Identify the energy vampire appliances lurking in your home

By Laura Cowan

According to Duke Energy, there is something called a “brick” and a “wall wart” that is probably sucking up more than its fair share of energy in your home. A brick is a large black box often found attached to power cords used with laptop computers, TVs and some cable equipment. These bricks use energy continually when plugged in, so be sure to unplug or replace them when possible.

A wall wart is a device with a large plug, such as a cell phone charger that has a bulky piece that plugs into the wall directly. Like a laptop brick charger, a wall wart will use energy continuously, so don’t leave these plugged in when not in use. Also consider plugging devices in to USB chargers and car charging ports when possible, because these don’t have the wall wart design.

You might find energy vampire devices around your home including the following:

  • Mobile/cellular devices
  • MP3 players
  • Video game consoles
  • Cable/satellite boxes
  • Digital TV converters
  • DVR, VCR and DVD players
  • Coffee makers and small kitchen appliances
  • Remote control devices
  • Devices with standby light or clock

How to reduce energy waste from home appliances

After you unplug energy-wasting devices when not in use, you can also find ways to control how much energy they are allowed to use. Try the following tips for devices and power cords you can’t replace:

  • Use power strips that turn off when not in use
  • Put a timer on your devices
  • Smart power strips or timers plugged into power strips automatically control power use
  • Put your devices in sleep mode
  • Unplug devices you don’t use every day (TVs, fans, mini fridges)
  • Replace new products that are energy efficient when you replace your devices

The most energy-hungry appliances will be your fridge, your furnace and A/C and any EVs you plug in to charge at home. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t take a big chunk out of your energy bill by looking at the small stuff, especially if it’s out of date and not energy efficient. Did you find an energy-wasting device in your home? Let us know in the comments what we missed on these lists.

Perch Energy lists the following as the most wasteful energy-sucking devices in your home:

  1. Heating and cooling: 45% to 50% the largest electricity consumer in the average household
  2. Water heater: 12%  
  3. Lighting: 9% to 12%
  4. Refrigerator: 8%
  5. Washer and dryer: 5%
  6. Electric oven: 3%
  7. Dishwasher: 2%
  8. TV and cable box: 2%

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