Use Power Strips to Your Advantage
Electronics and miscellaneous appliances are the second largest category of home electricity usage — nearly $200 for the average household. “Phantom power” or situations where these devices are using electricity even when you think they are “off” are the reason. The Department of Energy states that this could power nearly 11,000 homes in this document. Often (but not always) that little green light that is still glowing is a tip-off.
It’s easy and inexpensive to significantly reduce these phantom costs: plug your electronics into power strips and use the on-off switch on the power strip to fully turn off the juice when you are not using the electronic device or appliance. Even better, by selecting power strips that are also “surge protectors” you’ll help prevent your valuable electronic devices from getting fried in electrical storms or power spikes.
Measure Your Phantom Electricity Usage
Use a meter called “Kill-a-Watt” or “Watt’s Up” to tell you how much electricity your appliances and electronics are using, even when turned off. Energy auditors use them as part of energy efficiency reviews for homeowners, and the results can be shocking. In a May 2015 report, the NRDC found that the top culprits were electronic devices like TVs and computers, heating and cooling, lighting, kitchen and laundry appliances and other miscellaneous electrical loads. Learn more about phantom energy on page 16 of this report.
Fast-forward to minute 6:15 of this video to see a Power Monitor in action.