Even when they're switched to "off," most of the appliances and electronics in your home will continue drawing a little bit of power as long as they remain plugged into the wall.
That's because they're drawing so-called standby power to keep your electric hedge clippers charged, your TV remote at the ready and that tiny digital clock telling time on your coffee maker.
Individually, these "vampire" appliances suck tiny amounts of power. Collectively, they're sapping your energy budget big time, said Alan Meier, a senior scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
He said the average home has 40 such devices that draw power 24 hours a day. Nationally, standby power accounts for about 10% of residential electricity use. Meier said it's even higher in California -- a staggering 13%.
To shed these leeches, simply unplug the stuff that you don't use much of the time, like "the fourth TV in the second guest bedroom," Meier said.
To save wear and tear on your outlets, plug clusters of devices, such as audio and video equipment, into a single power strip that can be switched on and off with ease.
-- Marla Dickerson