Phantom, or standby, power refers to electricity consumed by electronic appliances when they are turned off or in a standby mode. Almost all modern appliances and electronics consume electricity when they are not in use. The dead giveaways are those little green, red, blue, or amber lights that glow in a dark room at night, or the digital clocks on most appliances today. Less obvious are such items as cell phones and power tool chargers that have transformers (the little black cubes) on their power cords. Also, any device with instant-on capacity, such as a television or personal computer, is never truly off unless unplugged from the wall. One way to stop these power siphons is to unplug the devices. If that isn’t convenient, use a power strip to plug in multiple items, like those at your computer workstation. When you are prepared to shut down, just turn off the power strip. Below is a list of various electronic devices and the standby kilowatt hours they use each year.

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