Power Strip vs Vampire Loads

“Off” is a relative term when it comes to modern electronics.  We like when the television screen goes live as soon as you do the remote.  Ditto with computer monitors, printers, scanners, desktop computers, etc, etc.  However, if it comes on immediately, it’s using a nominal amount of electricity all  the time it’s “off.”  USB chargers that remain plugged in draw a constant amp or two even when not in use.  Microwave ovens and anything else with a clock or “status” screen.

All those hidden electrical currents are called “vampire loads.”  Here’s a list with the current power drain by each.  Video game consoles draw 65 watts when off (four LED bulbs), TVs draw 50 watts, DVRs 40 watts, satellite TV box 35 watts, and so forth.  That’s a  good 10-25% of your monthly utility bill.  

The only way to stop this constant current drain is to plug these appliances into a power strip (Ironically, power strips draw a small amount of power, also, but it’s only a watt or two.)  One idea is to plug your TV, DVD, and DVR into the same power strip and turn it off when you’re not watching.  It’s inconvenient to put a satellite TV box or internet router on a power strip because then you have to wait 5 minutes or more for the system to boot up.

They also make motion sensor power strips, which turn on when sensing motion – i.e., a desktop computer, monitor, printer, and fax setup at your office desk.  It turns everything on as soon as you arrive and you never have to worry about leaving the power on after hours.  Motion sensing light strips are popular for kitchen counters (tucked under the cabinets).