Finding Phantom Loads

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Many common household devices use electricity, even when you aren’t using them. These devices create “phantom” electricity loads. An estimated 5-15% of household energy usage is from phantom loads.

Most phantom loads are relatively small, but when you add them all up, they can have a significant impact on your monthly energy use. Finding and eliminating phantom loads can help reduce your electric bill.

Where To Find Phantom Loads

You can use a Kill A Watt Monitor to accurately measure phantom loads in your home. Kill A Watt Monitors are available for check-out from our local libraries, or for purchase at home electronic stores. If you don’t want to use a monitor, you can use the table below to calculate a rough estimate of typical standby energy usage for common household items.

Appliance Average Annual
Energy Use in
Standby Mode (kWh)
Average Annual
Cost
at PUD Rate
of 7.04¢/kWh
Number of
Appliances
in Your Home
Your Estimated
Annual Cost
Desktop Computer

70

$4.93

Inkjet Printer

70

$4.93

Clock Radio

18

$1.27

Garage Door Opener

24

$1.69

Microwave Oven

26

$1.83

Computer Router/Modem

115

$8.10

DVD Player/DVR

320

$22.53

Cable/Satellite Box

128

$9.19

CRT TV (27″)

26

$1.83

LCD TV (40″)

123

$8.66

Plasma TV (50″)

145

$10.21

Rear Projection TV (65″)

186

$13.09

Cordless Phone

14

$0.99

Stereo

128

$9.01

Programmable Coffee Pot

11

$0.77

 YOUR TOTAL ANNUAL COST:

How To Reduce Phantom Loads

  • Unplug items that are not in use.
  • Plug sensitive electronics such as computers, televisions or DVD players into surge suppressors, and then switch off the surge suppressor to eliminate the phantom power load.  (Be sure to keep your set-top box and modem on a separate circuit to avoid loss of connection.)
  • When replacing  home electronics, choose ENERGY STAR® qualified items that typically use less power in standby mode.