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!


Anonymous said...

I knew about the electricity vampires but didn't even think about the chargers for the phone and the Kindle needing to be unplugged as soon as the devices are fully charged.

Last week when you asked about books for kids, I said I had found some neat fact books geared for young kids. The books are called "I Wonder Why ..." and can be found under both and I Wonder Why books. Sold on Amazon, B&N, and those websites. Cordella

Mary Jane Maffini said...

Thanks, Cordella! I am glad to know about the I Wonder Why books and will follow up.



SueAnn said...

Our local Electric co-op preached this a million times during the year.....hubby did not like to have to turn on and off, the TV...!! LOL! He hardly watches..but....This goes for all things floor lamps, table lamps, that you have, and do not use a lot..need to be un plugged too....radios, record players(yeah, we still have one), tape players.the whole shabang, has to be un DID try this, a few years ago..when we first moved here...and the difference was SO minute......was not worth the trouble of all the on and off..even with power strips...some things on those strips have clocks and timers that need to be reset all the have to consider the washer and dryer also....and...if you have outdoor electric, like we do, for our back acres at night...those would have to be on and off the plugs....We did do this..or..really I DID it...hubby had no patience..and was not much all....This is good..for things you do not that keyboard..and sleeping office stuff....It is all up to what you want to do MAY help...the biggest draw of electric...we discovered...was the stove......and there is NO WAY I am plugging and unplugging that every time....
They do sell cheaply, a gizmo, that you can take to each item plugged in, to see what the electric is, going thru the plug to the item....and that helps to determine what you keep in or out....Our co-op, lends these out..maybe your electric company does too> ? Also, the microwave is a huge energy eater....It is a give and take....the value of about 2 dollars a month....for us.....was not worth the time EVERY day, to plug in, IS a good thing to know about..and be aware about.

Mary Jane Maffini said...

Thanks for the tip about the microwave, Sue Ann. My hubby is also dragging his heels on this, but I am going to stick to it for a while. We will probably get our mitts on the gizmo you mentioned. at some point. I was very suspicious of our electric kettle and switched to a stop top one. Our stove is gas and much cheaper than electricity.


SueAnn said...

gas stoves are great! Out here in no man's land...electric is all we have, or....I could use a wood burning one!!! LOL!! Ask your electric company about that gizmo..and I know you can buy one cheaply too....if you know an electrician friend, they will have it also.