With Halloween just around the corner, BC Hydro is warning customers that spooky energy suckers may already be lurking in their homes. A recent BC Hydro survey found that “vampire power” is on the rise, and most British Columbians own electronics and appliances that are sucking up unnecessary amounts of power and costing them money each month.
These “energy vampires” include electronics or appliances that continue to draw power, even when turned off, and which can account for up to 10 per cent of a household’s electricity bill. The average BC home has more than 25 devices that draw vampire power, including everything from televisions and gaming consoles to coffeemakers.
Many of these devices are old electronics and appliances that remain plugged in, haunting the house. For instance, half of those surveyed admit to still having a cassette player in the home, while 30 per cent still own a VCR.
Here’s how to de-fang vampire power in the home:
Unplug little-used products. Disconnect seldom-used guest TVs, and turn game consoles off when not in use. A set-top box and video game console left plugged in costs about $36 a year.
Use a power bar with a timer. Plug electronic devices into a power bar with a timer to shut them off automatically.
Look for the ENERGY STAR® label. When purchasing home electronics, look for products certified with the ENERGY STAR® label. They use less electricity, and typically have built-in power-saving features.
Disable computer screen savers. Activate sleep mode on your computer instead of using a screen saver that uses twice as much energy.
Recycle old electronics, and return them to a Return-it depot to save up to $30 per year in standby power costs.
Customers interested in tracking their energy saving can take advantage of MyHydro: a free online tool that allows customers to see their electricity use right down to the hour. To login in to MyHydro, visit bchydro.com/myhydro.