Worst of the Phantom Loads

Here are some of the worst offenders in the Phantom Load area.


My Model  VIP 622 DVR DISH Receiver/Recorder:

This DISH receiver uses 50 watts when on or off -- all the time, 24/7/365.

When you turn the power off, the little LED's on the front go off, but apparently nothing else happens.

This is 438 KWH are year, worth about $44 per year around here. 
It is also nearly 900 lbs of CO2 emissions a year.

I would guess that many of the digital recording (TIVO style) receivers are as bad, but I don't know -- its not something they seem  want to publish -- I wonder why?


Here is an NRDC study on power consumption of set top boxes ... (pdf)

Portable TV:

This rather innocent looking small TV uses 10 watts when plugged in but turned off.  There are no lights or any other indication that power is being consumed.


I had this sitting in the basement for years plugged in, but only used once or twice a year.  This costs 90 KWH a year -- about  550 KWH and $55 of electricity for the 6 years it was plugged and not doing anything, not to mention a 1000 lbs of unnecessary CO2 emissions.






Other Large Power Consumers

The following are not strictly speaking Phantom Loads, but they fall into the class of devices you might be leaving on all the time at considerable cost in dollars and greenhouse gas:


Personal Computers

Leaving a computer and its related peripherals on can consume a great deal of power.
The potential savings in cost and greenhouse gas are very large ...

Radon Mitigation Fans

If your house has a Radon mitigation fan, it may be consuming as much as 1200 KWH a year!

While you don't want to forgo Radon protection to save energy, there are a number of Radon mitigation schemes that use little or no power.  I believe that many Radon mitigation installers just opt for a large Radon mitigation fan because they know that it will do the job and they won't have to come back.  But, this approach can cost you well over $100 a year, and result in more than a ton of CO2 emissions.

More on this subject in a couple weeks.

Porch Lights:

Leaving a couple of 60 watt lights on all the time on your porch could use 1000+ KWH of electricity and result in 2000 lbs of CO2 a year.  Even if they are only on at night, its still a considerable waste of money  and greenhouse gas emissions. 
Think about just turning them off except when you really need them -- you might like the view of the stars more the glare from the lights.  Or, consider a motion detector to activate the light.  If you must have lights on outside all night for some reason, use efficient lights -- some brands of Compact Fluorescents work fine outside in cold temperatures. 

There are also a variety of solar powered, motion sensing lights that work well and don't use any grid power at all.


Gary Nov 4, 2007