Q: If my electronics have an off switch (like my television), do I still have to worry about vampire energy?
A: Yes. Vampire energy, also know as phantom energy or phantom load, is the electricity used by electronics that are plugged in but not currently in use. Both electronics that have off-switches (such as television sets and laptops) and electronics without off-switches (such as cell-phone chargers) have phantom loads. About 10% of the energy expense in the average American household derives from vampire energy.
You can prevent vampire energy costs by always unplugging your electronics or by plugging all your electronics into a power-strip and switching the power strip off when your electronics are not in use. Unlike most electronics, power-strips are designed to cut off energy flow at the wall, eliminating vampire energy. If you have a last one, lights out policy in your home or office, expand that policy to cover your power-strips as well.