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Your house is filled with vampires that suck $100s from your wallet annually

Lincoln Spector | May 8, 2015
Blame all those devices operating on standby mode even while they’re supposedly “off.” We’ll show you how to put a stake in their hearts.

But that bit of waste is nothing compared to what happened when I plugged everything into the conventional surge protector. Between the laptop, the docking station, the monitor, the speakers, and the scanner, it pulled about 8.75 kilowatt hours a month.

Once again, the biggest vampire included a subwoofer. My Altec Lansing VS4221 2.1 Speaker System pulled more than 5KWh per month.

Only my monitor, an LG 22EN43T-B, uses too little to be measured.

As for my wife's MacBook Pro, in sleep mode, it ran a surprisingly high 376Whm. It's clearly a light sleeper. But when I shut it down completely, the power consumption went down to 0+. The Mac doesn't hibernate.

Smartphones tablets, and AC adapters
If you own an Android device, you've likely unplugged it from its micro USB charger and seen a message telling you to unplug your charger to conserve energy.

Guess what? You really don't need to.

This used to be a big deal. You had to assume that anything that used an external AC adapter wasted power. But with the proliferation of micro USB adapters, and generally better designs, the power pulled by these devices became insignificant.

I tested the Micro USB cord and adapter for my Android phone, the Apple adapter and 30-pin cable for my iPad 2, and the power brick for my Lenovo laptop. All of them came up 0+. As far as I know, some may be a perfect 0.

Like a DVR, you can't really shut down your modem and router-at least if you live with other people. Someone might be burning the midnight electrons to complete an assignment.

network and printer power

Unfortunately, there isn't a lot to be done about the power consumption of your router and modem, although some models offer the option of turning off their LEDs. 

That's why my router and modem are plugged into a conventional surge protector that almost never gets turned off. We also keep two networked printers plugged into that same surge protector. (Why two? The laser printer is faster and cheaper to use. The inkjet has color.)

And it's wasteful. The surge protector, with the modem and router in it, burned an estimated 4.8KWh a month with nothing on that would use the Internet or the local network. When I plugged in the printers, the waste jumped to more than 12KWh a month.

Maybe I'll start turning off that surge protector at night. Or perhaps I'll start using another type of green surge protector-the kind with a timer.

Giving up power
By my estimates, I waste about 13KWh a month-mostly due to my network and printers. If I replaced my green surge protectors with conventional ones, I'd waste about 32KWh a month. That's about four percent of the 909KWh national average. And that's not including my microwave. Or the DVR I don't even own.


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