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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