Vampire electric devices sucking money from your bank account

Rob Bohm is a consultant who specializes in protecting people like me from parasites that lurk in our living rooms, bedrooms, kitchens and offices – creatures that constantly suck money from our bank accounts around the clock. .

Because they do most of their damage at night, consuming power when left on, even when not in use, these electrical devices are called “vampire devices” – named after the mythical creature sucking from blood.

Taken together, say experts such as Rob, they are costing Britain billions of pounds a year in wasted electricity.

Drain: “Vampire Devices” – named after the mythical blood-sucking creature – deal most of their damage at night, draining energy even when not in use

And with the war in Ukraine drastically reducing gas supplies and a huge unassociated rise in fuel prices due to the lifting of the price cap next month, this adds unnecessarily to the shocking rise in the cost of living.

Rob, 57, says: “There are vampires everywhere. These are electrical appliances, chargers and lights all over your home, devices that suck power from the mains – constantly – even when you think they’re off.

Individually they are cheap, but collectively and over time they can add hundreds of pounds to your annual electricity bill.

A recent study by British Gas, the UK’s largest electricity supplier, estimated that up to 23% of our electricity consumption could be attributed to vampiric energy.

It comes at a time when, next month, the energy price cap imposed by regulator Ofgem will rise by 54%, from £1,277 a year for the average user to £1,971.

The electrical element of this will drop from an average of £548.10 to £580. And with the war in Ukraine looking interminable and another price cap increase in October, average household annual electricity bills could top the £800 mark.

If that happens, vampire appliances could cost up to £200 a year for the average household.

Around my house, Rob, an energy expert at construction project consultants CLPM, is finding more and more vampire appliances.

“Look at this,” he says, pointing to a five-outlet adapter sprouting power cables next to my desk. There is a phone charger on it but my phone is not connected to the cable. So what is the problem?

“Phone charger outlets draw power all the time, even if they’re not charging your phone,” says Rob. “They have a transformer inside that uses small amounts of power the whole time they’re plugged in.”

I’m starting to count the number of chargers in my house that I never bother to unplug from their outlet.

Depending on its size, a standby TV will use around 4W/hour, which equates to around £10 a year - or significantly more in a home with multiple TVs.

Depending on its size, a standby TV will use around 4W/hour, which equates to around £10 a year – or significantly more in a home with multiple TVs.

There are two phone chargers, one for an iPad, two for our electric toothbrushes, one for my Bluetooth headphones, one for my wife’s portable speaker. . . I could go on.

“And,” Rob said. ‘Your printer is sleeping. You can see the LED display. It uses around £10 of electricity a year. And your hi-fi amplifier is on too. This could represent up to 30 W/hour. Do you leave it on all the time?

Well, yes, but I read somewhere that you get better sound quality if you leave it on standby.

Rob rolls his eyes. “It could cost you up to £73 a year.”

Rob’s audit continues. TVs consume power all the time unless they are switched off from the mains, automatically remembering the last channel you watched, power-draining LED screens and electronics waiting to be woken up by your remote control.

Rob points to my TV, which is on standby. “Depending on its size, a television in standby will consume around 4 W/hour”, he specifies. “That equates to around £10 a year – or a lot more in a house with multiple TVs.”

The timers and displays of your microwave and alarm clock, oven and thermostat, stereo and DVD player, wifi router and Sky box, dishwasher and washing machine – all consume electricity when on standby.

Last year British Gas estimated the national cost of vampire electricity at £2.2billion. When next month’s price rise is taken into account, this will rise to around £3.3 billion.

“The main culprits are TVs and games consoles on standby, as well as laptops and phones charging,” says Marc Robson, smart energy expert at British Gas.

“Our research last year [before the Ofgem price cap rises] showed that households could save an average of £110 on their electricity bills by switching off these devices from the mains.

“Across the country, people are unnecessarily overcharging their cell phones and laptops. The charger will still draw power from the mains even if the phone or laptop is fully charged.

‘As soon as your device is fully charged, get into the habit of unplugging it. Not only does this save power, but it also extends battery life. It could also save you around £60 a year on your energy bills.

A recent study by British Gas, the UK's largest electricity supplier, estimated that up to 23% of our electricity consumption could be attributed to vampiric energy.

A recent study by British Gas, the UK’s largest electricity supplier, estimated that up to 23% of our electricity consumption could be attributed to vampiric energy.

The energy audit of my house by my vampire slayer Rob turns out to be an embarrassing revelation. He stops in front of an outlet and points to a device that I had completely forgotten. It’s a mouse repellent.

“We had a mouse about five years ago,” I say. ‘I haven’t seen any of the little blighters for years now.’

‘But you left it plugged in. . . even if you don’t have a mouse? Mouse repellents can be used in the region of 8W/hour. That works out to £20 a year – and he’s been plugged in for five years.

It shows my laptop, which is in sleep mode. “A laptop in standby will consume about 15 W/hour,” he explains. “That equates to around £36 a year.

“One of the biggest users in your home will be your Sky Box. This can consume up to 30W/hour. That works out to around £73 a year.

And while these aren’t vampire devices, Rob berates me for having old-fashioned incandescent bulbs instead of LEDs. “An average incandescent bulb would be 50W, while an LED is 6W,” he says.

A poll for British Gas last year found that 45% of its customers had never been so keen to save on their energy bills, but 31% had no idea their appliances were costing them money when they were idle.

However, 23% said they would continue to leave devices on standby, with 43% of this group saying that turning them off “wasn’t worth saving”.

After Rob Bohm’s audit of my house killing vampires, I think I’ll save over £300 a year if I follow his advice.

I wonder how much my ignorance has cost me personally and the damage I have caused to the environment.

To say I ran around £100 extra in electric bills for an electric mouse deterrent when I don’t even have a mouse.

Here are Rob’s top tips for saving a small fortune:

  • Make sure that when you turn off your TV, you do so against the wall. The standby light uses a small amount of power and it uses power while being primed to receive a signal from the remote if needed to turn on. New TVs consume less standby power than older models.
  • The same goes for the dishwasher or the washing machine – if a light is on, a small amount of energy is still used. Newer energy-efficient models have settings that turn the unit off after a wash cycle.
  • Add all electronic devices (computer, game console, Sky box, TV) to an extension cord and turn everything off overnight. This avoids having to deactivate them individually.
  • A smart meter’s home display can help identify the amount of energy used at different times of the day.
  • Timing is everything; do not leave chargers plugged into your devices after they are fully charged. Other items that can also be overloaded are electric toothbrushes and cordless vacuum cleaners.

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