When you celebrate Halloween this year, it’s time to break away from tradition to reprioritize your preparations for All Hallow’s Eve. Forget about carving pumpkins, throwing costume parties, or helping the neighborhood trick-or-treaters beat their candy quotas. There are vampires to slay instead.
Before you start raiding your kitchen for garlic or your garden for wooden stakes, we need to clarify that vampires you'll be hunting down are not undead blood sucker-types from Transylvania. You need to learn to be on the lookout for “vampire electronics” such as the peripherals attached to your home office computer and the small kitchen appliances with digital displays that glow throughout the night on your countertop.
Vampire electronics can be defined as all plug-in appliances, devices and gadgets that slip into standby mode when not in active use. Although they appear to be “off” they are still "sucking" power from wall outlets in a way that stealthily runs up your electricity bills. Though these are not terrifying or deadly like their monstrous counterparts, vampire electronics can still cause you to suffer an unmistakable chill when you realize just how much wattage they drain.
Wondering which devices are the most significant electricity-suckers? A good rule of thumb is to target those with digital displays (think clocks and timers) and LED indicator lights that burn brightly day in and day out. However, there are a host of other power-sucking culprits that do not give telltale signs that each is draining power including TVs, cell phone chargers and even electric toothbrushes.
An easy way to determine which electronics are indeed vampires is to plug them into a basic electricity usage meter, like the P3 Kill A Watt™. This very telling little gadget rats out vampire electronics left and right, by providing information about exactly how much power each one consumes, both on and off duty. Just connect the electrical tester to a wall receptacle and then plug an appliance into the meter's outlet. Remember to take two separate readings for comparison — one with the appliance running, and another with it turned off.
On the other hand, if you're a more aggressive vampire slayer who prefers to kick the detective work to the curb and cut right to the chase, then just plug your office and home theater peripherals into an intuitive surge protector like the Smart Strip®. Smart power strips are designed to differentiate between primary devices like computers and HDTVs, as well as secondary devices like printers, scanners, DVD players and video game systems.
Why do they need to tell them apart? Because when a smart power strip senses that a primary device has been turned off, it automatically cuts power to all the vampirical accessory electronics that are connected to it. After all, there's no reason why you should let your printer and speakers continue to drain both your electrical energy and bank account if your PC is turned off.