Turn off 'energy vampires' to save money in the summer

With the brunt of winter heating costs in the rearview mirror, we now look to summer’s energy bills and ways to save by turning off "energy vampires."

The big energy consumer over the summer is the air conditioner, but there are little things that can push up the power bill. Walk around the house and see how many things at any give time you have plugged in. 

Even if these electronics aren’t running, or maybe they are in sleep mode, they are costing you money.

You know that you should turn off your lights when you leave the house. And you don’t need to blast the AC at home when you’re at work, but unplugging some devices and appliances, according to government data, can save up to $165 a year.

Let’s look at the numbers. If your device draws one watt a year that is roughly $1 a year. Six watts a year would be about $6. No, that’s not a lot in a year until you add up all of those plugged in devices in the house. 

The Berkley Lab recommends these ways to save. Plug in electronics into a power strip so that you can turn off multiple devices at once. Look for the Energy Star label on products. This label is telling you it’s saving money for you. And, buy a watt-meter that can measure the big energy consumers in the house. 

Now, you could unplug things like the TV in the guest room, or maybe a DVD player in the basement that never gets used. That's easy to do. But, unplugging things like the toaster that you use weekly can tear up the plug. Just unplug those less often used things. 

Again, $165 is not a lot annually, but why give it away when it’s easy to save.