Phantom Loads

     I have heard this term before but I could never explain what it meant to anyone nor could I convince my husband to believe in them.  Phantom loads do exist and thanks to Arrowhead Electric Cooperative I have proof.

     "Phantom loads are electrical devices that operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, even if consumers think the device is turned off.  The typical U.S. home has more than 25 phantom loads… A phantom load consists of an electrical circuit that has a transformer powered by a 120-volt source outlet.  …One way to eleminate phantom loads is to plug TV’s, DVD players, and computers into a power strip that is equipped with its own power switch.  Consumers can simply switch the power on and off when the item is needed for use."

     I know we have plenty of our own phantom loads in our house and I’m going to try and eliminate a few.  We almost always have our computers, printers, dryers, mictowave, television, washer and dryer plugged in.  I plan to buy some power bars for our television & DVD player, computers & printers, and washer & dryer to start.  Then I’ll look for other ways to reduce phantom loads in my house.

     According to Arrowhead Electric the cost of phantom loads can add up in a hurry.  We don’t have a dishwasher(10 watts a day) and our oven(20 watts a day) is propane but reducing our phantom loads can only help.

  • Three televisions use 36 watts an hour
  • Three computers use 6 watts an hour
  • A microwave oven uses 5 watts an hour
  • Three digital clocks use 6 watts an hour
  • Two cd players use 14 watts an hour
  • Two dvd players use 12 watts an hour
  • A cordless phone uses 4 watts an hour

     This adds up to 83 watts times 24 hrs/day times 365 days/year =7270 kWh/year.  This amount could save me around $600.00/year!  That’s a good amount of money for an investment of a few power bars.

     I never really understood why some hotels had their lights rigged with a switch by the door, but now I do.  It cuts down on the room’s phantom load and saves the business money.  I wish I would have known that before we built our lodge and will keep it in mind when we re-build our staff housing that was lost during the Ham Lake Fire.

     It’s time to get those phantoms out of your house and put some money in your pocket.