Sharla Shaffer

Did you know you have vampires feasting in your home all night? You thought they were simply a figment of Hollywood’s imagination but they’re real. They suck the “blood” right out of your home and steal your money while everyone is sleeping. If you wake up at night and start tiptoeing around you’ll probably see one of them in every room of your house. They sometimes appear in the daytime, too! Check by your cell phone charger, by your bedside lamp and especially by your computer and printers! They don’t look like the Hollywood vampires, seeing as they are two or three prongs with a little cord sticking out the back, but they’re to be equally feared. They’re called Vampire Plugs.

Vampire Plugs waste energy and plump up your electricity bill. Anything plugged into an outlet uses energy, regardless of whether or not it’s being used! Let’s say you do an excellent job of unplugging unused appliances and chargers. You power down your computer, TV and stereo at night. Pat yourself on the back, right? Well, those vampires are still lurking by! In order to fully protect your home from useless energy loss due to appliances and electronics, ‘biggies’ of energy usage such as the computer, TV and stereo must be unplugged and unfortunately, those are usually the hardest and most frustrating to unplug. The easiest way to handle the ‘biggies’ is to plug them into a power strip so you can turn them off at one central point, which in turn completely disconnects them from their power supply. No more vampires!

By now you’re probably sick of the vampire analogy and I expect some of you are asking, “Why should I care?” Here’s why. According to Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia giant, “The wasted standby power of household electronic devices is typically very small, but the sum of all such devices within the household becomes significant.” According to the 2000 U.S. Census there are over 105 million U.S. households, not including businesses and nursing facilities. Multiply one U.S. home’s wasted energy by over 105 million and the electricity waste skyrockets. The waste becomes exponential on a worldwide scale.

So what kind of impact does all of this wasted energy have on our natural resources? According to the TXU Energy Market Tracker for last month, 83% of the power generation for Texas came from non-renewable resources such as natural gas, as well as coal and lignite, which are commonly mined by strip mining. By virtue of the definition of “non-renewable” we are required to look for different energy options in the future since our current resources will be depleted at some point. So our two methods to solve the problem are to conserve our current energy usage and find renewable energy sources.

We throw our trash in the trash can. Let’s cut our energy waste and send those vampires back to Hollywood.

See you next month!