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2013-11-07

Vampires, ghosts, & warts suck power

Courtesy TCEQ

There's a vampire on the loose and it's taking a bite out of your wallet. But, there's no need to stock up on garlic. This vampire works entirely though your electrical outlets, and stopping it can be as easy as flipping a switch.
Vampire power is also known as phantom load, wall warts, ghost load, standby loss, idle current, and vampire load. These spooky terms refer to the electricity that many gadgets and appliances waste (even if they're switched off) just by being plugged into a socket.
The average US household spends $100 per year to power devices while they are off or in standby mode. Appliances like televisions, computer monitors, and DVD players can also drain power whenever they're plugged into an outlet.
Altogether, phantom energy can account for about 10 percent of an individual home's electricity use. It might sound insignificant, until you consider that cutting out that 10 percent may amount to more than a month of "free" electricity every year.
To slay the vampires and phantoms, enable the power management settings on your computer and monitor. You may also want to unplug your devices when they aren't in use. To avoid the hassle of having to crawl behind the computer or TV every night, plug your bundled devices (TV, DVD player, and DVR) into the same power strip and then switch off the power strip.