Put a Stake in Vampire Energy Use

Many telecommuters notice their utility bills are dramatically higher. It makes sense if you’re using more lamps, cooking more, and using office equipment at home. You can check your thermostat, plug air leaks, replace worn insulation, and turn off lights when you leave the room, but there are other reasons your energy bills are higher. 

According to the U.S. Department of Energy's Berkeley Lab, the typical American home has 40 products constantly drawing power, amounting to almost 10% of residential electricity use. Products such as air conditioners and microwave ovens can’t be switched off unless they’re unplugged, which means they’re drawing power 24/7. This is called standby power turning appliances with external power supplies, remotes, battery chargers and continuous display (LED) into energy-sucking vampires. 

It’s impractical to unplug every lamp from every socket you’re not using, but if you’re leaving the charger in the wall, unplug it when you unplug your laptop. Get into the habit of unplugging electronics you’re not using frequently such as guest room televisions or cordless vacuum cleaners. If you need to replace an appliance such as a refrigerator, look for one that’s certified Energy Star, which is manufactured to need less standby power. 

EIA.gov explains that electricity consumption varies in predictable patterns. Use is higher during summer and at certain times of the day. Utility companies charge more for “peak time” electricity use, so if you started telecommuting in the summer and working between 7:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m. on weekdays, you’ll notice higher bills. 

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