The Environmental Protection Agency is using Halloween as a vehicle to get the word out about "Energy Vampires," a.k.a. the "Phantom Load."
Whatever you call it, the phantom load is the electricity that your home electronics demand even when switched "off" or otherwise not in use. Bigger electronics, like televisions and stereos, run in a standby mode that draws electricity continuously, while cell phone chargers and the like draw electricity if they remain plugged in after the charging's done.
It can all add up to about $100 a year in electricity charges, according to the EPA not to mention additional demand on coal-fired power plants, which produce half the nation's electricity and pump out air pollution like toxic mercury, acidic gases that cause smog and acid rain, and carbon dioxide that exacerbates global warming.
Add up all Americans, and the phantom load accounts for $10 billion in energy costs ever year. Yes, $10 billion. And the load demands 100 billion kilowatt hours of electricity.
Here's how the EPA recommends killing the vampire, or exorcising the phantom:
The biggest phantom loads in most homes come from televisions particularly flat-screen plasma types desktop computers and their ancillary equipment like printers and scanners, and stereo and sound system equipment.
Another option the EPA doesn't mention: Just pull the plug.
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