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How Much Are Phantom Loads REALLY Costing You?

By Mary Ripley on  February 28, 2018

You’ve heard that unplugging certain electrical devices when they’re not being used helps to save on energy. Because even though these devices may not be turned on, they can still draw phantom power loads in their standby modes. These phantom loads not only waste energy but can end up costing you money in the long run. To eliminate phantom loads, plug all alike peripherals for a particular electrical device into a power strip and turn off the power strip when not in use. For example, plug all TV components like the TV, audio system, DVD player, cable box and gaming systems onto one power strip and turn off when done using.

Cost of Phantom Loads

Unfortunately, there’s no definitive way to know how much money you’re wasting on phantom loads unless you measure your power consumption with all devices disconnected vs. all devices in standby mode. However, assuming an average electrical cost of 12.5 cents per kWh, you can get a rough idea of how much money you’re wasting per year on phantom loads. These phantom loads may not individually seem like you’re wasting a lot of money and energy, but they add up. Just imagine what you could do with that money you’d save on electricity you’re not even using!

Average Phantom Loads Per Year

2 Laptops, 2 Laptop Chargers, and 1 Cable Modem = $36.14 – OR – Two Adult and Two Kid’s Evening Movie Tickets
Sometimes, a family movie night out is a luxury. With the cost of tickets and snacks, movies can put a pretty hefty dent in your wallet. But the cost of tickets alone for a family of 4 can be covered by what you’re spending each year on phantom draws from one cable modem and two laptops with their chargers.

1 Game Console, 1 Desktop Computer & Monitor, 1 Inkjet Printer, 1 Cable Modem = $20.04 – OR – Kill A Watt Energy Usage Monitor
With what you’d save by unplugging your desktop computer, printer, modem, and game console, you’d have enough money in one year to buy a Kill A Watt energy monitor. That way, you can find other electrical devices that draw lots of energy throughout your house so you know what items can help you save even more money.

1 Coffee Maker, 1 Microwave = $4.60 – OR – Leaving one 9W LED light bulb to burn constantly for one year
Imagine leaving one LED light bulb burning 24/7 for one full year. Crazy, isn’t it? Well, just think that the energy you’d use doing that is the same amount of phantom energy that’s being drawn from your coffee maker and microwave every year.

1 LCD TV, 2 Tube TVs, 1 DVR, 3 cable boxes, 1 Cable Modem, 1 Audio System = $90.89 – OR – 9 Months of Netflix
The average household has 3 TVs with cable and 1 DVR. Assuming at least one of the TVs is the more energy-efficient LCD variety, you are spending nearly $100 a year just for the convenience of not flipping a switch on your TV system at night. That is equivalent to ¾ of a year of a Netflix subscription.

4 Surge Protectors = $12.63 – OR – The average cost of running a coffee maker for a full year
Even though surge protectors are highly recommended to avoid large and potentially dangerous power draws in the event of a power surge, their phantom loads can be costly. Unplug those power surge protector strips if you really want to save even more money throughout the year.

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