Turning off appliances when not in use will help save money however; simply turning off the appliances will not eliminate ‘phantom power draws’ in your home. The way to eliminate phantom power usage is by unplugging appliances that are not in use.
‘Phantom power draws’ come from appliances that operate in standby power mode when the appliance is not in active use and is still plugged into a power outlet. It is estimated that the “average home has 40 appliances that are continually drawing power.” The phantom power drawn from a plugged-in radio, computer, television, or coffee maker are small but when combined, it can account for as much as 10% of the energy your household consumes. The largest draw of phantom power is typically any device that operates with a remote control. For example, televisions, garage door openers, DVD players, appliances with external power supplies, printers, routers, computers, handheld gaming devices, microwaves, coffeemakers, alarm clocks, and devices with digital clock displays. Your laptop and cable box are the highest phantom power consumers, drawing between 10 and 50 watts even when in “off” mode.
To save on your energy bill in your home or office, here are a few tips to consider:
- Always use energy-efficient equipment
- Turn off machines when not in use and unplug those that you can
- Use Energy-Star labeled devices – these can help you realize a savings of between 30-65% in energy usage
- When not in use, put computer into low-power consumption mode
- Plug your laptop into a power strip that can be turned off when not in use
- Screen savers do not really save on energy use so put the computer into “sleep” mode or turn it off
General home energy saving tips include:
- Using Energy-Star appliances and home electronics
- Unplug appliances when not in use to cut down on phantom power draw. Use quality power strips for electronic devices to make it easier to switch the power off when not in use, which will help cut down on phantom power draw
- Use rechargeable batteries for digital cameras and cordless phones rather than using disposable batteries
Talk with a qualified electrician to uncover more phantom draw devices in your home and to schedule a home energy audit with an electrical inspection.