What's the scariest thing in your home? Hopefully it's not your electronics.
While you are out of the room or sleeping peacefully in your bed, many electronics are casting ghostly glow from clocks and display panels. This sneaky electricity use, called phantom power, occurs when devices continue to use electricity even when they are on stand-by mode or turned off.
A little adds up
Phantom power refers to the electricity used by electronics and appliances when they are left plugged in – this power use provides you with little or no benefit. The gentle glow of the red light on your electronics when they are not in use is a steady drain on your pocket book. The cumulative impact of your computer in snooze mode, your plugged in power charger for your cell phone and all of the semi-dormant small appliances across BC add up to a huge environmental impact.
Phantom power accounts can account for 6 to 10 per cent of residential electricity use. In the FortisBC service area alone, that’s equivalent to powering as many as 14,000 homes for a year.
With the average home hosting around 20 of these devices, phantom power loss can account for up to 10 per cent of a household’s energy use or over $100 in additional expense each year. Luckily, fighting the phantom load is easy — just unplug the electronics when they are not in use. Some customers find it simplest to plug many devices into one power bar and then there’s just one cord to remove from the electrical outlet. Look for power bars with a programmable timer to make this task even simpler.
Replace with ENERGY STAR®
If you are planning to replace devices or buy electronic gifts over the holiday season, make sure you don’t invite more phantom power into your home. Purchase products with an ENERGY STAR® rating. These will use less energy during both normal operation and when in stand-by mode.