Don’t Let Phantom Power Trick You into Higher Energy Usage

By: Andy Schonert
| Published 10/27/2020

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THE WOODLANDS, TX – While ghosts and goblins only come out at Halloween, phantom power can haunt your electric bill year-round. With a few tips and tricks, however, you can scare away unnecessary energy usage.

Phantom power, also known as standby power, vampire power or phantom load, is the energy used by certain plugged-in appliances and electronic devices, even when they are in standby mode or turned off.

The most common culprits include electronics with remote controls, built-in clocks or timers and instant-on features such as televisions, computers, printers and video game consoles.

While it might seem like a trivial amount, it’s spooky how much wasted energy can add up over time and affect monthly utility bills. According to the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, phantom power accounts for as much as 10% of residential electricity usage.

High electric bills can be frightening, but with a little care and attention, they don’t have to be. Use these tips to keep high electric bills from haunting you.

• Vanquish phantom load by turning off appliances and electronics that use power even when you’re not using them. These “vampires” sit in stand-by mode and suck energy that can add to the cost of your bill. Plug these devices into power strips and turn them off regularly with the push of a button.
• Banish sneaky phone chargers and power adapters by unplugging them and whatever they are charging when not needed.
• Trap escaping air from windows and doors by using caulking or weather stripping leaky areas and closing chimney flues.
• Ward off witches by lowering the heat on that fiery cauldron (aka water heater).
• Scare away ghosts with LED bulbs, which last longer and use less energy than traditional bulbs.
• Guard against evil power surges from lightning or voltage spikes by using surge protectors on expensive electronics and appliances.
• ‘Mummify’ your house with new insulation in walls and attics.
• Engage the superheroes of energy efficiency with the Entergy Solutions program.
• Treat yourself to a new Energy Star-rated appliance.

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