Skip to comments."Vampire" Appliances -- They Suck Electricity Even When Switched Off
Posted on 09/27/2002 4:43:26 PM PDT by blam
Date: Posted 9/27/2002
"Vampire" Appliances -- They Suck Electricity Even When Switched Off -- Cost Consumers $3 Billion A Year, Says Cornell Energy Expert
ITHACA, N.Y. -- The typical American home has 20 electrical appliances that bleed consumers of money. That's because the appliances continue to suck electricity even when they're off, says a Cornell University energy expert. His studies estimate that these so-called "vampire" appliances cost consumers $3 billion a year -- or about $200 per household. "Off doesn't mean off anymore, but standby," says Mark Pierce, a Cornell Cooperative Extension associate in the Department of Design and Environmental Analysis (DEA) in Cornell's College of Human Ecology. "As a result, we're using the equivalent of seven electrical generating plants just to supply the amount of electricity needed to support the standby power of our vampire appliances when they're off."
And since much of electricity generated in the United States comes from fossil-fuel power plants, vampire appliances significantly contribute to the production of greenhouse gases and other air pollutants, Pierce says in a recent issue of Housing and Home Environment News (summer 2002), a DEA publication.
Electrical appliances slurp up energy even when switched off in order to support features such as timers, clocks, memory and remote "on" and "off" switches, says Pierce. "Satellite receivers for televisions and VCRs, among other appliances, use almost as much electricity when they are switched off as when they are on," he points out.
Satellite TV systems and some DVD players, for example, each cost about $9 a year for standby power; an energy-thirsty TV can cost more than $10 a year. The vampire appliance bill becomes significant when audio systems, garage-door openers, clock radios, phone/answering machines, microwave ovens and standard ovens are included.
The standby power of a computer monitor, however, only costs about $3 a year when the computer is shut down nights and weekends. However, if the computer's "sleep" function is used, the power costs $41 a year for those nights and weekends -- almost as much as the $57 a year it costs to run the computer just on weekdays.
Worldwide, standby power consumes an average of 7 percent of a home's total electricity bill, although that figure is as much as 25 percent in some homes. In Australia, standby power accounts for 13 percent of total energy use; in Japan it accounts for 12 percent; and in the United States, 5 percent.
Increasing the efficiency of appliances would cut standby power consumption by about 72 percent, according to a recent study by the International Energy Agency in France.
"Yet the vast majority of consumers aren't even aware that electrical appliances continue to draw electricity when switched off," says Pierce. "And even if they were aware, they would not be able to purchase a non-vampire, or at least a less voracious vampire appliance, because no regulation requires manufacturers to label how much electricity their appliances draw when off."
What can consumers do? Pierce offers several actions:
o If timers and other features aren't being used, consumers can turn off their most wasteful appliances by plugging them into fuse-protected power strips (also known as surge protectors) that, when turned off, can disrupt the flow of electricity when the appliances aren't being used.
o Consumers can encourage their U.S. representatives to support legislation that would require labeling of appliances with their standby energy requirements.
o When choosing a new appliance, consumers can research if it uses less than 1 watt of standby power by accessing web sites such as http://standby.lbl.gov/data/1wproducts.html at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab.
Blam, did you weather the storm ok??
We can also build more nuclear power plants.
That'll enable us to reduce fossil-fuel greenhouse emissions while still enjoying the convenience of these "vampire" appliances.
If you are on dish network you can plug your phone line in get a pay per view, and then within about a minute unplug your phone line and voila you have just gotten the movie for free. Until of course you fill up the card that's inside your receiver. Then...you have to flush it to get rid of the pirated movies you have gotten.
I've never done it myself but I hear it works.
We'll strip-mine the other planets later.
Yup, sure, right. ;o)
Yup, thanks. I hadn't even gotten done picking up the limbs in yard from Hanna, now they're all over the place again. ...and Lili is coming?
Pierce, Darling, they are not off. They are powered down. That is why you have to reprogram them after a blackout.
Depends on what you have in the little beastie. The more drives (hard drives, CD/CD-R/CD-RW/DVD/CD-RW-DVD, whatever), cards; the faster the processor.......the size and type of monitor.........all play a part.
Check your manufacturer's Web site, and there's a good chance you can do a little research and add up the "wattage' on your system. I also strongly recommend a UPS/power conditioner unit (yes, the type with the large battery inside) for your main system.
Some of the numbers don't make sense to me though.
His studies estimate that these so-called "vampire" appliances cost consumers ... about $200 per household.That means an annual electric bill of $4000 or $333 a month. Is that really the average household electric bill?
[standby power accounts] in the United States, 5 percent [of a home's total electricity bill].
Now my damn TV is spying on me!
Just for everyone's information, "Human Ecology" used to be called "Home Economics". No fooling; it's the home-ec department at an Ivy-League school.
What kind of loser owns a monitor that can access power after the switch is off? I know my computer NOWadays keeps the PS charged, but it's on a separate power strip for that reason. The dam**d thing doesn't start right otherwise, what a POS!
Normally, for lightning hits I keep susceptible stuff unpowered where possible.
These clowns should look at the number of BOZOs who leave their PC's on AND connected to a live power strip when they leave work.
One article I read said we had to keep 40 power plants running overnight to power this stuff. Kinda hard to believe, I worked at one Nuke plant that could power all of the Philly system all by itself (before PC's).
This just reinforces my distrust of NY. I just don't think all those people have been pouring south over my entire lifetime because NYC or state is somewhere I wannabe.
Absolutely. It calls an 800 number late at night to see if you've paid your bill. No joke.
So it costs me less than 3¢ a day to be able to turn my TV on via remote control and hit a "guide" button to display the program schedule. (Owner's manual says it has be off a coupla hours a night to accumulate the schedule.) That's probably a lot cheaper and less energy consuming than printing up and distributing paper schedules. And if the perfesser is so het up about greenhouse gases, one new nuclear power plant will supply enough power run every stand-by appliance in the US.
When not in use, these devices do not consume that much power. At full use, they do generate a substantial amount of heat, about equivalent of another person in the room. Comparing various heat sources, the standby heat generating side-effects of these devices is less efficient than a home heating and ventilation system, so using the PC to cook on isn't recommended (unless one can attract as many flames as my posts do,....)
Typically, large monitors consume 3-5Amperes, PCs abut 1.2-1.7 Amps. Sundries another 1.5 Amps per device. RW-CDs etc are all powered from the switching power supply within the PC, so they've already been accounted in the tally.
Just got in a new toy,..a street light powered by photovoltaic cells on top, a small wind turbine on the bottom, both feeding a gell cell, then energizing a series of LED lamps to produce either white or amber light. Govt pricing per streetlight is around $1300, private indiv. unit cost about $1700. Payback of 8 yrs is reported by the manufacturer. Ideal for those interrogation rooms in Gitmo.
Perhaps the largest enerey saver is to insure the monitor is off when not in use. Most "green devices" do save power, but I haven't well quantified the extent. IMHO, hitting the "On/OFF switch is better policy than "green design".