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      Fight phantom devices

      Studies show ten percent of monthly electric bills are wasted energy. So what devices in your home are boosting your energy costs?

      They're called phantom or vampire devices because even when turned off, they continue to feed off the electricity in your home.

      An air freshener is one of the vampire, or phantom devices, draining power from Don Palmerâ??s home.

      "I was very surprised," stated the Marquette resident. "I never realized there are savings that can be gotten."

      He was even more surprised to discover his printer and radio, along with cell phone and laptop chargers, were also culprits.

      Transformers, found in many household devices, constantly use electricity when plugged in, even if they're off or aren't in use.

      "With a kilowatt meter, about a $20 investment, you can determine what those phantom loads are," explained Kerry Noble with Home Evaluation Services.

      Noble said unplugging any unused devices can add up to significant savings.

      "An eight-watt load ended up being 5.7 kilowatts a month which is, depending on your utility, 55 cents to a $1.10. Now multiply that to the amount of utilities you've got plugged in," Noble explained.

      Other potential power drainers include baby monitors, wireless phones, and devices with digital displays.

      Another good investment is a smart switch.

      Noble said when the "power control," which is usually the television, is shut off, all the other controls will be "completely powered down."

      Switching from an electric water heater to natural gas can also save a lot of money. Itâ??s $52 for one million BTUs, or British Thermal Units, to heat one pound of water and raise the temperature one degree. Natural gas would cost roughly $10 for that same amount which could save a homeowner around $50 a month.

      Contact Home Evaluation Services if you would like a check of what appliances are wasting energy in your home.