Did you know that chargers and basic appliances consume energy even when they’re turned off or left in sleep mode? They do. This phantom energy use not only has a negative environmental impact, it’s also a total waste of resources and money. It can really add up—by some estimates 10 percent of monthly energy use is phantom.
Thankfully, reducing your phantom draw is beyond simple. Just unplug your chargers and household appliances when not in use. You can also plug them into power strips—making it really easy to turn off many appliances at once. Or use a smart strip; these automatically turn off power when not in use and are particularly useful in offices and kitchens.
Remembering to unplug plugs or switch off power strips can be tricky when you’re not accustomed to it. Do whatever it takes to make it a habit.
If you’re the main culprit, try visualizing money coming out of all of those cords. Or leave a watt meter running for a week, and then multiply the result by 52 to give yourself a sense of just how much you’re losing yearly by not unplugging. Eventually seeing a dangling cellphone charger in a wall will drive you up said wall. You’ll see.
If you have children, offer a fun incentive (a few coins? some organic chocolate?) every time they find something plugged in—theirs or yours—that isn’t being used.
Don't forget your hair dryer, iPod, or the coffee maker.