04/24/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Are Vampires Biting Into Your Energy Budget?

So many people these days are trying to figure out how to save green by going green and I thought you might want to learn about a super simple and free way to do so by flipping a switch or pulling a plug.

As a publishing executive, I know that vampires are a hot genre, both in the adult and the children's book categories. But did you know that vampires are also putting their fangs into your wallet, every single day when you're home and even when you're not? "Vampire loads" a.k.a. "phantom loads" are the electricity we all inadvertently consume from appliances that are plugged in, when they are not in use.

My husband, Green Architect and consultant Paul Gleicher and I were looking for ways to lower all of our energy costs and usage and in the process we learned that as much as 75% of all the power in an average home is consumed while the appliances that are plugged in are TURNED OFF!

When you unplug your cell phone from its charger in the morning after charging it overnight do you keep that charger plugged into the outlet? If so, your charger is gobbling up electricity for no reason at all. The same holds true for most of your household appliances. While they appear to be harmlessly hanging out waiting for you to use them, they are harming your bills, and the environment. Unplug, disconnect, turn off, and rid your home of those nasty Vampire Loads.

I did some research to determine which appliances are the worst offenders and here is what I found.The main culprits are TV's, VCR's, cable TV converters, stereos, and computers. Basically anything that has a little green light glowing, or a digital clock showing, is consuming power even if it is not in use. And that's pretty much every electric thing you own, isn't it?

Here's a government list of some of the worst energy drainers, which will vary slightly depending on the size and make of the appliance.

1. set-top box for TV (DVR or something similar)

2. television

3. laptop computer

4. audio system

5. heater

6. printer

7. scanner

8. desktop computer

9. cd player

10. dvd player

11. cordless telephone

12. modem

13. fax machine

14. stereo

15. surge protector

16. microwave oven

In case I haven't convinced you yet, here's one more reason this matters to your energy bills: a side effect of these Vampire Loads is their effect on the cooling of your home. These devices radiate heat into your home, increasing the amount of energy required to cool your home. In the event you don't want to run around unplugging everything you own, invest in a plug strip with an on/off power strip. Replace cordless phones with the good old fashioned corded ones, and you might even like the reception better. You can also use timers to switch off power at the times of the day when you know you won't be needing it.

For more ideas on how to save energy and turn your home greener check out my web site