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Good Question: Which Electronics Are Costing You The Most?

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(credit: CBS) Heather Brown
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Every year, the average American family spends more than $100 on energy costs to power appliances that have been turned off.

These “vampire appliances” – like televisions, cable boxes, DVD players, etc. – continue to use power once we turn off the power switch.

According to the Department of Energy, this vampire power accounts for 4 to 5 percent of the energy use in a home.

As is the case with almost all appliances, when we turn something “off,” it’s still usually “on” in standby mode.

Crystal Manik is senior marketing business consultant at Xcel Energy. She helps residential customers reduce their energy usage.

“The only purpose of that is when you turn on your TV, boom – it comes immediately,” Manik said. “Even though you’re not actually using the appliance, it’s still drawing energy.”

According to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory within the U.S. Department of Energy, some of the biggest vampires are:

1. Cable Box with DVR: $44/year
2. Desktop computer in sleep mode: $21/year
3. Laptop computer in sleep mode: $16/year
4. Television: $6-$13/year
5. Modem or router: $7/year
6. DVD Player: $5/year

An appliance, like a turned-off lamp, would use less energy.

A plugged in cell phone charger with a fully-charged phone comes out to about $2/year. Plugged-in chargers without a phone are $.25/year.

“It’s not a huge drain, but there’s always the opportunity to reduce by little bits and pieces,” Manik said.

She recommends using a power strip, which makes it easier to shut off the power to an appliance without having to unplug it.

Many local libraries also offer power meters to check out with appliances use the most energy.

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