per year. It’s serious enough that the UK is even considering banning the standby feature on most devices…..

  6. Ah yes, this old chestnut.

    There are two types of standby, and it is important to know the difference between them.

    Your video recorder, that uses lots of power on standby, because when it starts recording, you actually want the start of the program, not to miss 10 minutes of it because it had to boot up, re-scan the channels, wonder where the input from the satellite feed was, ask the satellite decoder to start up, then switch to the right channel, then start to record. Here, unplugging the video or other boxes is stupid. Plus, you would have to reset the clock each time.

    Chargers and adapters, however, when not in use, should be unplugged. For one, there is a small but possible chance they will get really hot and burn your house down, and for two, you know when they are needed and when they are not – they aren’t “smart” devices. And you can flick the switch to turn them on instantly.

    Modern life gives and takes. My hub, two PCs and the router have to be on all the time, along with the support gear, to make the phone ring. I’d love to be able to have the fewer issues of having a regular phone, but lack of physical wires prevents it, and a lot more power gets used. The flipside is, I get near-free calls and no line rental charges.

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