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Killing vampires.

The article by Paul W. McRandle ["Green Guidance," Nov/Dec 2006] had a major omission: he didn't talk at all about "phantom" power--appliances and electronics that consume electricity even when they're "off." Maybe you could follow up on that piece with some statistics and tips on how to avoid phantom power. The only solution I have found (outside of electronic abstinence) is putting all of my TV devices on a power strip and shutting off the power completely. But that creates a nightmare of reprogramming for many devices. Got any better ideas?


Liberty News TV

Portland, Maine, U.S.A.

Paul McRandle responds: Although most appliance energy use--90 percent in the case of TVs--occurs in the active mode, phantom power is certainly a problem and can cost homeowners up to $200 a year, especially if they have bad habits such as leaving cell phone chargers plugged in.

You can keep track of energy vampires and check how much energy your appliances eat up using a device called a Kill-a-Watt. As for saving the energy, power strips offer a quick shutoff but risk loss of data in programmable devices. It may be simplest to leave a select few items plugged into the wall and make up for those costs by taking energy saving steps elsewhere, such as drying clothes on a rack (up to $100 savings annually), turning down your thermostat to 68 degrees F (almost $50 savings annually), and replacing incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents (cutting your lighting costs in half).

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Publication:World Watch
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:Jan 1, 2007
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