Controlling Phantom Power

Controlling Phantom Power

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As the Halloween season approaches, there is a spooky and costly monster that has been lurking on your electricity bill day in and day out, for the most part unknowingly. This monster eats a whopping 10-23% of annual household electricity usage according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. For the average household spending $115 on electricity a month, that can be $138-$317 of your yearly energy expenditures.

This monster is called phantom power. It also goes by vampire power, standby power, and phantom load. The monster grows with the more devices that are plugged into the outlet. That lamp plugged in that hasn’t been flipped on in months, the old VCR on standby plugged in your parents basement, the Bose portable speaker you have left charging for three days now…these are all examples. Tracking the numbers by appliance is possible, and can tell you specifically how much electricity a month is going to waste. There are electricity usage monitors that allow one to plug the device in and read the consumption in standby or use mode.

Phantom power is deceiving; flipping an appliance off should be enough to cut it off. Luckily, with a few best practices, we can enjoy the convenience our devices bring us at a low cost.

Upgrade Appliances

Appliances like space heaters and coffee makers that have been living in your house for ages may be outdated and eating away electricity just to stay in standby mode. Consider replacing these appliances for newer and efficient models or opt for a classic French Press coffee maker which does not need to be plugged in. 


Simply Unplug

Probably the most obvious work around is to unplug devices that are not in use. This is one of those practices many of us were taught growing up along with turning the lights off when leaving the room. If it ends up being unplugged long enough, you may find that you don’t even need the device out and can free up some living space!

Consolidate Plugs to an Efficient Power Strip

Another simple fix solution is to plug in devices to an efficient power strip that is able to disconnect devices from the power. Consider consolidating similar use plugs to the strip, like your work at home setup or your TV and recreational devices. Similarly, Amazon offers a Smart Plug that is able to cut off power via voice command or on a scheduled timer set up through the Alexa app.

Phantom power doesn’t have to haunt your bills. Lower your electrical base-load and start saving money now. It can be easily managed and controlled within a weekend, using a few best practices and adjustments in the home.

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