The Silent Thief - Phantom Electricity

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Phantom electricity, phantom load, vampire draw, and electricity leaks are all the same thing. This phantom electricity drain happens when you leave your game console, microwave, or any other device plugged into a power source on stand by for quick use. It is true, we all prefer convenience, but are you willing to pay approximately $162.00 per year for that convenience. Our devices that are plugged into the wall, that are not in use, can accumulate up to 10% of your electricity bill per month. This is a national average and can change from house to house based on a number of variables. 
 
In the West South Central region, (to include: Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Texas) our average monthly electric bill is $135.48, according to the U.S. Cencus Division. This includes obvious things like, central heating and cooling, but also includes your electronic devices. Game consoles and surround sound receivers will consume the largest amount of idle electricity. If you don't think you have that many devices plugged in drawing power, lets take a look at a list and see if you have any of these items plugged into your electrical outlets. 
Device WattsAverage

Watts Min.

Watts Max.

Sample

Battery Charger

2.0

0.2

3.5

6

Cable TV receiver

12.5

5.0

20.0

2

CD Player

1.0

1.0

1.0

1

Clock

3.5

2.0

5.0

2

CO2 sensor

1.6

1.6

1.6

1

Computer - inkjet printer

7.6

7.6

7.6

1

Laptop          6.2                             6.2                       6.2  
Computer - laser printer

0.2

0.2

0.2

1

Computer - modem

3.5

1.4

7.1

3

Computer - Monitor

6.9

6.9

6.9

1

Computer - Zip drive

8.0

8.0

8.0

1

Computer Desktop

7.5

6.5

8.5

2

Computer – Sound Sys

13

05

12

5

Cordless - Lawn Care

2.4

0.6

4.3

3

Cordless – Phone

2.5

0.6

4.0

6

Cordless Vacuum

2.3

1.2

4.0

5

Electric Shaver

0.6

0.6

0.6

1

Electric Toothbrush

1.6

1.6

1.6

1

Fax Machine

9.3

2.0

14.0

4

Flashlight (rechargeable)

2.9

2.9

2.9

1

Garage Door opener

2.5

1.0

4.0

2

Invisible Pet fence

25.0

25.0

25.0

1

Microwave

3.0

2.0

5.0

3

Oven

3.0

3.0

3.0

1

Answering machine

3.5

2.0

4.6

3

Phone cordless

2.5

0.6

4.0

6

power cubes

3.4

2.3

5.0

3

Radio clock/alarm

3.3

3.2

3.3

2

Radio portable

3.1

3.1

3.1

1

Radio Stereo

1.6

1.6

1.6

1

Radio Stereo Mini System

16.2

3.3

29.0

2

Satellite, Starchoice HD

26

26

26

1

Satellite, MODEM

14

14

16

1

Stove

2.6

2.6

2.6

1

Surge protector

0.3

0.2

0.4

2

Tape Deck

4.4

4.4

4.4

1

Timer

1.5

1.2

1.8

2

TV 17"

8.0

6.4

10.0

3

VCR

5.3

4.5

6.0

2

 
 
 
Solutions:
Most electricity leaks trace to power transformers that cannot be turned off - either because a manufacturer found them less expensive to build that way or because it wanted to provide uninterrupted power to features that enhance a product's principal function.There is a very simple solution to this power leak issue. All you have to do is want to save money, and of course, unplug your idle devices. If you don't want to take the time to unplug everything and then plug it back in, there are quite a few other solutions. 
 
Here is a list of 10 devices that can help aid in the reduction of power consumption. nytimes.com - power saving devices
phantom_power2
 
Here at Gadget Grave, we use the basic power strip to plug in all of our charge blocks and devices. You can also plug your TV, DVD player, and surround sound into the power strip; and turn the switch to OFF before leaving. This is a very quick and easy way to terminate electricity leaks. There are also analog type timers which will power down everything while you are gone to work, or out for the night. You can also set your computer to sleep mode. In the future try to purchase Energy Star appliances. Inform others of phantom load/power leaks; maybe they can help spread the word too. 
 
To get a little Green on you, here are some quick facts to help put this into perspective, and help you when spreading the word. 
  • Nationally, phantom loads make up about six per cent of our entire residential electricity consumption.
  • A decrease of only 1% in industrial energy use would save the equivalent of about 55 million barrels of oil per year, worth about $1 billion.
  • If all phantom loads were eliminated, California would not have faced rolling blackouts .
  • Number of cars necessary to produce the amount of smog- forming pollution that comes from U.S. coal power plants each year: 37,000,000
  • One study estimated that the phantom load from TV's alone was equal to the output of a Chernobyl sized power plant.
  • Though accounting for only 5 percent of the world's population, Americans consume 26 percent of the world's energy.
  • Worldwide, some 2 billion people are currently without electricity. 

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