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This unassuming energy vampire -- a cable box -- can be the biggest power user in a home behind air conditioning.
Photo by Mr. T in DC via Flickr Creative Commons
This unassuming energy vampire -- a cable box -- can be the biggest power user in a home behind air conditioning.

Cable boxes can drain so much power that they're often a home's biggest energy suck — behind air conditioning.

When you're asleep or even away from home, there's a little energy vampire at your house. It's sucking off so much power that it can run up your electricity bill, all while doing pretty much nothing.

It's your beloved cable box.

L.A.Times reporter

says that, except for air conditioning, this device is often the biggest energy user in your home.

"A set-top cable box with a digital recorder can consume as much as 35 watts of power, costing about $8 a month for a typical Southern California consumer," he writes.

Power is often drained when it's not in use, too. During this time, the drive might be spinning while it downloads updates, DVRs your favorite show, or updates the firmware. Manufacturers and cable companies have dragged their feet on upgrading the devices to be more energy efficient.

Vartabedian joins Alex Cohen with some advice on how you can you put it on a power diet. 

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