Select Page

Ask the Expert: Phone chargers – keep plugged-in all the time or unplug?

Ask the Expert: Phone chargers – keep plugged-in all the time or unplug?

by | Mar 26, 2019 | 0 comments

Does it take more energy to leave a phone charger in the outlet, even when it isn’t charging?

Asked by: Richard R., question via

Have your own question?   Ask The Expert  ›

It’s true most of us leave our cell phone charger plugged into the wall even when we’re not using it. The good news is that while the charger does use a tiny bit of power when left plugged into the outlet, it’s only about 23 cents a year for an FPL residential customer.

This small amount of energy use is called “phantom energy.” Power adapters, like cell phone chargers, aren’t the only items that use a little bit of energy when they’re plugged in. In fact, many electronic items are in “standby” mode when turned off, helping them turn on faster or respond to a remote control. Devices with lit digital displays use power too, albeit a very small amount. You can avoid this by unplugging unused items until needed or using power strips to cut power to multiple items with one switch.

As far as cell phones are concerned, they use very little electricity even when you are actively charging them. In fact, the annual cost of charging your phone eight hours a night is just 65 cents if the phone is off while charging or $1.30 per year if it’s switched on. Not bad for a convenience most of us can’t live without.

About The Author

Brad Goar

Brad Goar is the program manager for FPL's Home Energy Survey and Low Income Weatherization programs. With over 140,000 home energy surveys performed annually, FPL's Home Energy Survey is one of the largest utility run energy survey programs in the nation.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Ask The Expert

Submit your question to our energy experts on any energy-related topic.