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Is there a phantom in your house?

By Mary Ripley on  December 15, 2017

When I came to work at NOPEC, one of the first things I noticed was that they unplug the coffee machine. I have never worked anyplace where they unplugged the coffee machine. In an effort to make my morning much more efficient, I asked why they just don’t save me a few minutes and just keep it plugged in. That was when the evil phantom load first came into my life.

So, what’s the evil phantom load or standby power–or, better yet, vampire power? Here’s a little “did you know.” Did you know your appliances use power even when they are turned off? Yes, it’s the infamous standby power–the power that keeps your TV settings in place and your microwave and VCR clocks working. But, my friends, that doesn’t come free; standby power costs you money. In a joint study by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and several other environmental agencies around the globe, they put the cost of standby power at 10% of your monthly energy bill or about $120 per year.

So, how do you stop the vampire sucking phantom? Unplug it! Seem simple? So, dry your hair, turn it off and unplug it. Brush your teeth, turn it off and unplug it. Surf the web, print your coupons, and turn off the whole power strip. Simple brain game–use it, off it, unplug it!

What are the phantoms living in your house adding an extra 10% to your energy bill?

• TVs

• VCRs, DVD players and DVRs

• Cell phone chargers (and any other battery chargers)

• Clock radios

• Computers and printers

• Coffeemakers

• Power strips

• Microwave ovens

• Any device with a remote control

• Any device with a clock

• Any device that is programmable

• Any device with a power light or standby indicator light

So, some simple tips and tricks:

1. Unplug things like chargers, which continue to use energy when not in use but do nothing extra.

2. Consider leaving your microwave and VCR unplugged until you need them. It’ll mean a few less clocks in your life, but that might actually be nice.

3. Plug all of your computer components into a power strip. Then, flip the strip off when you’re done using your computer. Do the same for your TV, DVD player and other home entertainment devices. Set your computer to go into sleep mode when it’s not in use.

4. Invest in Smart Strip powerstrips, which will automatically cut power to devices that aren’t being used. If you live in FirstEnergy Territory, it’s not too late to sign up for your free power strip!


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