The Haunting Specter of Energy Vampires and Phantom Loads

October 24, 2019

In addition to Halloween, October also brings us Energy Awareness Month. So, in the spirit of the season, let’s take a look at some spooky things that could be draining your home’s energy.

We’re hunting Energy Vampires.

Wander your darkened house at night and you’ll see their beady little eyes staring at you. Those lights in the darkness: your cell phone charger… your DVR… your automatic coffee maker. Those are vampires sucking away at your energy, and they can be expensive monsters!

Devices that draw power when you’re not using them create what are called phantom loads – also known as standby power – and they can make up as much as 10  percent or more of your energy bill.

Something as seemingly small as a cellphone charger uses about half a watt of energy per hour. Those fancy DVRs with red flashing lights and the clock? They drain as much as 40 watts of energy, which is the equivalent of leaving three bright lamps on all the time.

Most modern houses are filled with energy vampires. Phantom loads maintain your television settings and allow the TV to power up quickly when you press the “on” button. They are the digital clocks on your stove, and microwave. Phantom loads keep your wireless network running when you’re not online, and they make sure your wireless printer is ready to print whenever you are. One government study found that a typical American home has 40 products constantly drawing power.

But you can drive a stake through the heart of those phantom loads. Our FirstEnergy web site has lots of info to help you ward off energy vampires before they drain your bank account.