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Bust those phantom loads

Every minute of every day, electronics are stealing energy from your wall sockets—and money from your pocket. That’s because devices such as TVs, VCRs, DVD players, stereos, microwaves, and coffee makers don’t actually turn off when you push the power button. Instead, they go into “standby mode,” which uses electricity to power functions such as clock displays and remote controls.

In an average home, more than 50 percent of the electricity used to power electronics is consumed while the devices are turned off. Standby electricity accounts for about 4 to 7 percent of total electrical consumption in Wisconsin homes. In the United States alone, phantom load costs consumers more than $3 billion a year. Reducing unnecessary phantom load helps save energy and protect the environment, as well as your wallet.

  • Unplug household appliances and electronics from wall outlets when not in use and plug multiple devices into a power strip and turn the strip off when not in use.


  • Purchase ENERGY STAR qualified appliances and electronics, which use up to 50 percent less energy than standard models.


  • Unplug battery chargers when batteries are fully charged or when the charger is not in use.
Source: Focus on Energy’s ENERGY STAR Extra