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Scare the phantom power out of your home

Has your utility bill been giving you a fright? Phantom power, or standby power, can increase your home energy costs without you even knowing. And it’s more common than you think!

What is phantom power?

When you turn off your TV, you probably think it’s no longer using energy, right? Wrong! We leave all kinds of things plugged in around our homes that actually use power even when they’re turned off. This energy use is called phantom power or standby power and can add up – accounting for up to 10% of your electricity bill.

Three easy steps to reduce your phantom power:

Most household electrical devices draw power 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Don’t pay for energy you aren’t using and prevent unnecessary power loss with these simple steps.

Unplug, unplug, unplug!

Woman unplugs laptop charger

The easiest thing you can do to reduce phantom power is unplug anything you’re not using. This includes unplugging your phone or laptop charger when your device isn’t charging, not simply unhooking the device. Leaving cords plugged in when they’re not connected to anything is a common way phantom power can add up.

Get smart with a power bar

Another great way to reduce phantom power is to plug devices into a power bar. When you’re not using them, simply switch off the power bar and they won’t use any more energy. You can also buy power bars with timers so you can set it to turn off when you know you won’t be using those devices. Better yet – use a “smart power bar” that automatically cuts the power to secondary devices, like your DVD player, when the main device, like your TV, is turned off.

Look for the little blue star


When you’re shopping for anything from a tablet to a new refrigerator, make sure you’re buying ENERGY STAR® certified products. That little blue star means not only do those products use less energy when they’re on, but they also use less phantom power than products that aren’t certified as ENERGY STAR.

A last word on hidden ghosts

There are lots of electronics that we leave plugged in but don’t use very often. Ask yourself if you need to keep these things plugged in all the time:

  • Coffee maker
  • Electric toothbrush
  • Gaming systems
  • DVD player
  • Cellphone charger

What else can you think of? Start right now! Challenge yourself every day to unplug one device you’re not using and make the only ghosts in your life the little ones dressed up on the street for Halloween!

Learn more and connect with us

Looking for more tips on energy efficiency? Follow ENERGY STAR Canada on TwitterFacebookPinterest and LinkedIn to maximize your energy savings and get the latest on energy-efficient products.

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