A so-called ‘vampire device’, also sometimes called a phantom device, is any device or appliance that continues to use energy whilst not in use. This invisible energy use is easy to overlook, but it can add up on your energy bills.
Don’t worry, vampire devices can be defeated - and it won’t involve any garlic.
Save energy by turning off at the plug.
In the UK, the average household spends around £65 a year powering devices left on standby1.
To avoid wasting energy whilst your devices are not being used, you can either turn them off at the plug socket or unplug them. This will prevent the device from using any electricity at all – saving you money on your bill.
How to save energy with hard to reach plugs.
Many of us have plug sockets in difficult to reach places, behind furniture or hidden by large appliances. Instead of rearranging the room every time you’re ready to switch off the plug, you could try investing in Smart plugs.
Smart plugs connect to your internet so that you can control the plug from an app on your phone. They provide all the convenience of a TV remote but they fully turn off your device, rather than putting it on standby. Some models may even let you schedule times to turn the device off automatically, such as overnight or whilst you are at work.
To use a Smart plug, you simply plug it into the wall socket and then you plug your device into the Smart plug.
Whilst Smart plugs are technically vampire devices themselves, they only require a small amount of power to run. They are generally highly energy efficient, so they could still save you electricity – especially when paired with your more energy intensive appliances.
Vampire devices that cannot be switched off.
Not all devices can be switched off. Appliances such as fridges, freezers, and Smart home devices need to be on all the time to do their job.
To help further reduce your energy use (and bills), opt for more energy efficient appliances when replacing your old ones. This will reduce your energy use whilst using your devices, but also the energy drain caused by them being on standby.
How to check the energy efficiency of appliances.
Check the appliance rating of your devices to find out how energy efficient they are - an A rating is the most energy efficient and G is the least. You can usually find the appliance rating on a sticker on the device itself or on the packaging.
Appliance ratings changed in 2021. Keep an eye out for our upcoming guide to learn more about appliance ratings, and find out how the new ratings affect your old appliances.
By taking the simple action of switching off at the plug, you can help to reduce the energy drain of vampire devices and save money on your electricity bill. For more ideas on how to use less energy and lower your bills, see how many of our energy saving tips you can try at home.
Make your home smarter with a smart meter.
Switching to a smart meter means you can see exactly what you are spending on your energy in real time. Knowledge is power when it comes to powering your home, so take control of your energy use and make budgeting a cinch. Together we can reduce energy bills as well as carbon emissions. Find out how you can get a smart meter for your home.
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