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Standby (Phantom) Power

Standby power (also known as phantom, vampire, or leaking power) is the power consumed by appliances and electronics when they are turned off. Most newer appliances and electronics use little or no standby power, especially if they are Energy Star rated.

The best way to tell if a load uses standby power is to plug it into an energy usage monitor. Two options for reducing phantom power is to unplug the offending load or plug it into a power strip (multiple loads) to be turned off when not in use. Some power strips have remote controls and connections for telephone and coax cable. Power strips usually protect electronics from voltage spikes, so check the package or power strip to see if it offers protection.

In the chart below, a DVR video box uses a whopping 24 watts when turned off. Since it is used to record shows, it should be left on.

Computer Standby (Phantom) Power

When using a computer, consider putting it in sleep/standby mode when not in use. This mode uses very little power and resumes quickly when it is powered on again. Use the hibernate mode if it is off for long periods of time as it will use no power. Hibernate mode resumes quickly but not as quick as sleep/standby mode.

Standby Power Examples

The chart below shows energy usage of a random sampling of various loads (appliances and electronics). The chart will show:

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Standby Power Examples Table