There's a vampire on the loose and it’s taking a bite out of your wallet. But, there's no need to stock up on garlic. This vampire works entirely though your electrical outlets, and stopping it can be as easy as flipping a switch.
Vampire power is also known as phantom load, wall warts, ghost load, standby loss, idle current, and vampire load. These spooky terms refer to the electricity that many gadgets and appliances waste (even if they're switched off) just by being plugged into a socket.
The average U.S. household spends $100 per year to power devices while they are off or in standby mode. Appliances like televisions, computer monitors, and DVD players can also drain power whenever they're plugged into an outlet. Altogether, phantom energy can account for about 10 percent of an individual home's electricity use. It might sound insignificant, until you consider that cutting out that 10 percent may amount to more than a month of “free” electricity every year.
To slay the vampires and phantoms, enable the power management settings on your computer and monitor. You may also want to unplug your devices when they aren't in use. To avoid the hassle of having to crawl behind the computer or TV every night, plug your bundled devices (TV, DVD player, and DVR) into the same power strip and then switch off the power strip. Find more money-saving tips at our Take Care of Texas animated house and energy.gov website.
To protect the quality of our Texas air, the TCEQ rules prohibit outdoor burning anywhere in the state. However, some exceptions exist:
- Ceremonial or recreational fires (as long as they do not cause nuisance smoke or traffic hazards);
- Fires in certain areas of the state where there is no residential trash pick-up; and,
- Under certain conditions, brush burning from on-site land clearing.
There are some items you should never burn, under any circumstances, because such burning would pose a safety or health threat. NEVER burn the following:
- Treated lumber (from construction or demolition waste)
- Heavy oils or asphalt materials
- Potentially explosive materials or chemicals
Alternatives to burning include:
- Disposal in local landfills
Call your local officials (city or county code enforcement office, fire department, or your city or county environmental health department) to make sure burning is permitted under local law or city ordinance. Prevent wildfires by making sure that a burn ban is not in place for your area. For more information and a complete list of dos and don’ts for outdoor burning, download or order Answers to Some Burning Questions.
a new FREE app available — Galveston Bay Drive & Discover Guide. The interactive mobile app blends both human
and natural history at more than 55 sites in seven geographic areas around
Galveston Bay. Full descriptions and driving directions are available along with
helpful maps. The app is now available on iTunes and Google Play.
BACK The BAY and find tips on everyday actions you can take to help keep
Galveston Bay healthy.
NEW Take Care of Texas (GI-430) This
informational brochure highlights Take Care of Texas resources such as:
the interactive website, free publications and educational
materials, available videos and PSAs, and our electronic newsletter. Inspire Texans to take everyday measures to help maintain
environmental quality and conserve Texas’ natural resources. Order FREE
copies of this brochure while supplies last. Send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with GI-430 as the subject line. In the e-mail, include the
quantity and your street mailing address. We cannot ship to a P.O. Box.
to Some Burning Questions: This brochure provides general information to help people in Texas be aware of the basic
rules and recommendations regarding outdoor burning in a residential setting. Order FREE copies of this brochure while supplies
last. Send an e-mail to email@example.com with GI-415 as the subject line. In the e-mail,
include the quantity and your street mailing address. We cannot ship to a P.O.