Phantom of the VCR

Your VCR is costing you a lot of wasted money. In fact, about 6% of your monthly bill is from unusued appliances like your VCR. Imagine that little jerk, just sitting there all day, flashing 12:00 over and over again, and you're paying for it. You probably don't even use your VCR anymore.

Of course the VCR isn't the only enemy living in your own home draining your bank account. If you leave your computer on hibernate while you're away its backstabbing you. Coffee makers, TVs, stereo equipment, all of your friends steal electricity while they sit unused.

This phenomenon is called phantom power. It happens when a plugged-in device draws power when its not being used. Power is taken for internal clocks or displays or "instant on" features. It is estimated that phantom loads in the US equal the electricity use of Greece, Peru, and Vietnam combined.

How can you lower your electricity bill and stop the abuse of your plugged-in pals? Unplug them. Just get one of those surge protectors with the switch that allows you to switch appliances on and off when you need them or don't. Maybe it will add some annoyance to your life. But you can take the extra 6% you save and put it toward flourescent light bulbs to save even more dough on your utility bill.

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