With colorful names—Phantom Load, Vampire Load, Always-On Load—Standby Power can seem like a large problem. It’s not.
Standby power is the electricity used by a device while it’s waiting to be used. For example, when the TV is off, but ready for a signal from the remote, the TV is using Standby Power.
The source of the colorful names? Standby Power is not terribly visible (and thus a phantom) and also “sucks” power night and day (and thus a vampire)!
While the amount of Standby Power used by devices gets smaller each year as technology improves, the number of items plugged in is increasing. Electronics is the fastest-growing category of electricity use in most homes.
Here are a few simple steps to reduce your use of Standby Power.
1. Unplug older electronics and power cords when not in use. If you bought it before 2008, unplug it! Older power cables, with those black boxes attached, can suck up a lot of energy.
2. Put older units on a power strip. Use a simple power strip to turn off many units at once. This works well for the many video game devices that surround the modern TV, or for printers and speakers in a home office.
3. Watch the number of items you keep plugged in. It’s a race between the energy savings we build into modern devices, and the increasing number of devices in our homes. Don’t wipe out your energy savings in one room by adding more devices in another. Keep the total count of plugged-in devices level.
Worried about Standby Power? Frankly, there are more productive ways to spend your energy-saving time.