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'Vampire' power affects utility users

By JULENE REESE
Utah State University Extension

Vampire power is likely sucking energy from the homes and apartments in the Carbon County area.

Vampire or standby power is drawn from electronic equipment and gadgets that never turn completely off, explained Lou Mueller, Utah State University family and consumer science agent. Experts estimate that standby power silently claims 5 percent of the nation's total energy use.

After turning off electronic equipment, Carbon County residents may have noticed the lights on electronic equipment remain on even after the devices have been turned off. The situation is true not only with desktop computers, monitors, screens, wireless transmitters and printers, but also of cell phones and laptop chargers, televisions, DVD players, VCRs, satellite systems, cable boxes and answering machines.

Other power-sucking devices include anything with an LED panel such as clocks on stoves and microwaves, internal clocks and sensors, remote control sensors, battery rechargers, power conversion packs and anything that communicates with a base unit, such as portable phones.

Carbon County consumers can reduce the effects of vampire power and save money on electricty power bill by following a few simple steps, pointed out Mueller. The USU Extension family and consumer science agent recommended that local residents:

•Plug office equipment into a surge-protected power strip. Switch the strip off when not in use.

• Looking for other areas where electronics are grouped and use power strips to prevent electricity loss. Examples include entertainment and small kitchen appliance centers.

•Unplugging external power suppliers used to charge cell phones, laptops, digital cameras, battery chargers, power packs, etc.

•When purchasing new electronics, look for energy-efficient models with the EnergyStar endorsement.

•If standby power is rated on the label, purchase items that use 1 watt or less. If there is no listing, you can check out ratings for appliances tested by Lawrence Berkeley National Lab at http://standby.lbl.gov/data/1wproducts.html.  

Protect your home and budget from vampire power. Don't just turn it off, unplug it.




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