Scary right? It isn't the ghosts shown in movies and TV shows to scare us and keep us awake at night. This "ghoul" can be scarier in fact because it doesn't seek to frighten us, it seeks to drain us! Phantom power can be defined as energy being consumed by devices that isn't producing a useful function. Take a look at the photo below. Notice the glowing eyes? That's energy being used up all around you, all the time. Although it may look cool, phantom power or standby power can add up to 5-10% of your electricity bill. How about putting that energy into cooking or keeping your food cold instead!
Common devices that use energy on standby:
➢ Cell phone/Tablet chargers
➢ Tool chargers
➢ Game consoles
➢ Monitors and TVs
➢ Satellite/Cable/PVR boxes
These devices and more all use energy for faster start up times, maintaining battery levels, and an assortment of other reasons. Some items use power in standby mode that we can't avoid such as your fridge, furnace, or hot water tank. However, there are some ways we can combat this leaky bucket so to speak.
Tips to combat phantom power:
➢ If you're not using it, unplug it! The best defense you can give yourself. Wall adapters or chargers used for phones and tablets, portable vacuums, and portable tools, all contain a transformer to convert AC to
DC for batteries. Did you know they are doing this even when they aren’t charging anything? Save some energy and unplug them when they’re not in use.
➢ Power it down! All devices use energy when plugged in, some devices use more energy to sleep rather than to run! When shutting down for the night, consider turning off your laptop, desktop PC, monitors or other electronics completely instead of allowing them to use their sleep function.
➢ Group them up! Consider putting similar electronics on the same power bar or outlet. When watching TV for example, you have a monitor, entertainment unit, whether it’s a PVR or game console, and possibly audio receivers. Put them all on the same power bar to turn them off together when you’re done with them.
➢ Look into smart devices to monitor energy usage!
There are several devices on the market for home use to help you combat this ghoul such as power bars and light switches. Check out our other blogs for more information on these items and more.
➢ Purchase Energy Star® appliances
Appliances certified by Energy Star® are approved and guaranteed to reduce energy consumption. As mentioned before, consuming energy on standby is unavoidable, but when using energy efficient fridges, washers, stoves and microwaves, you can rest assured you’re doing the best you can to save money and energy.
➢ Consider installing additional switches during renovations
Installing a switch into your circuit to control outlets is a convenient way to make sure energy isn’t being used when you don’t want. Hire a licensed electrician or make sure you do your research and have the right devices to keep you safe at home!
You wouldn't pay for a service when you're not using it would you? (ignoring gym memberships of course). Save the energy, and save your money.
Lastly, if you're not sure where your power sources are coming from, or your electrical panel is confusing, ask for help from an electrician that uses CircuitIQ to map your power in your home or building. It's important to Know Your Power.
i - Natural Resources Canada’s, Office of Energy Efficiency, Standby power: When “off” means on , 2014,