Beware of Phantom Energy
Don't let energy waste haunt you! Learn how phantom energy may be costing you.
Phantom or standby energy users are devices or appliances that consume electricity even when you aren’t actively using them. While your programmable coffee maker, your cell phone charger and your laptop don’t use much power individually, when you add it up, they can impact your monthly energy use. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, phantom power can account for 5 to 10% of residential energy use. The average family can spend up to $100 a year in phantom energy costs.
Some standby power is useful – without it we couldn’t use remote controls, schedule recordings on our cable box or summon Alexa for the latest weather report. Other uses, however, are not needed, such as cell phone chargers, fans, computers and printers that draw energy while plugged in but often sit idle.
Combat Energy Ghosts
Reduce your phantom energy use by following these simple tips:
- Unplug your devices – The easiest way to reduce phantom energy is to unplug your phone chargers, audio and video equipment and other electronic equipment when you are not using them.
- Use power strips – When you use power strips, you can cut off the phantom energy being drawn from multiple devices by simply flipping the switch. There are also specially designed “smart” power strips that can automatically cut off power when the equipment is plugged in but turned off.
- Check for the Energy Star label - Energy Star-rated devices use less standby power, and less power all around. Look for the Energy Star label when you purchase new devices or appliances.
- Check out a portable energy meter – To figure out which of your devices may be drawing the most phantom power, check out a free energy meter from the local library. The meters measure the voltage, electricity cost and electric consumption on your appliances. In addition to determining how much phantom power your appliances draw, you also can use energy meters to identify high energy users in your home and calculate the payback for replacing older equipment.
Following these easy tips can add up to savings. Bust those phantom energy ghosts today!