Stopping 'power vampires' from bleeding your budget

As we get closer to those summer days where air conditioning is essential, many people in the Valley are looking to cut costs in their power bills in advance of the higher demand.

Look towards cutting the power to so-called "electricity vampires" around your home. Any non-essential device or appliance that has a standby light, even when the device is turned off, is constantly drawing energy and plumping up your monthly bill. Unplug these devices or make sure the power strip they are connected to is switched off when not in use.

Even devices without standby modes are guilty of consuming wasted energy. Cell phone chargers and similar power cords draw some small amount of electricity even when there is nothing connected to it, so check to make sure they are not plugged in when they are not needed.

Finally, it may be wise to invest in a second battery for that laptop computer. When continuously plugged into AC power, notebook batteries are constantly power-cycling, which shortens the life of the battery as well as consumes unnecessary power from the wall.

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