Energy vampires in your home -

Energy vampires in your home

They're lurking all over your house, apartment and even the office, draining your wallet dry. They are energy vampires. Seemingly harmless devices from cell phone chargers to microwaves are constantly sucking electricity and you are paying for it.

Sally Thelen of Duke Energy says there are several easy things to do that could save you up to $200 a year.

"Just unplug it and that's going to save you a lot," says Thelen.

Televisions, chargers, and gaming systems left plugged in are costing you big bucks even if they're turned off. It may seem like they aren't using a lot of electricity, but add it up and it makes sense.  Two televisions, a DVD player, video games, computers, and all of your chargers…in the end you will notice a difference by simply unplugging them.

"If you can get in more of the habit of unplugging them when you are finished using them, that will certainly save you, during the course of the year, upwards of 100 to 200 dollars," says Thelen.

Your thermostat is another place you can save real cash. Gas or electric heat, if you turn it down just a few degrees while you are not home and while you are sleeping, that little bit will add up.

The Duke Energy website is one of many resources that has tools to help guide you through the process. The thermostat calculator allows you to customize the calculations. Just plug in your numbers, make the adjustments, and watch the prices fall.

Energy-efficient appliances can also save almost $30 a month if you buy the right kinds of microwaves, refrigerators and dishwashers. Also, washing clothes in cold water rather than hot will cut down on electricity to heat the water.

Thelen also suggests looking into a Smart Strip if you use power strips for computers, televisions, and other electronics.  The Smart Strip will prioritize your objects and keep certain things powered off until you are ready to use them.

"You can pick one of those up at Walmart, Home Depot or any type of hardware store," says Thelen.

For more information on the thermostat calculator and other energy saving tips, click here

Copyright 2011 America Now. All rights reserved.

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