Have you ever noticed how resistant people are to changing their ways or even understanding new views on energy consumption? Our electric bill threw the entire house for a loop this week, so it was nice when one of the kids asked if leaving his charger plugged in while not in use was draining energy. "Yes," I replied. "Of course not," my husband countered. I flipped! Had he not been reading the articles all over our house about increasing energy efficiency and becoming wiser consumers? Like many, he decided this was a myth. Well, it's not. Phantom loads are very real. There is a drain on every appliance, charger, computer, and plugged in appliance in the home—even when they're not in use. Yup, the coffee maker, cell-phone charger, stove, are all consuming energy just beacause they are plugged in. According to afreshsqueeze.com, up to 8 percent of annual energy use, or almost one month of your electric bills, goes to pay for phantom loads. The simplest solution is to put a set of appliances onto a power strip and flip the strip off when you leave the house or go to bed. Better yet, invest in Energy Star appliances that reduce the standing load to a negligible level. Give it a try, start reducing your phantom loads and see what kind of savings you get. I'd love to hear. I'm planning to keep track of my savings, too.