Finding and Reducing Phantom Power

Lead Image

Phantom power is very real and it is adding ten percent to the overall energy costs in your home. Homeowners pay between $200 and $300 a year for phantom power.

What is Phantom Power?

Phantom power occurs when your appliances and other electronic equipment are not in use but on standby. Even though they are in the standby mode, power is still being used. Any appliance that displays a time is using electricity. Chargers that are plugged in but not charging anything are still drawing power. Electronic equipment operated by a remote are not switched off when turned off with the remote thus they are in standby and using power. Laptops are another culprit of phantom power.

Phantom Power Source

Three indications that tell you something is using power even when turned off. Anything that is operated with a remote control needs to be unplugged to stop power. Digital clocks and standby lights are a sign that the appliance is using electricity. Chargers that are plugged in and warm to the touch even when not charging are a phantom power source.

The following are examples of items in your home that create phantom power:

Microwave Clocks


DVD Players


Satellite DVR Boxes

Audio Systems

Toothbrush Charging Stations

AC Adapters

Reduce Phantom Power

The best way to reduce phantom power is to unplug all appliances and electronic equipment when not in operation. However this method can be inconvenient and difficult. Instead plug devices into a power strip and cut the power by flicking the switch off this will reduce the phantom power. A power strip is also good protection against power surges that can damage equipment.