An idle home appliance can bleed power from a home and unnecessarily add to its electric bill, according to Jackie Dallas, a Clarke County Extension Agent and natural gas and electricity educator.
A phone charger, for example, plugged in with no cell phone attached still uses a small amount of electricity, or “phantom” energy. Most small appliances do not use a lot of electricity while still plugged in or in standby mode, but you will pay for those watts of electricity. Computers, printers, hard drives and monitors all still pull electricity while plugged in and not being used.
The best way to stop this phantom energy waste is to use a power strip or surge protector. By plugging electronics into these devices, you can turn off the power to the strip or protector and eliminate the flow of electricity.
To reduce the electricity used by a computer, turn it and its monitor off if you’re not going to use it for more than two hours. If you’re not going to use the monitor for more than 20 minutes, turn it off. There is a surge of electricity when your computer is initially turned on, but overall it’s much less than the electricity used when the computer is in standby mode. Another misconception is that screen savers are energy savers. Many screen savers actually use more energy than if the computer was on without a screen saver in place.
For more energy-savings tips, contact your local Cooperative Extension office at 1-800-ASK-UGA1, or your local power provider.