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Idle power: What you need to know


You can see them late at night, those little lights glowing on game consoles, cable boxes and other electronic devices all around your dark house. They're called phantom loads and they continue draw power day and night, even when no one is around.

Although that sounds frightening, you can really feel the presence of these diabolical devices when you get your energy bills. Energy waste from phantom power can cost you up to $100 a year or more, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Scary.

Getting rid of the energy ghosts

You can protect your home and your energy budget with these power-saving measures:

  • Plug electronic devices into advanced power strips or smart plugs, which automatically cut power to devices that are not in use.

  • Enable power management "sleep" settings on home office equipment, such as computers and printers.

  • Unplug unused chargers as well as any rarely used electronic devices in your home.

  • Purchase ENERGY STAR®-certified electronic devices. ENERGY STAR products are independently tested to use less energy than standard devices and they draw less phantom power.

Now you can relax knowing that you've rid your home and bills of energy waste from phantom loads.

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Corporate Editorial Team