Slow Leak 

We’re all looking for ways to save money, and that includes cutting back our bills, including the electric bill.

As it turns out, some of what you’re paying for is something called &quot:phantom power.&quot:

Turning lights off, turning down the thermostat: we all know the basics of saving energy. But there’s another power drain going on in homes all over the state. It can happen to anyone, at anytime, and it can be costly.

It’s called phantom power.

&quot:Phantom Power is actually your standby power, the power people really don’t think about.&quot:

Susan Faloon with Bangor Hydro says appliances are the biggest culprits, so are computers, but the list doesn’t stop there.

There’s a device that can help you zone in on energy hogs. It’s called a Kill-a-watt ez Meter, and most Mainers can check one out for free, from their local library. The box comes with the meter, as well as step-by-step instructions.

All you have to do is plug the meter into an electrical socket, then plug the device into the meter. It measures the amount of kilowatts used in hour increments.

We tried ours on a computer in standby mode.

After one hour, it had used up 0.06 kilowatts.

A VCR: 0.02 kilowatts in one hour.

&quot:A lot of the new technology is thinking when it’s in standby mode, so it’s using electricity.&quot:

Once you’ve found the energy hogs, how do you get rid of them Well, in some cases, its as simple as unplugging the device. obviously you can’t do that with something like a refrigerator, but you can check for energy star labels. Also, avoid cube shaped extension boxes, they’re up to 80 percent inefficient. Instead, use a power strip that you can switch on and off.

&quot:Obviously it’s going to vary for everyone, depending on the equipment that you have and the electronics, all of the devices that you have in your home. But, you can save as much as 10% in a year.&quot: