Phantom Power

There are many ways to save energy. You are probably familiar with most of them, such as finding the best electricity rates, but a lot of people aren’t aware of phantom power. Homes have more electronic devices and appliances than ever before, and almost all of these items are plugged in at all times, even when they are not being used. However, just because they aren’t in use does not mean they aren’t draining power. In many cases, they continue draining power so that they are ready to use when you need them, as opposed to having to wait for a period of time for them to warm up.

Phantom power is the power that is drained while something is plugged in but not in use. It’s a tiny amount of power, but when so much is plugged in at once, it can add up. Some estimates claim that there are about 50 items plugged in at all times in the average American home. Those 50 items can use up a large percentage of a household’s energy during the time they are plugged in but not being used. In fact, up to 25% of their energy use comes from when they are turned off. Here are some ways that you can save money on your electricity costs from phantom power.

Track It

First things first. You can track how much power your plugged-in devices and appliances are using. Purchase a monitoring device that can be plugged into technology to tell how much energy they are using when they are idle. This will give you an idea of exactly how much power is being wasted. Another option is to check with your local hydro company. They may offer a service for seeing how much power you have used during certain times of day. If you check for the overnight hours, or the times that you are at work, then that will also give you a picture of how much electricity is being used up by plugged in items. Taking these steps will allow you to identify which appliances and devices are using up power when idle so that you can take action to reduce the amount of energy that’s wasted.


If your household is like millions of others in the United States, then you have charging cords plugged into outlets in seemingly every room in the house. Perhaps each family member has their preferred outlet where their cord is always plugged in. If you leave a charging unit plugged in while you are at work, and find that it is warm when you come home, then it is using electricity even though no device is attached to it. There is no reason for all of these cords to remain plugged in at all times. Make sure they are unplugged when they are not in use. If you use those outlets as a way to keep track of your cord, then consider getting a power bar that can be turned off when not in use. That way you won’t lose your charging cord, and you also won’t lose power that will add up on your energy bills.

Gaming Consoles

Around 60% of Americans play video games. That means that millions of households have at least one gaming console, and many have several. Gaming consoles use up a lot of energy, since they are transmitting signals from the remote to the console, receiving a wifi signal, and running the processes for playing the game. However, they also are made to stay in a standby mode so that they are ready to play at a moment’s notice. To reduce phantom power, you can enable an energy-saving mode on many consoles that will take them out of standby mode. Handheld consoles also do not use phantom power, since they run on batteries. Just think of the money you could put towards new games if you didn’t waste so much on phantom power.

Buy Energy-Efficient Products

Older appliances and devices may not have been built with energy conservation in mind. However, that is not the case nowadays. If you are buying new appliances, make sure to purchase only Energy Star rated products. These have been tested and are certified as being as efficient as possible. This is not only good for your energy usage, but it is more eco-friendly as well.

Unplug Everything You Can

What it really boils down to is that you should unplug all of your appliances and devices when they are not in use. Of course that might not be possible for everything, such as very large appliances like your oven or washing machine, but the more you unplug, the more you will conserve and save.

Smart Accessories

If you are not able to unplug some items because of where they or the outlet is located, then consider using a power bar that can be shut off or has a timer. Some power bars even have motion sensors and other features that control when and in what situations they will turn on. These include products that will shut down if there is no motion in the area for whatever amount of time you specify. There are also power strips that work to prevent power going from a “master” device to anything that is connected to it. Your computer provides power to accessories, such as speakers, the mouse, and the printer. A smart power strip will stop any power going from the computer to those accessories while it is turned off, which will limit how much phantom power the computer uses.

Even though devices and appliances are more energy-efficient than ever before, the sheer volume of them means that we are using more electricity. Phantom power can be a big drain on your energy consumption, and can affect your power pills. By taking steps to reduce it, you will be more eco-friendly and save money in the long run.