Thursday, November 12, 2015


By Mary Jane Maffini aka Victoria Abbott

Be very afraid! There may be vampires hiding in your home.  Yes, really. I did mean to ask that. Just because you can’t see them, doesn’t mean they’re not there. And no, I don’t mean my relatives dressed up as vamps for Halloween (although they were scary too.)  I mean electricity vampires.

Indeed, this is one more thing to worry about.  While perusing my electricity bill this month, I puzzled about where it was all going.  We have a gas furnace, water heater and stove. We try not to squander power on general principles.  So could a few light bulbs and the odd computer be doing this?

I started to do a bit of research and scared myself silly.  I’ll pass on some of it.

First, look for fangs on your cell phone charger. That little fiend will continue to consume energy if it’s plugged in with no phone and even more power if a fully charged phone is attached.  You may also want to wave some garlic at your digital cable box and make it an entire garlic bulb if it’s a cable box with a DVR (or PVR as ours are known).  

Our homes are  full of vampire devices. Apparently if it has a remote or a clock and it’s plugged in all the time, you will feel the bite.  If it’s a television that stays plugged even while turned off, watch your veins.

Your computer apparently has this deadly inner life too. Eep. 

Who knew?

But we seem to need most of these gadgets. Sometimes I wonder if the old way of writing wasn't a bit better.  You know, when you didn't have to plug anything in and you could wear a hat if it suited you. Then I think of carbon paper and lost 'only copies' of manuscripts.

Back to our adventure: I was on the hunt for vampires hiding right under my nose.

I found that our electronic keyboard (untouched by human hands in the past year), was plugged into the socket in the dark, lonely basement room it inhabits. 

I hate to count the equipment I found in my husband’s office (the part of the house we call “Corporate”), all of it merrily sucking up energy 24/7.  Ka-ching.

What to do?  Well, I have risked sore knees and a dented head, by crawling around unplugging electronics and watching the telltale little red lights go off. Of course, I then have to reverse the process to plug in again when they’re needed.  A better solution seems to be using a power bar with a switch so that all can be turned out at once.  This one is flexible too.


We still have a few plugs that will require getting out the step ladder to turn them off, but I’m working on a solution there.  Did you know there were power bars with timers?   I may be the last person in North America to find out about electricity vampires, but I did have fun sticking stakes through their energy-hogging hearts!
Now all I have to do is see if there’s a noticeable difference when the next bill comes in.

I always enjoy your comments and insights and I bet many of you can give some good tips about ridding our homes of these evil elements.  Let’s hear ‘em!