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Casa Verde: Preventing Phantom Loads

In the high-tech world we live in, power strips are as essential as light bulbs. But just as you turn the lights off when you leave a room, you should also get in the habit of turning off your power strip when you're not using it. This helps prevent what eco experts call the "phantom load."

Basically, any time you have a piece of electronic equipment that is plugged in but in standby mode, it's leaking lots of power, wasting energy, and running up your electric bill. And according to Treehugger, it's not a paltry amount: The EPA estimates that 75 percent of energy used in the average home comes from appliances that are thought to be turned off but are merely in standby mode.

Similarly, phantom loads are also created when chargers for cell phones and other electronics are plugged in with nothing attached to them.

To solve the problem, plug your chargers and standby electronics into power strips, and when you're not using the devices, turn the power strips off. Just make sure that any appliances that need to stay on — like external hard drives, fridges, and so on — are plugged in separately.

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Join The Conversation
geohiker geohiker 8 years
interesting! I had wondered about this, so it is interesting to hear it from the EPA
beingtazim beingtazim 8 years
this is a good tip! here in new zealand all plugs have individual switches on them so i always turn the switch off - but maybe it is standard here because of the 240volt power supply?! i wish these kinds of plugs were more common at home, too.
KhanAali KhanAali 8 years
My mom would appreciate this article. She drills me about it all the time... she watched a feature about this on Oprah.
laura1867 laura1867 8 years
News to me ............hmmmmmmmmm
Rowanvamp0 Rowanvamp0 8 years
I'm recently getting into trying to conserve and I was like the first commenter thinking that if it's plugged in and in the off postion it's not drawing power what a shock to see what the EPA says. Nice to see that someone has tried this powerstrip method out and has seen the difference and notice a cut in engery bills..worth a try out on my end also
chancleta chancleta 8 years
i heard about this recently! amazing!
krampalicious krampalicious 8 years
i just recently started doing this and it has DRASTICALLY reduced my electricity bills. i have two power strips full of computer and electronic stuff, and while i'm not using them, i just keep them flipped off. it really does make a difference.
ccsugar ccsugar 8 years
Hmmmm. I heard about this, so I paid close attention to unplugging my phone charger, coffee maker, etc. But then I heard that once they appliace is in the "off" position, there is no electricity being passed through. But I guess I'll go off of what the EPA says!
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