power strip phantom power


Back in the day I used to hear a lot about phantom energy, but I haven’t heard that phrase lately. Is it still a concern for energy use? 



Alas, phantom energy did not just ghost on us. The draw of power from devices and appliances that are turned off, but are still plugged in, can account for 10-15 percent of your electric bill. 

The most obvious ways to tell if an electronics is an energy phantom is to look for lights and to check the plug. Lights and clocks indicate that the device is using standby power and if it has an adapter box at the plug that is warm, it is still drawing power. The same goes for a device that is 100 percent charged, but is still plugged in – being at its limit does not mean that the outlet stops drawing power.

The most obvious way to fix phantom energy is to unplug electronics when fully charged or not in use, but that is not always easy to do. A regular power strip can help by allowing you to flip one switch to stop all devices from using power. A smart power strip is even better as it allows certain devices to always stay on, while other devices stop drawing power based on a control outlet.

In our house, small appliances, like the blender and coffee maker, get unplugged when not in use. We try not to charge phones and other rechargeable batteries overnight, unplugging them when they are at 100 percent. The entertainment center is set up with a smart power strip with the television as the control, the gadgets (Apple TV, speaker and whatever else Chris has in there) are plugged in to no-idle outlets, and the internet router is always on. This set up would also be ideal for an office with a computer, printer and other electronics.

One challenge in our household is the cordless vacuum that, to date, has always been plugged in, but at your prompting, is now unplugged. We’ll see if that causes frustration because it won’t be charged enough to finish the job when it’s time to vacuum…

Piece out,


Renee Sweany is NUVO's green living advice blogger.

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