Tag Archives: loads

Phantom Power Loads and the Environment

You can reduce your electricity bills by as much as 10% – simply by unplugging appliances or switching devices off at the power point they are connected to when not in use. It’s good for your wallet and for our planet.

Standby, also known as phantom power loads, are responsible for an incredible amount of electricity consumption nationally. Practically every electronic device that you plug into a socket continues to consume electricity after you’ve switched the device off. Examples include phone chargers, notebook power adaptors, microwave ovens, game consoles CD, video and dvd players

If an appliance or device has an adaptor, the easiest way to tell if it’s still drawing power when the device is switched off is if the adaptor is warm.

While the amount of power being drawn by each of these appliances in standby mode usually isn’t huge – anything from .5 – 5 watts per hour; when you consider the number of electronics devices in the average home these days and multiply that by the number of hours in a year; then multiply that by the number of households in your country – it really adds up. The average home in the USA consumers about 50 watts of standby power an hour.

I’ve read that the annual collective standby power draw from households in the USA is around 8 gigawatts – equivalent to the electricity production of eight large power plants. Globally, standby power consumption is estimated to be responsible for about 1% of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions. Carbon dioxide is a gas that contributes to global warming.

Imagine that – we could knock off 1% of the amount of carbon dioxide being spewed into the environment just by switching appliances and devices off at the wall when not in use; and all save a few bucks on each power bill in the process!

Michael Bloch is the author and owner of Green Living Tips.com, an online resource powered by renewable energy offering a wide variety of earth friendly tips, green guides, advice and environment related news to help consumers and business reduce costs, consumption and environmental impact on the planet.

Saving Energy – Phantom Loads Are a Menace

I am not sure where the term phantom loads comes from. I saw the term used someplace and have subsequently adopted it as my own. My dictionary describes a phantom as something that exists only in appearance. Phantom loads refer to the small electrical loads that exist in most households and just about every place electricity is used.

What Produces A Phantom Load?

If you have a television set, a VCR, a DVD player, a stereo and many similar electrical devices you have phantom loads present. Each of these uses a small transformer to provide enough electricity to allow a remote control to turn the device on. It does not amount to a whole lot of power, only around 4 watts, but when added together they can use a larger cumulative amount of electricity.

How Much Is Too Much?

Besides the devices mentioned above, there are a whole lot more, garage door openers, electric clocks, microwaves, ovens or any appliance with clocks, cordless phones, and even the newer washing machines. My satellite receiver, if just plugged in, actually pulls 35 watts just sitting there in the off mode. My stereo pulls the same. If I have 8 devices each using 4 watts and 2 that use 35 watts each, that amounts to 100 watts per hour. Multiplied by 24 hours in a day for 30 days a month, that equals 72 KWH (Kilowatt Hours). If I pay 15 cents per KWH to my electric company, that costs me $ 10.80 per month just to have these devices on and ready for me to use them. If my electric bill is $ 100 a month. That is 10% of my bill. Computers along with the printer, modem, etc in the standby mode actually pull 30 watts just sitting there. If left it in the standby mode all night long, that is another 15KWH per month.

Why Do I Care?

I live in a solar home. My electricity comes from a solar energy electric system. I look at my usage different than many who use grid power, mainly because my energy is limited. During a normal sunshiny day the average solar electric system expects to receive 6 good hours of charging on average. If I have all the phantom loads on 24 hours a day, it would take almost 2.5 hours for my solar energy system to replace that usage. That is almost 40% of what my 1000 watt system generates.

What Can Be Done To Eliminate Phantom Loads?

I have eliminated all but 3 of these devices from running 24 hours a day, my garage door opener, my cordless phone and my solar controller for my solar water heating system. The rest I have either disconnected or have connected to a plug that can be turned on and off when needed. I can still use the remote when they are on. My microwave has a mechanical timer. (Yes, you can still find them). My TV, satellite receiver, VCR, DVD and stereo are all connected to a switchable plug and are turned on when used and off when not. I do not have any electric clocks or appliances that use them. A clock running on a small battery operates for years and tells the same time.

What’s In It For Us?

If we all just cut our electrical usage by 10%, how many barrels of oil might that save? I can’t think of a better reason than that.

Jim Eddy and his wife live in Northern California in an all solar home. They have designed a web site describing how they use solar energy to provide their energy needs in hopes of inspiring others that they can do the same. They have also included videos on their site to show how they do it. Their web site and videos can be found at http://www.livingonsolar.com