San Francisco Environment Department

Are phantom loads haunting your energy bill?

Do you leave your computer, coffee machine, or TV plugged in when they are not in use? If so, your home may be haunted with phantom loads!

Phantom loads, also known as standby power or vampire loads, refer to energy that your appliances and electronics use when they are plugged in but are not in use. Phantom loads account for almost 10 percent of residential electricity use, and result in wasted energy and increased greenhouse gasses.

Tackle Phantom Loads in Your Home
Consider investing in a few power strips, which stop phantom loads when turned off. Power strips are convenient because they allow you to turn of multiple devices at the same time. If you don’t have a power strip, you can prevent phantom loads by simply unplugging your appliances.

You can also save energy by purchasing Energy Star rated appliances, which are more energy efficient when in use and in standby mode. Programming electronics like computers and tablets to an “energy saver” setting is another way to save energy when you step away from your device.

Additional Resources

Find the largest phantom loads in your home by checking out a watt meter from the San Francisco Public Library.

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