Phantom loads, vampire energy, standby power, whatever you want to call it, the result is wasted, leaking energy that is being used while your electronics are off and go into a ‘standby’ mode if they are not completely unplugged; items such as your TV, IT equipment, microwave, chargers, coffee maker and clock radio to name a few of the villains. Your television may actually be consuming more electricity during the hours is it not in use than in the time you spend watching it.
Just how much is leaking? I have read varying numbers including an average of $200/yr added to your annual energy bill (Cornell University) to a total cost for consumers of more than $3 billion a year in the US (Energy Information Administration).
The easiest solution is using a Smart Strip power strip, which automatically turns off electricity to all the thing you don’t need. Or even using a power strip rather than unplugging every last electrical device in your home. As well, putting your computer on Sleep mode saves energy, and qualified ENERGY STAR products use less energy in standby mode.
Quick video for a brief explanation: http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/everyday-tech/vampire-power.htm
If you happen to have a Kill-A-Watt, check it out and see how much energy you can save!