July 25, 2011 -- intro: How high is your monthly electricity bill? With the kind of summer we've had, your power consumption has probably gone through the roof if you've kept the fan and air conditioner on to keep you cool during the ongoing wave of oppressive heat.
There are ways that you can cut back, though. Did you know that certain appliances and electronics will continue to use power even when they're switched off? It's estimated that 10 percent of the average home electricity bill comes from the energy used by these products, which are popularly called "energy vampires."
In fact, a typical family spends $120 dollars per year on the so-called "vampire appliances," from cable and DVR boxes to cordless phone chargers, microwave ovens and video game consoles.
The only way to completely prevent such appliances from using standby power – that is, drawing on the energy supply even after they're turned off -- is to unplug them.
But an aggressive campaign, armed with knowledge about which products draw standby, can cut total standby by as much as a third, according to the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
Here are a few more tips, taken from the Berkeley Lab, to help you cut standby power: