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Did you know that your home's devices and appliances, when plugged in, continue to draw power even when they are off?

It is called "phantom" or "standby" power, and it could account for up to 10 per cent of your home’s energy use. The average Canadian home has 25 or more electronic devices that use phantom power, costing approximately $150 a year in electricity.

You can fight the phantoms and control costs with simple steps.

See our room-by-room savings guide

How much energy do your electronics really use?

How to save using power bars with timers

Desktop computer and monitor, laptop, printer, WIFI router

Plug office devices into a power bar with a timer to shut off while you are at work or asleep.

TV, stereo, speakers, game console

Set your entertainment system to shut off automatically when it is not in use.

Cell phones, tablets and other "charging" devices

Set power bars to come on only at night, so devices are charged without drawing more power than necessary.

TOP 10

Tips to Fight the Phantoms
  • 1

  • Plug electronic devices into power bars with timers
  • Plug electronic devices into power bars with timers to shut them off automatically.

  • 2

  • Group appliances and electronics
  • Group appliances and electronics that are used together by plugging them into the same power bar (i.e., coffee maker and toaster; TV and game console; computer, monitor and printer, etc.).

  • 3

  • Unplug cell phone and tablet chargers
  • Unplug cell phone and tablet chargers once devices have finished charging. Up to 50% of the electricity they draw is lost as heat.

  • 4

  • Renovating or building new?
  • Consider installing switched outlets to turn off a group of electronics with the simple flick of a switch.

  • 5

  • Disable computer screen savers
  • Disable computer screen savers, as they can use up to twice as much energy. Instead, activate "sleep" mode or unplug the computer entirely.

  • 6

  • ENERGY STAR® label
  • When purchasing home electronics, look for products certified with the ENERGY STAR® label. They use less energy and typically have built-in power-saving features.

  • 7

  • Unplug hair dryers, curling irons or electric shavers
  • In the bathroom, unplug hair dryers, curling irons or electric shavers when not in use – it is much safer and you will save energy.

  • 8

  • ENERGY STAR® certified PVR
  • If you use a personal video recorder (PVR), check to see if your cable provider offers an ENERGY STAR® certified model. Typically, 70 per cent of a PVR’s energy is consumed in standby mode, so it is worth the upgrade.

  • 9

  • Plug Coffee makers into power bars with timers
  • Plug coffee makers and other small kitchen appliances into power bars with timers so they are only on during hours you typically use them.

  • 10

  • Unplug vacuums, power tools and other appliances
  • Unplug vacuums, power tools and other appliances from chargers once they have finished charging.