Thursday, May 3, 2012

Phantom energy users proliferate

Nearly everyone has more appliances, more rechargers and more electronics than ever. That means more phantom energy users. About 10 percent of your power use could be attributed to things you aren’t using.

The average home has about 40 phantom energy users: TVs, stereos, modems, sound bars, DVD players, game consoles, satellite dishes, cable boxes, automatic coffee makers and more. And then there are chargers used for shavers, laptops, tablets, cameras, cell phones, cordless power tools, digital music players and more. Even when not charging anything, they continue to use power when plugged in.

To save power (and money), you should unplug the devices or control them with a power strip or timer. Controlling the power to such devices could save the equivalent of a month of free electricity each year.

You can find the primary phantom users by plugging an appliance or device into an energy monitor. Search online or check local hardware stores to find models starting as low as $25. You plug the monitor between a device and outlet to check the reading for energy use when the device is “off.”

Remember that all appliances and electronics with remote control use standby power to receive commands from the remote. Others use standby power to keep programming and settings in place and provide “instant” on. But the convenience comes at a price. As a consumer, you need to decide if it’s worth it.

If you want to get rid of phantom energy users, locate and control them.

More money-saving tips

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