How to Save Electricity by Reducing Phantom Load, Part 2

A power strip with several cords

Welcome back to the second half of our two-part article on identifying and reducing phantom load in your household. Last time we talked about what phantom load is, the power that some appliances and devices use up even when they're officially switched off, and how this can seriously impact your power bill. We also talked about detecting phantom load with smart monitor outlets. While the most direct way to prevent phantom load is to simply unplug an appliance instead of bothering to switch it off, then re-plugging it when it's time for use again, this can get pretty tedious. Today we're going to talk about a few specific techniques to help you control and reduce phantom load in your home without messing with the plugs every time.

Group Optional Appliances on Power Strips

Okay, so you probably don't want to walk around your entire house unplugging things at night and plugging them back in when you want to use them the next day. That's a lot of hassle for a few dollars worth of electricity each month but there are several creative options that achieve the same goal, cutting the appliance off from wall power, without messing with the plugs and outlets every single day.

One of your best options is power strips with easy switches. Simply mount a power strip with nails or Command mounting strips somewhere easy to reach, then plug in all nearby optional appliances into it. That way, when you're done with a room, you can turn off everything that doesn't need a steady power supply in one go.

One-Switch Kitchen Power Strip:

  • Coffee Pot
  • Toaster
  • Blender
  • Electric Kettle
  • Waffle Iron

Smart Power Strips and Outlets

Another way to quickly and easily handle all optional devices either one at a time, all at once, or in designated groups is to put everything on a smart outlet or connected to smart power strips that have individually controlled outlets. The smart outlets control devices like fans and lights by controlling their access to wall power, which is exactly your goal here. Simply connect each device to a smart outlet, register and name them with your smart home hub, and control them through voice commands or the mobile app to switch things on and off, essentially from the wall, without even having to walk over and flip a switch.

Computer-Savvy Power Strips

Our final suggestion for phantom power has to do with how you set up your computer. The vast majority of the time, a complete computer or media system setup involves one central system and a lot of side devices like a computer accompanied by speakers and a printer. Because you couldn't possibly use the speakers or printer without the computer, it stands to reason that you can turn them all off at the same time.

Computer-smart power strips usually have a single master or control outlet and several subordinate outlets. When the strip senses that your computer has been turned off, it cuts off power to the whole set so your speakers, printer, and any other powered accessory devices can't draw phantom load. You can also use the same tactic for any grouped set of appliances like your entertainment system.

Computer Power Set:

  • Master - Computer
  • Printer
  • Scanner
  • Amplifier
  • Speakers

Entertainment Center Set:

  • Master - TV
  • Sound System
  • Speakers
  • Gaming Consoles
  • Cable Box (optional)

Phantom load is something that happens in everyone's home and the truly power savvy can find very clever ways to deal with it. Whether you've already got a smart home set up or you simply use easy to switch power strips, controlling your appliance' access to the wall power is a quick and easy way to ensure that they don't take up any electricity while not in use.