Its eleven o'clock at night, and you're midway through your fourth viewing of the "puffy shirt" Seinfeld episode. You feel yourself getting drowsy and, being a responsible energy user, set your sleep timer to turn off in an hour-- just in case you nod off. Sure enough, you slowly drift off to sleep, woefully unaware that in the darkness that ensues, vampires will begin to feed around every corner of your house. Even that television-- your former ally in energy conservation-- is actually sucking you dry!
Even in their slumber, many appliances and other powered devices feed upon a steady trickle of energy otherwise known as "vampire power". Alternatively called stand-by power, it is the necessary infusion of juice that renders these devices ready to activate at the flick of a switch. The energy draw from a single dormant appliance is typically low. But because a typical American household contains dozens of vampire appliances, standby power can account for roughly 5% of residential energy use.
The EnergyStar website has more information on vampire power. Be sure to check out the advertised upcoming two-day conferences about standby power-- talk about nodding off into slumber!