Electronic appliances that contain AC/DC inverters, LED displays and internal memory hardware can leak electricity even when turned off. Over time, this can waste large amounts of energy. These leakages, known as phantom loads, can be avoided by plugging appliances into a power strip so that the strip can be switched off when the appliances are not in use. Because each American household spends an average of $144 annually on electricity lost as phantom loads, using the power strip strategy wherever it is practical can reduce one's utility bill perceptibly. Since the majority of electricity in the United States is coal-generated, this strategy can also make a small but important contribution toward the reduction of atmospheric carbon. Computers, printers, televisions, VCR/DVD players, and microwave ovens are the most common culprits of phantom loads.
Matthew Fox & Clay Munnings