Beware of Phantom Power and Conserve Hard-Earned Money in Your Home

Recently, a unique new term has been gaining national and even worldwide attention. The term phantom power describes the electrical power that is consumed by household gadgets and home electronics when they are plugged into a wall outlet. The word phantom was selected because we can’t see it. Your not-so-innocent household gadgets and electronics needn’t even be turned on or in use to be consuming electricity. The power consumption of many electrical devices continues between uses at an alarming rate if you consider the fact that that most of us plug our electronics and appliances into a wall outlet and don’t unplug them unless we need to move them or when we are replacing them. Let’s talk about how phantom power is wasted, why it is there at all, and how we can cut our use.Household electricity is supplied to homes in the USA for example at 240 volts, circuit panels are then set up inside the home and are designed to provide 120 volts to our wall outlets. Home electronics, and most electronics for that matter, operate on smaller voltages in 24 volts, 12 volts, and even 5 volts. In order to reduce the 120 volt wall outlet voltage to a usable voltage for the electrical devices in your home, a power supply with a transformer is included inside your appliances. These transformers must be energized at all times to provide a working voltage to the on-off switches, to a clock that keeps time, or even a memory circuit that remembers your favorite stations. Hence the phantom power, alive and well, even though you haven’t begun to use the device just yet. If you leave these appliance, electronics, or even battery chargers plugged into a wall outlet you are paying for it.Homeowners typically will pay their bill on a monthly basis. Electric utility bills usually will show the total kilowatt hours (KWH) used for that particular month. It is estimated that an average homeowner can cut the kilowatt hour usage by 5 to 7 percent by aggressively tackling phantom power. With utilities on the rise worldwide, any savings generated today is guaranteed to increase over time. Most electronic and electric devices in your home including small appliances like the coffee maker and toaster oven are some fine examples household products stealing money from your pocket. Your clock radio and the television in the spare bedroom also are consuming power twenty-four hours a day.A cellular phone charger or battery charger for any portable electronic item is another example of a power thief. Unplugging these items from the wall is one easy answer to eliminating the round-the-clock current draw. This does become inconvenient for some individuals or even if something is plugged in near a hard-to-reach area. An easier alternative in many cases is to simply add a power strip or switchable power plug. The switch on a power strip actually opens one leg of the power circuit, the hot leg, therefore breaking the circuit and cutting off the power consumption without the need to unplug anything. When you need to use these items, simply turn the switch back on.With energy prices continually on the rise, any savings that a homeowner can realize are easily worth their trouble. As for the near and distant future, forming energy saving habits now will actually increase the savings as utility rates continue to increase. More of your hard-earned money will find its way back into your pocket, therefore reducing phantom power is a win-win situation for mother earth and you.

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