Office of Environmental and Energy Coordination

CONTACT INFORMATION: Our office is open to visitors by appointment only. Please call or email from 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
703-324-7136 TTY 711
12000 Government Center Pkwy, Suite 533
Fairfax, VA 22035
John Morrill

What Is Vampire Energy?

What if we told you that there are “vampires” in your house draining your electricity and raising your energy bills? Also known as phantom energy, vampire energy refers to the power that electric devices use when in standby mode or when they remain plugged in even when fully charged.

If left unchecked, vampire energy could be a nightmare for your wallet, amounting to 10-20% of your monthly electricity bill. How can you fix it?

To start, take an inventory. What's plugged in around your home? To find your energy vampires, look for devices with remote control, standby indicator light, or built-in clock. These are indicators of continuous power usage. Many devices have standby lights that glow when they’re pulling power. Look for the glow and you’ll know.

Common vampires include: 

  • Televisions
  • Satellite or cable boxes
  • DVD players
  • Video Game Consoles
  • Desktop Computers / Monitors
  • Printers
  • Scanners
  • Microwaves
  • Coffee Makers
  • Air Fryers
  • Hair Dryers
  • Curling Irons
  • Electric Toothbrushes
  • Cell Phones
  • Laptops
  • Tablets

Then, take a stab at saving electricity with these tips!

  • Unplug small rechargeable appliances that are fully charged. Appliances like cellphones and electric toothbrushes with power adapters consume electricity when recharging, and will continue to consume electricity, even after fully charged, so long as they’re plugged in.
  • Get smart about your power strips. One of the best ways to vanquish the energy suckers in your life is to outsmart them.
    • A traditional power strip expands the number of outlets you can use. When you use a traditional power strip, switching it off cuts power to everything plugged into it.
    • A smart strip allows you to control the flow of power to your devices. You can cut power to some devices, but let power flow to others, like cable boxes or certain medical devices.
  • Activate Energy Saver modes. Some devices, like computer monitors, can be programmed to “sleep” after a period of inactivity. If you’re not comfortable with unplugging devices, use a device’s Energy Saver mode instead.
  • Program proactively. Become an expert at programming your thermostat and take control of when your heat and air conditioning are running. If you’re uncertain about how to use your programmable thermostat to save energy and money, the U.S. Department of Energy offers some advice.
  • Want to take the next step? Use ENERGY STAR® Appliances. They're more energy efficient, so they use less energy overall. You may pay more upfront, but the savings in energy costs for the lifetime of the product make up the difference.

Don’t let vampire energy suck the life out of your budget. Recover the dollars that are slipping away with these steps and you’ll be well on your way to a better energy future.

Click here to view or download a PDF with information about Vampire Energy.

Fairfax Virtual Assistant