You can be a Ghostbuster too!

Did you know there could be phantom loads lurking around your home?

Posted by Ted Inman on February 11, 2019

Did you know there could be phantom loads lurking around your home? But you don’t have to be afraid because they’re easy to exterminate!

First, a phantom load, or vampire load, is any electrical device that consumes energy while not in use. Around 75 percent of electricity used to power home electronics is used while these devices are turned off. As much as 10 percent of your electric bill could be from these phantom loads.

Phantom loads can be found in nearly every room of your home! Having multiple electrical devices, even if they use a small amount of energy, will add up quickly. Some of the larger phantom loads are found in the entertainment center: TVs, DVD players, DVRs, video game consoles, satellite or cable boxes and stereo systems. Another area they can be found is in the office with computers, monitors, fax machines, printers, cordless phone charger bases and cell phone chargers.

In addition, anything with a digital display consumes energy while at rest including alarm clocks, garage door openers, stoves, ranges, microwaves, coffee pots, water softeners, paper shredders and electric toothbrush chargers.

Create your free MyMeter account today!

Wright-Hennepin (WH) offers a great, free tool called MyMeter to help you find some of the lost energy consumption from phantom loads. MyMeter can track daily, weekly, monthly, yearly and in some cases hourly uses of energy.* It’s easiest to see how much energy phantom loads consume in a home during unoccupied periods of time such as vacations. On MyMeter, it would show the base kilowatt hour usage of your home, minus equipment like refrigerators, freezers and furnace fans.

The first step to controlling these phantom loads is by being aware they are present in your home. Next, start unplugging devices after you finish using them. You can use smart plug strips, which shut down power to products that go into standby mode. Start buying electronic equipment with an Energy Star rating, which uses less than one watt of power on standby. Consider using a “Kill a Watt” meter to track how much current connected devices use. Lastly, unplug unnecessary devices if you go on vacation or business trips.

Each of these is a way you can start eliminating the phantom loads loitering in your home, so pick your weapons of choice and start ghostbusting today!

*Visit MyMeter Part one and Part two blog posts to learn more about how you can use this tool to your benefit.