Kill the ‘Phantoms’

Use Power Strips to Your Advantage

Electronics and miscellaneous appliances are the second largest category of home electricity usage — nearly $300 for the average household. Some experts estimate that up to 75% of these costs are for “phantom power” — situations where these devices are using electricity even when you think they are “off.” 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.

Video: Find Out More About Phantom Energy Costs

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. The top culprits for phantom electricity usage are: televisions, VCRs, cell phone chargers, computer monitors, printers, and video game consoles.

Video: See a Kill-a-Watt in Use

Fast-forward to minute 6:15 of this video to see a Kill-a-Watt in action.