Turn Off and Unplug
by Denise Monteleone
Not all electrical devices stop using electricity when they are turned off. Some items continue to use “Standby Power” or "Phantom Energy”. The definition of “Standby Power” is the power consumed by a product when in the lowest power consuming mode. This typically occurs when the product is switched off or not performing its primary purpose. Examples are appliances that have a lighted up displays, glowing clocks, power tools, battery chargers and just about anything that has a remote control to start them up. Appliances such as televisions, computer monitors, and DVD players can also draw power whenever they're plugged into an outlet. Altogether, Standby Power can account for about 10 percent of an individual home's electricity use. This may add up to as much as a month of free electricity every year. Consider plugging bundled devices- TV, DVD player, and DVR, or computer, monitor, and printer- into the same power strip (if it is rated for the entire electrical load of the appliances)and then turning off the power strip when not in use for long periods of time. At work, turn off office lights when at lunch and consider unplugging any equipment that is not used for long periods of time, close all office windows and turn down the heat. Before buying new electronics, first check the information from the Federal Energy Management Program at the U.S. Department of Energy and only buy “ENERGY STAR” items.
Last Modified: December 22, 2010