Prevent Phantom Energy Drain

| January 11, 2018 | 0 Comments

Phantom Energy DrainThere’s something spooky going on in your house… and it’s costing you about $100 a year! Phantom energy drain (also known as vampire energy–told you it was spooky) occurs when electricity is pulled by devices which are turned off, or on standby.

It’s energy that’s eaten up without actually doing anything whatsoever. Much like Dracula, it’s draining you in your sleep!

I don’t know about you, but I hate the idea of waste. It’s one thing for us to consider the energy that’s used by our television when we use it. After all, even if it is a poor use of time or energy now and then, at least we’re enjoying it.

However, phantom energy drain is kind of like leaving the shower running when there’s no one home at all. It’s a complete and utter waste!

How Much Impact Does It Have?

Now, at first glance, it’s hard to see how phantom energy drain can actually be significant enough to even notice. Just one appliance plugged in will only take a few watts.

Even the most wasteful cords, like your laptop charger, will only take 30-40 watts. However, we need to consider some significant multiplication. Your household has an average of 40 items plugged into the wall at any given time.

Multiplied over 24 hours, 7 days a week, that can actually make a significant bump in your monthly utilities bill. Most estimates state that people use $3-$10 worth of phantom electricity each month.

A study by the EPA found that about 10% of your monthly energy bill is vampire energy usage.

Now, how much of your energy usage is going towards phantom drain will vary greatly from one device to another, and one house to another.

Different appliances have different energy efficiency and leakage. It’s important to know that the items that take up the most energy in your home are usually those which produce heat.

That means that your space heater, curling iron, and microwave are all taking a fair share. You can learn more about the biggest energy-users in your home here.

Other big culprits of phantom drain are rechargers, which are in more and more common use in our device-driven world. This means that your laptop charger which is always plugged in the wall awaiting the next charging phase is slowly sucking you dry.

One more surprisingly wasteful device is your set-top box you use to record your favorite programs while you’re gone. It might not be constantly recording, but it is constantly working and with all its buddies at the entertainment center, it’s costing you extra each month.

How to Prevent Phantom Energy Drain

There are several things that you can do in your home to prevent wasted energy from draining out of your walls, and you can implement most of them in an hour or less.

Power Strip

Phantom Energy DrainThe best way to prevent phantom energy drain is to install power strips in areas populated with a lot of electrical devices. By switching off the power strip when the system isn’t in use, you can halt energy from escaping.

This is especially useful around areas where it’s hard to reach the outlet, and so you hate reaching back to plug things in and pull them out. So, for your computer table (where you plug in your printer, speakers, and monitor) it’s time to upgrade and sort out all those power cords!

Power strips are also very useful for entertainment centers (put that set-top box in its place!) and even in the kitchen. After all, how annoying is it to plug your microwave in and out constantly?

Unplug Chargers

Phantom Energy DrainThis second tip is simply going to require a change in your habits. Chargers are some of the most inefficient energy-saps. In fact, some studies find that only 60% of the energy pulled from the grid actually makes it to your device.

So, if you’re someone who likes to have your phone charger always plugged into the wall, ready for those emergencies when your phone sends up a low-battery alarm, it’s time to make a change.

Again, you can install a power strip if you like to have a hub where charging takes place and you don’t trust yourself to stick to the habit of unplugging. Although it costs a little bit of money to buy, a power strip will quickly pay for itself.

Keep Appliances Off the Counter

Does your kitchen counter tend to get cluttered up? Well, kill two birds with one stone by resolving to always keep appliances under the counter instead. Unplugging your microwave, toaster, and blender can pay for an ice cream treat every month.

And as a bonus, you’ll have a much cleaner working space.

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Category: Saving Money

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