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How to drive a stake into the heart of your home's energy vampires

Halloween may be over, but not all of the monsters have gone back into hiding just yet. There are some that never quite go away and what's even scarier is that their in your home right now. These monsters need a constant food supply, and they get it because most homeowners fail to find a way to starve them. 

Yes, we're talking about energy vampires. And while you can't see them, smell them or hear them, they make their presence felt in one horrifying way – on your energy bill. Disturbingly, energy vampires inhabit the bodies of your favorite gadgets and leech on your power supply even when the products have been turned off. This can be disheartening because no matter the lengths you go to to save energy by obsessively turning everything off when you aren't using it, you're still wasting energy and paying for it. And yes, this can even happen in some energy efficient products.

The thing with energy vampires is that, as individuals, they don't actually consume all that much. But when they work together, they are an absolute nightmare. The U.S. Department of Energy reported that altogether, energy vampires can add 10 percent or more to your monthly energy bill. This is especially discouraging if you've made investments in things like solar power for your home, only to find out you're hindering your energy saving capabilities. 

Don't let your efforts to save energy and money go to waste by allowing these energy vampires to take over your home unchecked. Here are a few ways you can tackle these monsters and banish them once and for all.

Energy vampire hunting for rookies
One of the easiest ways to kill an energy vampire is to simply cut it off from its food source. You can do this by just unplugging all of your devices when they aren't in use. Cell phone chargers are one of the most insidious energy vampires – they draw power even when your phone isn't attached to it.

One downside to this technique, however, is that you're required to stay on top of it. We all say we're going to unplug everything, but let's be honest: It's the kind of thing that's easy to forget.

New power strips cut off the food supply
If you're looking for a more potent weapon with which you can fight your gadgets' passive assault on your energy bill, look no further than energy-efficient power strips. USA Today reported that there are several power strips available today that hinder the feeding of energy vampires.

These power strips have the ability to cut the power to the connected devices 100 percent, without necessitating you going around trying to unplug everything when you're done using it. Best of all, these energy vampire-killing power strips will only run you about $10 – not a bad investment when you consider the energy bill savings it will allow.

Energy efficient devices make bad hosts for vampires
The Energy Star branded line has been particularly notable in slaying these insidious monsters, and make for great replacements for non-energy efficient devices and appliances. It should be noted, however, that these products do still leech some energy when left plugged in, though not nearly as much as the alternatives.

Fight technology with technology – get smart
You might be dismayed to find out that you're actually the one feeding the energy vampires. Leaving things plugged in, or even worse, turned on is a major contributor to high energy bills. We all know it's tough to stay on top of these things, but it might help to admit we can't fight these monsters alone.

You can go beyond just upgrading to Energy Star equipment by adding some "smart" functionality to some of your most common household devices. Smart thermostats come with sensors that can detect when people are occupying a space and when they aren't and adjust the temperature accordingly. Smart lighting (LED obviously) works in the same way, shutting itself off when it doesn't detect human presence.

These devices can cover our blind spots and help us banish these cursed monsters once and for all.

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