Part of the LEAP family

Is My Device a Vampire?

You asked. We investigated.

As part of Energy Action Month in October, LEAP and the 5th Graders at Peabody School worked to discover the vampires that are hiding in our homes, schools, and businesses. Vampires are electronic devices and appliances that draw electricity when they not in use. Note: We’ve included devices that draw electricity when in standby mode as vampires.

Not all plugged in devices are vampires, so students and LEAP staff used an electricity usage monitor to test various devices below. Here are the combined results of our findings.

Vampires (These devices use electricity even when they are switched off. Again, we’ve included some devices that use energy when in standby mode.)

  • CD player (We tested a Sony.)
  • Coffee makers with clocks (We tested Black & Decker and Mr. Coffee.)
  • Computer charger (We tested a Hewlett Packard.)
  • Computers (We tested a Hewlett Packard.)
  • Computer speakers (We tested Samsung and Insignia.)
  • DVD player
  • Electric toothbrush chargers (We tested Oral B.)
  • Game consoles
  • Laptops in sleep mode are vampires, however, when they are shut down completely they are no longer a vampire. (We tested a MacBook Pro.)
  • Microwaves with clocks
  • Ovens with clocks
  • Smart TV (We tested a fairly new Sony TV).
  • Space heater
  • Stereoscope
  • Walkie talkie chargers

The devices below are NOT vampires. (These devices don’t use electricity when they are not in use.)

  • Blender (We tested a new Kitchen Aide blender.)
  • Electric pencil sharpener
  • Electric tea kettle
  • Laptop computer charger (We tested Apple.)
  • Laptops when shut down completely. (We tested a MacBook Pro.)
  • Phone chargers (We tested an iPhone 6. Once the iPhone was unplugged from the charger, the charger cut power automatically.)
  • Table lamp
  • Toaster (We tested a fairly new Kitchen Aide toaster.)

Conclusion

We discovered vampires with electronic devices and appliances that have clocks, that are capable of running in standby mode, and/or need a remote to turn it on. The vampires we found included microwaves with clocks, coffee makers with clocks, computers, and smart TVs. We found that some but not all chargers are vampires. The chargers that were vampires included the chargers for an electric toothbrush and computer speakers.

In general, devices that don’t have clocks and have a clear on/off setting (rather than standby mode) don’t draw electricity when switched off and are therefore NOT vampires. These devices include a blender, electric tea kettle, lamp, and toaster. Newer smartphone chargers also did not draw electricity.

General Tips to Reduce the Effects of Vampires

Here are some simple things you can do to reduce the effects of vampires in your home.

  • Unplug things that you never use just in case it’s a vampire.
  • Unplug vampires when not in use.
  • If it’s inconvenient to unplug a device (e.g., the plug is behind a bookshelf), use a powerstrip that is reachable or a smart plug that can be accessed from your smartphone to turn off the device.
  • For entertainment centers or computer stations, consider a smart powerstrip. These powerstrips have outlets that always have power and other controlling outlets that will automatically cut power to the neighboring outlets when the electrical device (e.g., TV) goes in standby mode or is turned off.

Thank you to our friends at Peabody School for investigating and finding these vampires with us. We are proud of your efforts. Keep up the good work!