Energy Vampire Devices; Where to Find Them, and How To Deal With Them.

It’s Halloween night and you’re alone in your room. You’re adding the final touches to your costume, and you just know in your gut that you’re going to take home best-dressed this year. Running your fingers through your hair, you grab your phone off its charger, and are just about to head out into the night when suddenly you feel an eerie presence behind you. Gulping, your hands start to sweat as you slowly turn around. 

There, in the corner of your room…a vampire blinks at you.

An energy vampire device, that is.

Plugged-in phone charger cackling away, with the caption POV: your phone charger that's been plugged in since the start of term is completing it's transformation into a full-blown energy vampire. (new window)
Energy vampire culprit 1: Phone chargers plugged in while they’re not charging a device.

What is an energy vampire device?

An energy vampire device is an appliance that continues to use electricity, even when it is not in use. According to the NRDC, almost one-quarter of home energy use is spent by energy vampire devices. Common culprits include:

  • Phone chargers
  • Laptop chargers
  • Coffee machines
  • ‘Getting ready appliances’ (e.g. hairdryers, hair straighteners)
  • Video game consoles

In the interest of saving almost 20% of your monthly electricity bill, and 4.6% of electricity-induced CO2 emissions annually, how can you slay these vampire devices? We’re so glad you asked.

How to slay an energy vampire device?

Plugged-in hair dryer with the caption POV: your plugged in hairdryer watching you leave class for the rest of the day. (new window)
Energy vampire culprit 2: Grooming devices that stay plugged in when not in use.
  1. Identify and unplug them

This is the simplest way to ensure your devices are not using unnecessary energy. Unplugging an appliance immediately after use gives you the best control over this passive energy usage, and is easiest to implement for devices you don’t use often or for long periods of time (e.g. rice cookers or shaving razors).

  1. Use a power strip

Using a power strip is a convenient way to group appliances, and cut power to them through one easily accessible plug. In some models, you’re able to cut power to unused devices while still continuing to use others plugged into the same power strip. If possible, have the strip plugged in somewhere that is easy for you to reach to make it easier to unplug when necessary. 

  1. Share devices

If you and your roommate/officemate both use devices that have the same charging port, you might consider sharing a charger. This is especially effective if you both have staggered schedules and are unlikely to be using the device at the same time. As long as the last user remembers to unplug the device, that makes for one less potential energy vampire to keep track of. 

We hope these tips help you vanquish the energy vampire devices in your home, dorm and office. Let’s work together this Halloween and beyond to unplug and #EnergizeGU!