By: Carin Tunney

They’re likely hiding in your home office, sitting on your kitchen counter and lurking in quiet corners of your house. Energy vampires are devices that continue to feast on your electricity when left idle.

Before you say you’ve heard this all before, think about this – if left to run idle 24 hours a day, your cable box, game console, smart television and corded power tools are quietly draining your bank account of more than $200 a year – and you aren’t even using them while it happens. And this doesn’t even include some other big vampires like your laptop, microwave or coffee maker. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, if each home saves that extra energy, it would be enough to power more than 10 million homes.

Slaying energy vampires

At first, it might seem like clearing your home of energy vampires is more trouble than it’s worth. After all, it’s no treat to battle cobwebs every time you want to watch television. The good news –you don’t have to. Let’s shed light on some easy ways to keep your energy bill from becoming your least favorite horror show.

  1. Unplug rarely used appliances and electronics – Some are obvious, but we’ve included a list of lurkers below.
  2. Use power strips – Plug neighboring appliances into one easy-to-reach power strip and switch it off when not in use. You can also buy advanced power strips and save even more.
  3. Unplug your mobile phone – Once your cell phone is fully charged, it wastes about $2 a year when left plugged in.
  4. Look out for bricks – Those black brick boxes found on many types of electronics and other equipment continuously use energy. Unplug them when you can.
  5. Switch to sleep mode – When you can’t turn off your laptop or other appliances, use the sleep mode if available.
  6. Replace old appliances – Switch to ENERGY STAR® certified or newer models to cut overall energy costs.

Common energy suckers

Read on to identify the common energy suckers in every room of your house.

Kitchen Energy Killers: Microwaves, toaster ovens, coffee makers and those fancy espresso machines

Bedroom Bandits: Cell phone and computer chargers, televisions, standby air conditioners and space heaters. (You may want to leave the alarm clock plugged in!)

Bathroom Banshees: Plug-in air fresheners or nightlights, electric toothbrush and razor chargers, hair dryers and curling irons

Home Office Haunters: Desktop computers and monitors, printers, laptops, unused power strips and phone or laptop chargers

Livingroom Lurkers: Televisions, cable boxes, video game consoles and music players

Garage and Basement Ghouls: Power tools and power tool chargers, sprinkler systems during winter and unused refrigerators or freezers

Wondering just how much these energy suckers are costing you? Calculate how much you spend while appliances are in use.

Other ways to reduce energy use

There are hundreds of scarily effective ways homeowners, renters and businesses can save energy and money. Check out our energy efficiency programs. You’ll find hundreds of ways you can slash your energy costs and more, including energy rebates, home energy assessments and using smart thermostats.

Why do we care about reducing energy?

Yes, we are an energy company, so let us help you reduce energy waste. You can save money, we don’t have to build power plants that aren’t absolutely needed, and together we can meet our sustainability goals to support people, planet and prosperity for Michigan.