At Home with Lisa: Phantom loads and how to manage them

The other day I was chatting with a friend who asked me what I was learning about from Avista this week.

“Phantom loads,” I said. She asked me what they were. “It’s when you leave a toaster or coffee maker or other electronics plugged in and they continue to use energy, even when you aren’t using them.” According to the Avista Energy Guide, phantom loads can account for 10% of your annual energy usage.

She thought about that a moment. “Could chargers do that too?” she asked.

Yes, your phone, tablet, smart watch or laptop chargers can all use energy, even when you don’t have something plugged in to them. Luckily there are ways to get around this.

Unplugging these items is an easy enough fix. Also, get power strips for your television, stereo, video games and other home theater items to turn them all off with just one switch.

You can also try smart power strips that automatically shut off power for items that aren’t in use or go into sleep mode.

It doesn’t take a lot of effort to stop a phantom load.

Lisa, an Avista customer, bought her 1910 house because she loved the old-world character, some of which doesn’t make her house very energy efficient. Lisa is sharing her experience on taking some simple do-it-yourself improvements to inspire others to do the same. You’ll find her stories right here every Tuesday morning.

Read more At Home with Lisa stories.

Read more


  1. At Home with Lisa
  2. Energy Saving