Reducing “Vampire” Power Usage

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TV and Related Electronics

The biggest user of vampire power is cable, satellite, and DVRs.  We have two TVs left in the house.  In our basement recreation room we have a TV with a cable box, DVR, and Wii gaming system.  We don’t use it frequently, and I try to remember to turn the power cord off when I do.

Upstairs we have a TV and stereo set up that includes a cable DVR box, a DVD player, a component stereo system, and a VCR.  We have them plugged into a power strip, which is behind the TV stand and difficult to get to.  We should get a smart power strip that automatically cuts power if an appliance goes into stand by mode.  We have an older TV box/DVR combo that uses about $6 a month in electricity.  Looking online, I see that smart power strips run between $25 and $45.  That should be a relatively short payback period.  I just ordered a Smart Strip online for about $40.

Computers and Related Electronics

Computers, printers, and modems all use vampire electricity, but less than cable and DVRs.  In our office, we have a desk top computer, a printer, a cable modem, and a wireless router.  They are plugged into a power strip.  We could turn off the power strip at night.  There are power strips that let you turn off each outlet independently.   They are available for about $20.  The advantage would be that you could have power to the computer, but none to the printer, unless you need it.  We don’t plan to get one because an inkjet printers vampire electricity use is relatively low and I think the pay back period would be too long.  At two watts per hour and assuming fifteen cents a kilowatt hour, it would cost about 22 cents a month to have it plugged in, or $2.64 a year.  That means its payback period would be about seven and a half years.

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