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Residential architects who specialize in the hot, humid, southern climate

Vampires

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We invite vampires from Dracula to the Twilight stars into our living rooms but most of us are unaware that 20 or more vampires are sucking energy from our homes every day. These vampires (also known as phantom loads) include  TVs, stereos, coffee makers, clock radios, garage door openers, computers, printers, game consoles and cell phone chargers. Any electronic appliance that uses energy when it is turned off or on sleep mode is adding about $200.00 to your annual electric bill according to Cornell University.  We are using the equivalent of seven electrical generating plants for phantom loads.Many of our home electronics use more energy when they are not in use than when they are turned on.  Game consoles such as Xbox or PlayStation use 120 -150 watts of electricity when in use but they continue to use around 150 watts of electricity when they are turned off.

There is no need to get a wooden stake to kill these vampires the simplest way is to unplug the device. This  works well for small devices such as phone chargers but strategies for larger equipment include:

  • ·Advanced Power Strips such as BITS Smart Strip Power Strip have a master outlet for surge protection and other outlets that turn off when the master is not using electricity. This works well for continuous surge protection for computers while saving energy from the vampire load of printers and speakers.
  • ·The Isole IDP-3050 Plug Load Control has a motion sensor to detect when you are using your equipment and will turn off when you are away from your desk.
  • ·Choose ENERGY STAR® products which meet energy efficiency specifications set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). A list of products can be found at www.energystar.gov. There is a large range of products which include major appliances to cordless phone and light bulbs.
  • ·In new construction a vampire switch can be installed to turn off the electron devices when they are not in use.
  • ·Finally, by employing a home energy monitoring system you can track which appliances and circuits are using the most energy. In one project it was discovered that the instant boiling water faucet used an enormous amount of energy and the homeowner unplugged it for big savings. eMonitor Energy Monitor is one of the most comprehensive home energy monitors on the market. It tracks each circuit, has excellent analytics and costs about $500.00. Another great option for half the cost is Wattvision Power Monitor which is the simplest to install and use.