Tools and Tricks to Slay Your Home's Energy Vampires

They suck electricity even when you're not using them.

They are the night stalkers: vampire appliances (TVs, computers, DVD players and cell phone chargers) that siphon energy around the clock, even when idle. The average U.S. home has 40 such devices that draw power continuously and account for nearly 10% of home energy use, according to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The good news is that with the proper equipment you can drive a stake through the heart of these energy wasters.

A good first step is the Belkin Conserve Smart AV, a $30 surge protector/power strip designed for home-entertainment systems. It automatically shuts off components, such as a gaming console, receiver and speakers, when you turn off your TV. Plug your television into Conserve Smart AV's green master outlet, and when the set is turned off, the device cuts power to peripheral devices connected to five of its seven outlets. The two outlets that remain are for gadgets, such as cable set-top boxes and DVRs, that need 24/7 connectivity to download program guides and record shows. Belkin estimates that Conserve Smart AV can save up to $76 per year in energy costs, assuming your home-entertainment system includes a DVD player, VCR, game console, subwoofer and amplifier that are left on (but not active) 19 hours a day.

Subscribe to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

Be a smarter, better informed investor.

Save up to 74%

Sign up for Kiplinger’s Free E-Newsletters

Profit and prosper with the best of expert advice on investing, taxes, retirement, personal finance and more - straight to your e-mail.

Profit and prosper with the best of expert advice - straight to your e-mail.

Sign up

To continue reading this article
please register for free

This is different from signing in to your print subscription

Why am I seeing this? Find out more here

Contributing Writer, Kiplinger's Personal Finance