The biggest energy vampires in your home
Learn how to banish them back to the coffin for good
An energy vampire is anything in your home that continues to suck away power while it’s not in use. While it’s true that one by itself will only drink down a few kilowatts of electricity a year, think about all those chargers that’ve been left plugged in and everything that’s currently on standby!
Our guide will identify several of the worst energy vampires found throughout the home and give you some simple tips on how to slay them once and for all. No garlic needed.
Smartphone chargers - After spending an hour or so scrolling through Facebook, the last thing most of us do before going to sleep is plug our smartphones into charge.
Forgetting to switch this charger off when you leave the next morning could drain away as much as £80 a year↑.
Electric blankets - They’re perfect for keeping you toasty warm during the cold, dark winter nights but by using an electric blanket, you’ve also inadvertently invited an energy vampire to cross the threshold into your home.
Unsurprisingly, blankets with a higher wattage sip more energy costing you around £16.60⬆ a year. Those with a lower wattage come in slightly cheaper, drinking down about £14.60⬆ a year.
Kettle - A staple of every British home, the kettle only rises up out of the coffin to become an energy vampire when you boil more water than you actually need.
By filling your kettle correctly, it’s estimated that the typical UK household could shave an impressive £19 off their annual energy bill⥉.
Microwaves - Ovens use more energy than microwaves when it comes to cooking food but the cost of keeping that little red clock displayed on the latter can mount up.
Games consoles - Keeping your Xbox One or PS4 on standby is admittedly very convenient as it allows you to download updates and charge controllers. Unfortunately, it also transforms them into deadly energy-hungry machines. Leaving them for hours in standby mode will consume more energy than when you actually play a game↓.
Thankfully, developers are taking steps to lessen their carbon footprint in the future. Sony for example, have confirmed that next year’s PS5 will offer a significantly more eco-friendly standby mode which will require less than half of the power that’s used by the PS4’s current version.
TVs - Older plasma TVs in particular are notorious for their ability to take a bite out of your energy. Leaving one on in standby mode will cost you nearly £90 a year↟.
Even the very biggest LED and OLED TVs are reasonably energy efficient by comparison.
Desktop computers - In a similar vein to games consoles, it’s a lot quicker to simply leave your machine in standby mode rather than shutting down completely and then having to wait for it to start back up every time you want to use it.
Unfortunately, this convenience is really driving a stake through your finances. Desktop computers which have been left in standby mode can suck up £33 a year in energy↟.
What can I do about energy vampires?
The easiest way to stop energy vampires sinking their fangs into your wallet is to simple switch the plug off at the wall.
If you don’t think you’ll remember to do this on a daily basis, you can purchase a timer for your plug socket which will switch it off automatically at the programmed hour. Another great solution is a smart plug so if you forget to switch something off before leaving the house you can do it via the app on your smartphone.
A little less high-tech, but equally as useful, is a strip plug which will save you from having to go round and ensure everything’s been manually turned off
Other general energy saving tips
Get a smart meter installed
Just the act of having a smart meter doesn’t guarantee you cheaper bills, but it automatically submits much more accurate readings to your supplier and allows you to see what’s using up the most energy in your home.
More than 85% of consumers with smart meters have found ways to reduce their energy consumptionꜛ.
Use energy saving light bulbs
Replacing all of the standard light bulbs in your home with energy efficient LED ones could save you up to £35 a year on energyꜜ.
Turn the heating down a little bit
Don’t worry, we’re not suggesting that you eat dinner in sub-zero temperatures. Turning your thermostat by just one degree could save you up to an impressive £80 a yearꜜ.
Insulate your loft
This is a really effective way of keeping your home warm, a quarter of heat is lost through the roof in uninsulated homes, and in the majority of cases it’s a fairly simple job you can do yourself.
Switch your energy
According to Ofgem, 53% of energy consumers in the UK receive their energy by way of a standard variable tariff^. While staying on this default option is convenient, they don’t charge a fixed price per unit of energy meaning they’re subject to sudden fluctuations in price.
To ensure you’re not paying over the odds for your energy use our online comparison tool to take a look at the deals available in your area. It could save you up to a huge £452* on your current tariff.
↑Mirror - August 2019. Leaving your phone charger plugged in all day could be costing you a lot
⬆This is Money - November 2017. How much does our electric blanket cost to run? We’re worried we’ll have a massive energy bill next month.
⥉The Guardian - February 2019 . Energy bills: are your cuppas costing more than you thought?
↓NRCD Issue Paper - May 2014. The Latest-Generation Video Game Consoles, How Much Energy Do They Waste When Your Not Playing?
↟This is Money - October 2019. How useful are smart home tech products? We look at whether the latest leading energy saving gadgets are worth having.
ꜛThe Guardian - September 2019. Smart energy meter rollout deadline pushed back to 2024.
ꜜEnergy Savings Trust - May 2019. Energy saving quick wins.
^Ofgem’s State of the Market Report - October 2019. The proportion of domestic consumers on a default tariff, not including prepayment meter tariffs
*10% of customers switching their gas and electricity suppliers with energyhelpline (and their partners) between 1st Jan 2018 and 30th June 2019 saved £452 or more.