Home Energy Conservation Phantom Loads

Current Job Openings

Search MPSutility.com

Share This Page

Phantom Loads

Phantom loads sounds a little scary, and it is scary once you realize how much money it is stealing from you.

What are Phantom Loads?

A more approprite term for phantom loads would be stand-by power. Most electrical devices never actually turn off completly. Because these devices nevery fully turn off, they continue to draw power, even in standy-by.

phantom-load-banner

How big of a problem are Phantom Loads?

Studies have shown that up to 10% of the electricity your home uses are from these phantom loads. In fact, the Department of Energy has state that "In the average home, 75% of the electricity used to power home electronics is consumed while the products are turned off." (http://www1.eere.energy.gov/consumer/tips/home_office.html) So, how much are phantom loads costing you? If the average home in Moorhead uses 1,000 kWh per month, phantom loads cost the average MPS customer over $82.00 per year.

For any single appliance the load is never very large; however when you add up the potential loads in your home. Look at the example below for a typical house:

 

Item

Watts

Quantity
in Home

Annual Watts

Annual Cost

Cell Phone Chargers:

2.4

2

4.8

$ 2.90

Cable TV Receiver

12.5

3

37.5

$ 22.67

Inkjet Computer Printer

7.6

1

7.6

$ 4.59

Desktop Computer

7.5

1

7.5

$ 4.53

Computer Monitor

6.9

1

6.9

$ 4.17

Cordless Phone

2.5

2

5

$ 3.02

Dishwasher

1.8

1

1.8

$ 1.09

Doorbell

5

1

5

$ 3.02

Garage Door Opener

2.5

2

5

$ 3.02

Invisible Pet Fence

25

1

25

$ 15.11

Microwave

3

1

3

$ 1.81

Oven

3

1

3

$ 1.81

Phone Answering Machine

3.5

1

3.5

$ 2.12

Clock Radio / Alarm Clock

3.3

4

13.2

$ 7.98

17" TV

8

3

24

$ 14.51

$92.36

What can be done about phantom loads in your home?

The only real way to stop standby power is to cut the power to the device. There are a few simple methods to reduce the phantom power used in your home:

  • The simplest option is to simply unplug devices when they are not in use. If you are not charging your cell phone or other battery operated device, unplug the charger from the wall.

  • Another option is to place devices on switches. The easiest way to place a device on a switch is to place them on a power strip. Manufacturers also make extension cords with an on/off switch

    • For example, plug your TV, VCR, and DVD player all on the same power strip. When you are done watching TV, don't just simply turn everything off by the remote and allow standby power to run, turn off the power strip thereby cutting off the power to the devices.

  • It is not practical for all devices to be unplugged when not in use. When you are looking to purchase or replace electronic devices, look for Energy Star devices. Energy Star home electronics use less power in their standby mode, therefore reducing your overall phantom load.

The best, and only way, to completly eliminate phantom power in your home is to "pull the plug" on devices when they are not in use.

External Links and More Information

 
© 2014 Moorhead Public Service | 500 Center Avenue, P.O. Box 779 | Moorhead, MN 56561-0779
mps@mpsutility.com | phone: 218.299.5400 | fax: 218.299.5193 | Administrative Login