Don’t let vampire energy scare you

Phantom loads come from devices that use electricity even when they appear to be off. The primary culprits are chargers, set-top television boxes, instant-on televisions and gaming systems.

You might be surprised to learn that cellphone chargers are still using small amounts of energy even when they’re not connected to a device. Always unplug chargers when not in use.

Television set-top boxes also consume energy when they appear to be inactive. Anytime the set-top box’s lights are on, it is using power. Like chargers, they are always working – even when the TV is off. Turn off set-top boxes that do not contain a DVR functionality or use a smart power strip. Also, turn off the instant-on function on your TV.

The typical gaming console can use as much energy as a regular refrigerator even when it’s not being used. Make sure to check the console settings and disable automatic updates.