Why you should stop inviting vampire power into your houseTopic: Tech Specs
As folklore goes, vampires can only enter a house when invited. Here in the U.S., millions of people invite them in every day. These aren’t the True Blood or Vampire Diaries kind of blood–sucking vampires, but the kind that leech energy when we leave our chargers plugged into the wall when we’re not using them.
Surprisingly, this little habit is actually contributing to a big global problem. The Department of Energy has even mandated that all chargers be more efficient starting in 2016. The truth about vampire power should persuade you to take action long past Halloween.
What is vampire power?
By definition, vampire power is the energy used by a plugged-in charger even when there’s no device attached to the other end. It can also refer to the power a charger draws after a device has already reached 100 percent, commonly called trickle charge.
It works like this: Voltage coming from the wall is 110-volt Alternating Current (AC). Chargers have to convert that to 5-volt Direct Current (DC). The charger is constantly switching AC to DC and 110 volts to 5 volts even if there’s no device connected, creating unnecessary – or vampire – consumption.
Why it’s sucking the world’s power supply dry
Vampire power wastes energy. For one device, it may not be that much – about a 0.26 watt draw for a typical phone charger. Unplugging when not in use could save you about $5 per year off your electric bill.
But think about how many phones and tablets are charged in your household (the average is four). Multiply that by the number of households in the U.S. (about 116 million), of which 97 percent have a mobile phone.
Based on those numbers, U.S. households could collectively save $2.3 BILLION a year that’s now wasted on vampire power!
In terms of sustainability, mobile phones affect global power consumption more than we assume. If a mobile charger stays plugged in all the time, it uses 2.22 kilowatts of vampire power per year. Multiply that by the 4.8 billion mobile phones being used globally in 2016, and that equals 11,232 gigawatts of vampire power – nearly 10,000 times more energy than the 1.21 gigawatts produced by a nuclear power plant or required to generate a lightning bolt!
So while saving $5 a year on your energy bill might not sound like a big deal, taking two seconds to unplug your charger is a small change in behavior that can make a big global impact. If you’re not into unplugging your charger, you can purchase an eco-friendly charger designed to draw low or no current when not in use, though they can carry a high price tag. Another alternative is to find a charger with a Department of Energy rating VI on the label (like the Ventev wallport or hub range) will help minimize the wasted energy. These little tricks will reduce the strain of vampire power on the world’s electricity infrastructure. And it’s about time we gave the environment a treat.