Vampire appliances are appliances which continue to suck energy even they are turned off, because they enter a standby mode rather than fully powering down. The term is also used more generally to refer to energy-hungry appliances. Many people have a number of vampire appliances in their homes, and these appliances can drive energy bills up significantly. Advocacy organizations hope that by getting the word about vampire appliances out, they can encourage consumers to take measures to reduce their energy usage.
Common examples of vampire appliances include some televisions and DVD players, heaters, computers, and “instant-on” devices which can be powered up with the touch of a button. If you have appliances which are operated remotely, they could also be considered vampire appliances. Likewise with timed devices, alarms, garage doors, and so forth. Any sort of device which has a standby mode will use power as long as it is in standby.
The cost to run a vampire appliance varies. In some cases, appliances use almost as much power on standby as they do when they are on; companies with large numbers of computers, for example, noticed that their electric bills dropped dramatically when they turned the computers off over the weekend rather than just putting them into standby mode.
There are a number of reasons to identify and eliminate vampire appliances in a home or business. In the more immediate sense, getting rid of vampire appliances will save consumers a great deal of money. It also reduces strain on the power grid, ensuring that electricity will be available during periods of peak demand. Since many methods of energy generation are also ecologically unsound, eliminating such appliances can also benefit the environment.
Naturally, most consumers don't want to just toss their energy wasting appliances, for a variety of reasons. But there are some steps you can take to reduce energy waste. For example, you can unplug appliances like televisions and electric heaters when you aren't using them, so that they are truly off, rather than just in standby mode. You can also shut down your computer after use, rather than putting it on standby. Depending on where you are, you may also be able to find specialized powerstrips which offer surge protection and turn off when the appliances they are attached to go onto standby. These powerstrips can be great power management tools for people who are worried that they won't always remember to fully power down or unplug appliances.