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Phantom Energy Is Sucking Money out of Your Pocket

Posted by RESNET

Oct 22, 2014 4:03:19 PM

Bet you didn’t know there’s such a thing called phantom energy. But there is and before we tell you what phantom energy is, let us explain what it’s NOT:

  • It is not the name of the new Star Wars movie
  • It has nothing to do with haunted houses or ghosts
  • It isn’t a new luxury sports car or sports drink

Phantom energy, also referred to as “vampire power”, is electricity that is drawn from outlets by equipment that’s been switched off but still plugged in. And believe it or not, this is costing you more money than you might think. In fact, phantom energy can account for up to 15% or more of the total electricity used by electronics.

So, what electronics are we talking about, and how much phantom energy are they consuming? Well, the Energy Center of Wisconsin did a study and put together a list of some office equipment and the average watts-per-hour they use when turned off. Take a look:

  • Treadmill – 5.6 watts
  • Fax machine – 5.2 watts
  • Printer – 4.3 watts
  • Compact stereo – 4.3 watts
  • Tool charger – 4.2 watts
  • Battery charger – 2.6 watts
  • TV, CRT monitor (26 – 31 inches) – 1.3 watts
  • Desktop computer – 2.4 watts
  • Modem – 1.5 watts
  • Scanner – 1.5 watts
  • Monitor – 1.2 watts
  • Laptop computers – 0.7 watts
  • DVD player – 0.4 watts

The phantom energy draw may seem quite small in some cases but the truth is that over time, it can add up and contribute to a higher energy bill. Now we know what you’re thinking: what on earth can one do to avoid this phantom menace? Sorry – couldn’t resist! The good news is that this is a pretty easy problem to solve:

  • Simply unplug gadgets that aren’t being used
  • Use a power strip to cut power to multiple electronic devices
  • Completely turn off any electronics using stand-by power
  • Live in a cave and rely on candle power and the kindness of strangers (okay, maybe not this one)

Energy wastage can end up costing you a significant amount of money, which is no joke.


This content was originally published by the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) here. This content has been republished with the permission of RESNET. RESNET is the independent, national nonprofit organization that homeowners trust to improve home energy efficiency and realize substantial savings on their utility bills. RESNET’s industry-leading standards are recognized by the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, among others.


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