Phase out the “phantom” load

Posted on Dec 27 2018 in Heartland REMC

Don’t let the Ghost of Christmas Presents Past haunt you 24/7

With the holidays over, we are all attempting to get back to normal. That normal could be different now when it comes to your electric consumption depending on how many new toys/ devices are in the home.

Garrett Keiser of Heartland REMC

Holiday presents in the 21st century have become more about video game systems, tablets, computers, TVs, and the list goes on. All of these devices run on electricity. In addition, they can also use electricity when they are off or in standby mode. We call this “phantom” or “vampire” load. 

Every little light and clock in these devices use more electricity than most would think. For the average homeowner, vampire electronics can increase your monthly electric bill up to 20 percent.

I know that regardless of the energy consumption of a device, we may not want to turn it off completely when we aren’t using it (cable box and Wi-Fi router come to mind). But there are ways to be more efficient.

One way is to use “smart strips,” advanced power strips that allow you to plug a device into the master outlet which controls the other outlets. For example, you can plug your computer into the “master” outlet, and plug speakers, printer, and monitor into “automatic” outlets on the strip. When you turn off the device plugged into your master outlet, the other devices plugged into the “automatic” outlets will turn off as well.

Smart strips usually have one or two “constant” outlets, which allow for appliances plugged into those to always stay on unless manually turned off. This plug would be a good fit for your Wi-Fi router. In addition to smart strips, unplugging any battery-operated electronic device once charged is always good practice. 

As our daily lives become more depended on smart devices, cutting down on phantom load can be one way to start the energy savings. Here are some typical “phantom” power consumption levels you might not know about:

  • Air conditioner: 0.9 watts
  • Game console (off): 1.01 watts
  • Inkjet printer (off): 1.2 watts
  • DVD player (off): 1.55 watts
  • Clock radio: 2.01 watts
  • Phone charger (phone connected and charged): 2.24 watts
  • Desktop computer (off): 2.84 watts
  • Microwave (ready to use): 3.08 watts
  • Furnace: 4.21 watts
  • CD player (off): 5.04 watts
  • Laptop (off, fully charged, plugged in): 8.9 watts
  • Desktop computer (sleep mode): 21.13 watts
  • DVR (off): 36.68 watts

If you have any questions about electric space heaters or anything else regarding energy efficiency, please feel free to reach out to me — Garrett Keiser, your Heartland REMC energy advisor.