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Casa Verde: Preventing Phantom Loads


In the high-tech world we live in, power strips are as essential as light bulbs. But just as you turn the lights off when you leave a room, you should also get in the habit of turning off your power strip when you're not using it. This helps prevent what eco experts call the "phantom load."

Basically, any time you have a piece of electronic equipment that is plugged in but in standby mode, it's leaking lots of power, wasting energy, and running up your electric bill. And according to Treehugger, it's not a paltry amount: The EPA estimates that 75 percent of energy used in the average home comes from appliances that are thought to be turned off but are merely in standby mode.

Similarly, phantom loads are also created when chargers for cell phones and other electronics are plugged in with nothing attached to them.

To solve the problem, plug your chargers and standby electronics into power strips, and when you're not using the devices, turn the power strips off. Just make sure that any appliances that need to stay on — like external hard drives, fridges, and so on — are plugged in separately.

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