Everyone is looking at ways to save money at the moment and as we move into winter there’ll be a firm focus on energy saving and what we can do to help bring our monthly bills down.
But there’s actually a simple trick we should all be doing - and without doing it, we’re fuelling what is known best as vampire energy. This is a term used to describe energy being drained unnecessarily around the home.
And it's where we need to concentrate our efforts. Time to seek out those pesky vampire devices.
Where are these Vampire Devices?
Vampire devices are those electrical devices around the home that tend to drain energy when they are not in use or left on standby.
We are all guilty of either switching to standby or leaving our appliances on instead of turning the power off completely at the switch or unplugging entirely once we are finished using it. But this means they are still using an electric current resulting in you being charged for electricity that you’re not actively using.
We have more devices than ever before, especially with lots of us still working from home, thus more devices being left in use.
Which Devices are the Worst for Vampire Energy?
Any appliance or device that stays switched on or left plugged into a socket is using electricity and draining power.
When it comes to saving energy at home, a great way to start is by looking at the large appliances and devices you use regularly to see where you can conserve energy that over time will make a real impact on your energy usage and the amount of your monthly bills.
Things like TVs, computer consoles, laptops, monitors, table lamps and phone chargers are all zapping power if left plugged in at the mains.
But bigger appliances like those that need to heat water to work properly are often the worst culprits. Because they need to be ready to heat water straight away, they are constantly ticking over so taking much more electricity than smaller devices.
Your dishwasher, washing machine and coffee machine are the perfect example of this. And bigger appliances like tumble dryers are also one of the worst for vampire energy.
When it comes to smaller appliances, it's things like your microwave and kettle that you need to be wary of. Microwaves and ovens with inbuilt clocks are technically working all of the time. Consider whether you need to have the time displayed on your microwave or oven when it is costing you money on your electricity bills.
All of these appliances and devices should be unplugged when not in use - or at the very least switched off at the mains.
Despite your fridge-freezer using approximately 235kwh per year and costing around £75 per year to run, it is not recommended to turn off your fridge/freezer at night as this will break food safety recommendations!
The Top Vampire Devices and Energy Draining Habits
We worked out the worst offenders when it comes to vampire devices and just how much they are costing you per year.
1. Leaving The Landing Light On
So, many of us like to leave a landing light on at night time - and all night. But what's this habit doing to our annual energy bills? An energy-saving LED bulb left on all night from 8pm-7am will be using 0.165kwh of energy costing us around 5p a night. Over the course of a year, that's an extra £16.24*. If you're still using a traditional halogen bulb then this is going to rise to £75 a year!
Despite it being a relatively small appliance in the kitchen, the Microwave is using lots of electricity as it is basically on standby 24/7 simply to keep the digital clock working and waiting for a command at a usage of 0.096kwh. This is costing you an extra £9.45* per year!
The dishwasher is one of the worst culprits for draining energy when not in use. If you consider that the average wash cycle lasts 2 hours and the average home will have the dishwasher on once a day, that’s leaving it plugged on standby for around 22 hours a day at a usage rate of 0.066kwh adding £6.50* a year onto your electricity bill.
You may think the TV is always on in your house, but actually it’s thought the average person watches just 3 hours a day. And when you consider that the average home has at least two TVs, the costs can start to add up. With TVs being left on standby for around 21 hours a day at 0.0273kwh this can add an extra £5.30* a year on to your energy bills.
5. Game consoles
With teenagers thought to spend around seven and a half hours a week gaming, that’s potentially leaving games consoles on standby mode but plugged for up to 23 hours a day at a usage of 0.046kwh. This adds £4.52* a year onto your bills - and if you have more than one console in the home that’s potentially adding around £10 a year.
6. Computer monitors
Computer monitors can be left on standby for up to 16 hours a day if you’re working full-time from home, and that is adding onto our yearly bills without you even realising. The usage per day for your monitor in standby mode is around 0.016kwh adding £1.57 per year. If you are also leaving your laptop plugged in even when it’s fully charged then you’re adding a further £2.63.
7. Phone chargers
Leaving phone chargers plugged in at the mains when you do not need to charge your phone is also making an impact on your yearly energy bills. The charger is still charging and drawing electricity at around 0.024kwh - that’s an added £2.36 per year per charger. If you have more than a few phone and tablet chargers then this is going to start adding plenty more to your bills. For example: a house with four or five chargers plugged in unnecessarily is adding another £10 onto your annual bills.
8. Sky Box
On standby, your Sky Q Box could be using somewhere in the region of 0.02kwh based on it drawing 20 watts per hour while in the mode. If you’re only using your box for 3 hours a day then that’s potentially adding around £40* a year unnecessarily onto your annual bills! But, there is an ‘eco’ mode on your box which could help you to save money. This setting means the box consumes less energy on low power mode between the hours of 2:30am and 5:45am as standard and draws less than 0.003kwh during this time.
By turning off electronics that are on standby or ‘sleep mode,’ you can save unnecessary electricity that isn’t being used. This one simple trick could see hundreds of pounds worth of savings on energy bills a year.
What else can we do to save money on energy? Check out our 10 Tips To Save On Heating Bills for more help and advice.
* Calculations made by taking the watt usage per hour for each device on standby. 23.75p price per kwh based on UK average from 1 October 2023.