Thermal cameras are now available at the Nelson Public Library. Photo: Submitted

CHECK THIS OUT: Vampire power and ghost load

Avi Silberstein writes about the benefits of the Nelson Public Library’s new thermal cameras

by Avi Silberstein

Nelson Public Library

Ever heard of Vampire Power? How about Ghost Load? No, they’re not Halloween TikTok trends your kids aren’t telling you about — they’re actually terms for what’s called standby power, the energy used by electronic appliances while they are switched off.

That’s right — your computer monitor, even when turned off, is drawing power. So is your coffee maker, and even your furnace. If you’re interested in finding out how much power your appliances are using when they’re on or off, the library has a Kill-a-Watt electricity usage monitor that you can borrow.

Just plug it into a socket and then plug the appliance into the Kill-a-Watt monitor, and you can instantly find out just how much power is being used.

And that’s not the only energy-saving device you can borrow from the library. We’ve also recently purchased four thermal cameras. What’s a thermal camera? It’s a small device that you plug into your smartphone (we’ve got two cameras for Android and two for iPhones) that allow you to see the world through your camera as a thermal image.

Ever see a video of how snakes see the world? The red heat of a mouse hiding behind a rock, the cool blue of water? Our thermal cameras help you find out where the drafts are entering your home, which doors and windows aren’t sealed properly, and much more.

If you’re concerned about Radon gas and want to check the levels in your home, you can borrow one of our Radon gas detectors. We have three of them and they are one of our most popular Library of Things items.

For those of you who are looking to make energy-saving upgrades to your home, and are not sure quite where to start, join Erin Thompson from the RDCK Regional Energy Efficiency Program on Nov. 17 from 7 to 8 p.m. on Zoom to learn about which rebates are available, which are being doubled for a limited time, and what you have to do to be eligible. There will be time for your questions too. (Email to register).

Prefer self-directed learning? We’ve got several books in our collection that might be just what you’re looking for, from The Energy-Smart Home to Green Home Building, as well as magazines that are available both in-library (Fine Homebuilding) and online through the library’s RB Digital subscription (Family Handyman, Homebuilding and Renovating, DIY Home).

So whether you’re concerned with Phantom Load (yet another Halloween-themed term for standby power) or want to retrofit your home to be more energy-efficient, we’re here to help. Just as soon as we’re done crawling around on our bellies with our thermal cameras, seeing the world through the eyes of a boa constrictor.

Avi Silberstein is the Children’s Librarian at the Nelson Public Library. Check This Out runs every other week. For more information on all things Nelson Library go to.