Energy Guide: Solutions to Phantom Power

Written by: Citlalli Arteaga

Phantom power is a common problem throughout households. Most residents are not aware of phantom power, hence the name. Phantom power is the electricity drawn from devices left plugged in but turned off. Phantom power creates a problem not only to our environment but to our pockets as well. Phantom power consumes energy even when a device is off, leading to energy waste. There are many simple, yet effective, ways to solve this problem.

Appliances and devices that consume Phantom power are:

  • Televisions
  • Computers
  • Some kitchen appliances
  • Gaming consoles
  • Phone chargers

For example, a TV is typically left plugged in 24 hours a day. You may notice a small red light on your TV, even when it is off. This red light is consuming phantom energy. Another example is a microwave staying plugged in to keep the clock available. The average home has 40 or more appliances or devices that consume phantom power.

There are small changes that can lead to big results regarding phantom power. Small gadgets can help reduce phantom power. Devices like phone chargers are often left plugged in and forgotten. These devices are usually plugged into a standard powerstrip. You can reduce phantom power by flipping the switch and turning off the whole strip. This disconnects all the devices all at once.

Another effective way to reduce phantom power around the house is to purchase a smart powerstrip. Smart powerstrips are color coded. They have specific outlets for devices that need to always remain on and devices that can be powered off. The smart powerstrips can automatically turn off power to the devices that can be powered off, but leave on the devices that need to remain always on. You just have to take a few minutes to set it up accordingly!

Lastly, for any upgrades around the house, always upgrade to Energy Star appliances. Energy Star appliances are more energy efficient and some can even learn patterns to draw less energy when not in use. Energy Star appliances save on energy bills and help the environment as well.

Overall, phantom power is a common yet often unspoken energy consumer. It can easily be reduced by making small yet effective changes. These changes will not only help the environment but also help save money on energy bills.


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