What are Phantom Loads?

Have you ever heard of the term, "phantom load"? Read to learn about phantom loads and how you can stop them in your home.

Posted by Guest Blogger on January 8, 2014

Have you ever heard of the term, “phantom load”? This term is used to describe any appliance or electronic that still uses electricity or “standby power” when turned off. Electricity products such as televisions, DVD players, microwaves and personal computers all use standby power to keep the clocks, timers, remote controls and other features on home electronics working and ready to start the instant we press the button. It also means they're constantly drawing electricity.

So what can be done about phantom loads in your home? The only way to completely stop phantom loads is to simply cut power to the device that is causing the load. Check around your home for things that are plugged in that you may have forgotten about. For example, a television that is not in use but still plugged in can draw a phantom load hourly!

After checking your home, use the additional tips to reduce phantom loads on electronics or appliances that are used more often:

  • Unplug appliances and electronics when you're not using them. For example, if you are not charging your cell phone or other battery operated device, unplug the charger from the wall.
  • Use power strips that allow you to unplug several electronics by flipping a single switch.
  • This is especially important for televisions, DVD players, microwaves and computers. Power strips can be found at most hardwood stores.
  • Use clocks powered by rechargeable batteries.
  • Because it is not practical for all devices to be unplugged when not in use, when you are looking to purchase or replace electronic devices that are not easily unplugged, look for ENERGY STAR devices. ENERGY STAR home electronics use less power in their standby mode, therefore reducing your overall phantom load.

For additional energy-saving tips, videos and resources, visit WH’s energy conservation page.


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