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Phantom power raising your bill? When "Off" setting still pulls electricity

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - You try not to waste power by turning things off, but some electronics never go completely dark because of phantom power. 

"It's still pulling current from the receptacle it's plugged into," said Steve Lambert, Estimator\Inspector with Elder Homes. 

Heat is energy and this infrared camera will show it. The redder it appears the more energy is being wasted. The cable box, stereo and DVD player are red hot. 

"That little clock that's on the cable box and the stereo is pulling a lot of electricity to keep it at 90 degrees," Lambert said. 

We intentionally turned off the microwave clock months ago and it's still pulling power as if it's on. 

"The clock's not showing but it's still using energy," he said. 

Another energy vampire sucking juice from the wall - the game systems. 

"The X-Box is on top, that's the hot one." 

Plus this DVD player and cable box.

"How many little clocks and stereos and coffee makers and little appliances do you have in your house, that you don't always use that are plugged in all the time," Lambert said. 

The computer printer is off, but the infrared camera says not completely. Same with the subwoofer. 

"Certainly pulling current even though there's no music playing," he said. "Right in the center where all the controls are." 

My washer and dryer aren't running, but they appear to be. 

"That's the power switch just waiting to be turned on." 

This old computer monitor hasn't been on in years-but I've been paying for it. And your phone charger you leave plugged in… 

"It's just sitting there pulling a little bit of juice sending it through that line thinking that there's a phone there," Lambert said. "Anything that you don't need, I would unplug it." 

You can solve phantom power issues with power strips you can turn off. Also, energy star products are designed to use less power when they're on and none when you turn them off. 

Copyright 2011 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.

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