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Power surge protectors slay HDTV energy vampires and save $150 on power costs

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High-definition televisions are among the most popular gifts given during the holiday season. However, many homeowners aren’t aware that along with breathtaking detail and imagery, HD televisions bring with them a hidden energy vampire that sucks electricity when unused, driving up users’ power costs by an estimated $150 per year.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program defines energy vampires as devices, appliances or tools that ‘slowly suck energy while not providing any useful function’ to homeowners.

EPA states that many other home office devices and home appliances are energy vampires, including cell phone chargers, coffee makers, portable audio device chargers and power tools.

Families that leave multiple unused devices unplugged could be wasting hundreds of dollars each year in electric costs without gaining any significant benefit.

Andy Klein, president of AC Electric, a Rockville-area electric contractor, says that a six-foot power surge protector is the best solution to enable consumers to slay a television’s energy vampire.

‘We tell customers that plug the television and other devices into a surge protector and placed near an entertainment console. The power surge protector can be turned off when the television is not in use, while a digital video recorder (DVR) can be plugged into a separate outlet. The DVR can run independently, enabling families to enjoy their favorite programs without running the television when no one is watching,’ Klein said.

The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that vampire energy devices drain between 5-10 percent of an average home's annual power usage. That translates to an average cost of $130 per household. However, most high-definition televisions draw much more electric current than most appliances, driving up electric costs much higher.

‘A lot of people prefer to keep some appliances plugged in, especially if the device has a digital timer or clock,’ Klein said. ‘However, Pepco says people should consider unplugging devices like toaster ovens, because they are easy to unplug, and it saves money.’

A $20 investment in a power surge protector can provide a silver bullet that tames an HDTV’s impact on electric bills. EPA also reminds consumers to look for the ‘Energy Star’ logo when shopping for appliances to ensure you purchase the most energy efficient appliances on the market.

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