When we are considering all of the systems and devices that use electricity throughout your home or business we tend to focus on those that obviously use a considerable amount of power in order to function normally. We switch all of our lighting over to compact fluorescent or low voltage LED lighting systems and in all of these changes we miss one that most of us wouldn’t give a second thought too. How many power adapters or devices that have a “Standby power” feature are currently plugged into an electrical outlet in your home or business right now? They all have one thing in common and that is they all continue to use power even when the device they power is turned off or in standby mode and are known as Phantom Loads.
Chances are you have nearly as many as any other household or business that uses any of these mostly digital devices and when individually considered their power usage is relatively small. However, when taken as a collective whole the total energy being used can be as much as 20% of the energy being used by all of the appliances, or up to 10% of the total volume of electrical power used in the home. Standby power modes on devices can be as much as 10 to 15 watts per device and even the newer LCD monitors and TV’s are well known power leeches. Don’t believe it? Place the back of your hand on any LCD screen that has been in standby mode for more than an hour and you will notice how warm it is. Heat dissipation is the first sign in most electrical devices that are wasting electrical energy.
In fact if you are using Power supplies, transformers and inefficient electronic devices, VCR’s, DVD players and some audio systems, TVs and Set-top boxes, Microwave ovens, Computers, digital monitors and printers, Air conditioning systems with remote control, Devices with “Instant on” functions, with remote control receivers, or waiting for the user to interact, Devices with a stand-by light or clock, Power adapters, whether they are powering a device or not and some home video game consoles then you have phantom loads wasting your power.
Unplugging these types of devices is the easiest way to reduce your wasted energy costs which are compounded during warmer months when the heat they are dissipating is in fact fighting against your air conditioning and costing you more in energy attempting to maintain cooler temperatures. Power strips are another great way of being able to completely shut down a number of devices at one time so they are no longer wasting energy. Then there are of course the appliances which we never turn off or unplug such as our refrigerators and freezers or any appliance that uses an AC motor to function that waste an incredible amount of energy every time they power up. The single best way to eliminate this wasted energy of these appliances is to employ the use of a power factor conditioning unit which has numerous testimonials and white paper releases from the US Department of Energy endorsing their use.