“Phantom loads” are electronics that always run, regardless of whether they are being used or not.
Most people are aware of the harm that these electronics can have on the environment: inefficient electricity use greatly increases the output of the coal plants that supply power and, therefore, increases fossil fuel emissions into the atmosphere.
Unplugging personal electronics is an “easy” step to take in order to cut both energy bills nad electricity usage. However, the hectic nature of day-to-day life often foils even those with the best of intentions, and people inevitably forget to pull the plug. Truly managing phantom loads requires buying smart power strips that automatically turn off devices if they are not in use, and that can add up if you need to manage a lot of devices.
Plus, phantom loads are just one component of energy waste; new appliances and home remodelling can get quite expensive but are necessary to truly reduce electricity waste. Don’t get discouraged, though, because here’s one great example of how an American homeowner with a low income incrementally lowered her power usage, cutting her bill in half by the end:
In an interview with The News-Review of southern Oregon, this homeowner explains how she reduced phantom loads and purchased efficient appliances. The first step was to replace all indoor and outdoor light bulbs with energy efficient models since it is the easiest and cheapest way to reduce power use; then, that money helped her save for the bigger expenses like new windows, insulated doors, and better air conditioning and heating units.
A local agency provided weatherization and other related services, so look into programs in your area to see if there is anything similar that can help. Many governments also offer rebates and other incentives when purchasing efficient appliances.
Phantom loads alone can add an extra $100 to your bills every year. Unplug when you remember, but plan sustainable, long-term strategies to reduce electricity usage.