Phantom Energy

Slay the “Energy Vampires and Phantoms” Haunting Your House

As you gear up to ward off zombies, scary clowns, aliens, and other forms of horror this Halloween, be on the lookout for the “energy vampires and phantoms” haunting your home or business.

Energy vampires and phantoms are born from plugged-in appliances and electronic devices – such as microwave ovens and televisions – that constantly suck power from the grid even when they are turned off or in standby mode.

According to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, a typical American home has 40 products drawing power, and that together phantom power amounts to almost 10 percent of residential electricity use. By cutting phantom power, you can save money on your energy bill and help the environment because the cleanest energy is always the energy you don’t use.

Spotting a Vampire Device
Energy vampires are relatively simple to detect and combat. They are easiest to detect in the dark; customers should look for the glowing lights. Common energy vampires include:

  • Televisions
  • Digital video recorders (DVRs)
  • Computers
  • Video game systems
  • Printers, scanners, and fax machines
  • DVD players
  • Coffee-makers
  • Microwaves
  • Cell phone and battery chargers

Easy Solution: Invest in a Smart Strip
To avoid the hassle of unplugging devices to avoid phantom power, invest in a smart power strip.

Smart power strips will automatically shut off power to ancillary devices when a central device – like the computer in your home office or the TV in your entertainment system – is idle. These advanced strips typically include always-on outlets for devices like home alarms.

Visit SDG&E’s Marketplace to comparison shop on a variety of smart strips. Marketplace will direct you to a third-party retailer when you’re ready to buy the smart strip that works best for you and your family.