Kathy Kristof writes a good article about household "Vampire" energy costs that have been picked up by a number of papers. In her article she discusses how a number of household appliances/electronics continue to use energy even when not in use. Some of the key points and advice include:
* Use a power strip to service your entertainment system. That way, you don't have to reach behind the large TV to unplug the TV and supporting equipment.
* Cell phone charges are a common energy "vampire."
* Refrigerators use less energy when they are full.
* A rarely used refrigerator in the garage or basement can burn through about $300 per year. Consider unplugging it if you're not keeping it full.
* Keep A/C filters clean.
* Employ fans to help cool your house. Fans can make a room feel 5 degrees cooler.
* Use a programmable thermostat for home A/C so that you're not cooling your house when away from home.
* Inspect windows for heat/cooling leakage.
* Schedule your home for an energy audit by your utility company. A common house owner can cut energy bills 30% by taking all suggestions from an energy audit.
Here's Ms. Kristof's article.