Lights, Camera, NO Action!

By PSU EcoMerge Capstone - 9:55 PM

Blog posted by Michelle Crawford

Most household items continue to draw power even when they are switched “off.” This is known as “phantom load” or “energy vampire” and occurs in appliances such as coffee makers, ovens, microwaves, dishwashers, washer & dryers, and other essential items. It occurs in other items such as digital clocks, CD/DVD players, computers (desktop & laptop), printers, cell phone chargers, gaming systems...the list could go on and on.

How do I know how much wasted energy I have in my house? First, look around you. Start identifying items that have a digital display, illuminations, or makes noise. A typical household has approximately 40 of these products constantly plugged in and consuming energy. The energy vampires can tack on 10% to your total electricity use.
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory conducted a study on phantom energy. The study lists some of the most common household items with their phantom energy consumption. Overall, the phantom loads can increase an item's energy consumption around a few watts an hours.

How can we all make a difference? Obviously, there are some items that must stay plugged in. For example, if you have a digital clock. It is not feasible to unplug the clock when not in use and then plug it back in and reset the time when needed. To eliminate energy waste on the items that really don't need to be plugged in, the energy needs to be stopped to the item. You can do this by unplugging the item or having the item plugged into a power strip. This is helpful if you have appliances within close range of one another. You can eliminate the phantom load by switching off the power strip, instead of unplugging each appliance. For other tips on reducing your phantom energy consumption, click
here.

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