These six “vampire’ appliances” are draining your home of energy and driving up your electric bill this winter.
Fortunately, consumers can be smart when it comes to powering their homes by investing in options that lower monthly costs.
Americans are expected to pay 28 percent more to heat their homes this winter than last year due to rising fuel costs and colder weather, according to an October forecast from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
While heating costs may increase, you can unplug many appliances to get some major savings this winter.
In particular, “vampire appliances” include many everyday devices that, when plugged in when not in use, can lead to “vampire” or “phantom” loads.
These devices absorb your electricity bill without you directly using them.
Fortunately, if you correctly identify which appliances use the most energy, you can save hundreds each year.
According to Good Housekeeping, televisions can actually absorb phantom loads.
Chris Saunders, founder of LoopEnergySaver.com, described it as “one of the main culprits for wasting energy on standby.”
Even if you don’t completely unplug the device, it’s important to make sure you never turn on the television as background noise.
If you don’t watch, choosing to listen to the radio is a much better option.
According to an energy expert, one computer can save more than $20 a year on electricity.
“If you tend to leave your computer idle, remember that computer screensavers don’t save energy,” Saunders said.
“If you want to keep energy usage to a minimum, change your settings so it goes straight to sleep mode, or better yet, turn it off.”
For mobile devices, it’s also useful to check if you’re being overcharged.
It’s common to plug in anything from phones to laptops to electric razors to charge overnight.
None of these will add up to more than a few dollars a year, but you can make a big impact on your wallet with this one small habit.
“Plugging in and charging your phone, tablet or laptop is an unnecessary waste of energy,” Saunders said.
Depending on how many chargers you usually have connected at once, you can save more than $20 a year by disconnecting some of them when not in use.
We’re all guilty of endlessly keeping cable boxes.
However, it’s important to note that you can easily turn off the TV between uses – saving you up to $19 a year.
The energy expert reminded consumers to keep an eye on gaming consoles as they could be racking up bills without you even knowing.
“Consoles are particularly high energy consumers because they are ‘idle’ when not in use or turned off,” the storage pro said.
“On standby, a console can use up to £30 ($31.62 USD) of energy annually, so it’s definitely worth encouraging children and teenagers to switch them off when they’re done.”
Finally, the dishwasher can be a big culprit in energy consumption due to an inefficient heat drying cycle.
According to LaVozColorado, to get the same results you should tumble dry the dishes or use the air dry option, as this can reduce energy use by at least 15 percent.
While these products are notorious for using energy, there are a number of replacements that will help you save money, but still be comfortable this winter.
Although it may seem obvious, it’s important to try to keep yourself warm in any way other than using central heating when the temperature drops.
An easy way to fight the cold is to buy an electric blanket.
This inexpensive product keeps your bed toasty without having to adjust the thermostat.
Adjusting your ceiling fan is critical to maintaining a warm environment.
The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that you can actually adjust the fans so that the blades spin clockwise, which helps move heat trapped near the ceiling into the room.
As crazy as it sounds, you can use cooking as an excuse to warm up the house.
Making a delicious soup or casserole doubles as a way to stay warm this holiday season.
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