Avoiding Energy Vampires: Scare Away High Electric Bills with These Tips

Across the country, most homes have between 10-50 devices that consume electricity whether they are in use or not. These devices, called vampire electronics, are everyday household appliances like microwaves, phone chargers and home computers which consume electricity, even when they are turned off, and wasted electricity day and night, year after year.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy says 40 percent of the electricity used to power home electronics is consumed when the home electronics are switched off. The typical U.S. home has an estimated 10-50 of these devices which can include: Portable mp3 players, cell phones, TVs, microwaves, stoves and even washing machines. The average DVD player uses over 11 watts of electricity while it's in use and about 6 watts when it's "turned off."

According to the home energy efficiency experts at Direct Energy, these simple tips can starve energy vampires and help lower electric costs:

*  Turn computers and monitors completely off when finished. Even during sleep mode, these devices can add approximately $55 of wasted energy each year for the average household.

*  Unplug power chargers for cell phones, portable mp3 players and other devices when not in use. A plugged-in charger will continue to use electricity even when its device is not attached.

*  Use electrical power strips to disconnect multiple devices at the same time and easily turn off hard to reach appliances.

Tom Kraeutler is the host of The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show and the Home Improvement Editor for AOL. For more tips, sign up for Tom's free e-newsletter here. Tom's latest book, My Home, My Money Pit: YourGuide to Every Home Improvement Adventure, is available in bookstores everywhere and online.

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