Our upstairs room is now ready for a spackler/taper to finish it. Aas my father says, I hope he has a sense of humor, because boy, are there a lot of seams! We also have 7 outlet receptacles throughout the room, which I find strange. In comparison, the room I use as my office only has two, but other than the office and the dining room, the rooms are covered in outlets. Apparently, the previous owners just couldn’t get enough of their electricity!
The electric panel has more than enough circuits in it to accommodate all of the appliances we use without tripping anything (as compared to our last apartment, where we couldn’t use the toaster and the microwave at the same time for fear of blowing one of the glass fuses. The electrical in that building was so old that when I took down the kitchen light fixture, we could see the old gaslight lines running up there!
Our electricity usage hasn’t been too bad since moving into our home last year, which I find surprising because it’s by far the largest place I’ve ever lived. Our bill hovers between $50-$60 a month outside of the winter months, when we occasionally use our oil-filled space heaters to spot-heat certain rooms.
But what about all of the things we have plugged in that aren’t actively being used? Off the top of my head, this includes our paper shredder, my computer, printer, coffeemaker, DVD player, TVs/cable boxes in other rooms, lamps, microwave, and the hand vacuum. But how much do they affect our electricity consumption?
Phantom Power Loads
Even when not powered on, certain appliances and electronics cost you money. That’s because although they’re technically powered off, plugged-in appliances still draw a small amount of electricity.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, “75% of the electricity used to power home electronics and appliances is consumed while the products are turned off. This can be avoided by unplugging the appliance or using a power strip and using the switch on the power strip to cut all power to the appliance.”
The DOE also suggests up to 20% of your energy bill comes from these appliances. So 75% of 20% is 15% — I’d be happy to save 15% off our bill. So how to address phantom power loads? I’m going to try to unplug what I can without Mr. Saver freaking out.
I’ve started with the TV in the basement, which we rarely use. Next, I’ll try to remember to shut off the power strip in the office, which has a number of electronics plugged in to it. Then there’s the radio/iPod charger. But I don’t think I can get away with pulling the plug on the microwave — that would just be too much of a pain in the butt, since it gets used fairly often. Mr. Saver also keeps his cell phone charger plugged in at all times, which drives me nuts as it is — but I’ll drive him just as batty if I continually unplug it when he’s not looking!
Perhaps this will make a difference, but I’ll be hard-pressed to tell, since our bill fluctuates so much as it is.
Here’s a neat chart that outlines how much appliances/electronics use on standby mode (when they’re plugged in).
|Product/Mode||Average (W)||Min (W)||Max (W)||Count|
|Air Conditioner, room/wall|
|Charger, mobile phone|
|Power supply only||0.26||0.02||1||32|
|Computer Display, CRT|
|Computer Display, LCD|
|Fully on, charged||29.48||14.95||73.1||13|
|Fully on, charging||44.28||27.38||66.9||8|
|Power supply only||4.42||0.15||26.4||19|
|Heating, furnace central|
|Multi-function Device, inkjet|
|Multi-function Device, laser|
|Night Light, interior|
|Ready, no handset||1.58||0.59||3.09||35|
|Phone, cordless with answering machine|
|Ready, no handset||2.82||1.72||4.7||20|
|Power Tool, cordless|
|Security Systems, home|
|Set-top Box, DVR|
|On, no recording||37.64||25.95||49.2||4|
|Set-top Box, digital cable with DVR|
|Not recording, TV off||44.63||44.38||44.87||2|
|Not recording, TV on||44.4||44.2||44.6||2|
|Off by remote||43.46||43.3||43.61||2|
|Set-top Box, digital cable|
|On, TV off||24.65||14.2||74.74||18|
|On, TV on||29.64||14.1||102.23||18|
|Off by remote||17.83||13.24||30.6||14|
|Off by switch||17.5||13.7||26.3||16|
|Set-top Box, satellite with DVR|
|Not recording, TV off||28.35||25.8||30.9||2|
|Not recording, TV on||31.37||24.2||36.3||3|
|Off by remote||27.8||22||33.6||2|
|Set-top Box, satellite|
|On, TV off||15.95||7.69||33.2||33|
|On, TV on||16.15||7.69||33.2||33|
|Off by remote||15.66||6.58||33.05||25|
|Off by switch||15.47||6.58||32.7||31|
|On, no sound||4.12||0.69||9.84||21|
|CD, not playing||4.11||1.29||6.83||15|
|Cassette, not playing||2.42||1.16||5.92||13|
|Off by remote||3.06||0.3||10.34||38|
|Off by switch||2.88||0||16.1||58|
|Television, rear projection|
|Off by remote||6.97||0.2||48.5||16|
|Off by switch||6.6||0.2||48.5||15|
|On, not playing||9.48||5.08||16.4||3|
|On, not playing||33.99||21.4||70.93||6|
|CD, not playing||13.99||1.67||36.95||28|
|Cassette, not playing||13.85||1.67||33.14||24|
|On, not playing||8.62||4||25.7||7|
|Caller ID Unit|
|On, not playing||4.53||4.36||4.7||2|
|On, not playing||7.54||0.24||12.7||33|
|On, not playing||13.51||8.48||20.5||21|
|Garage Door Opener|
|Ready, door closed||3.08||1.4||4.9||18|
|Ready, door open||25.79||1.6||39||17|
|On, not playing||37.61||17.1||65.2||18|
|On, not playing||10.7||5.8||20.6||7|
|Telephone Answering Device|
|Off by remote||5.15||2.15||13.3||6|
|Off by switch||5.99||2.15||13.11||7|
|On, not playing||6.01||1.72||12.8||3|
|On, not playing||7.77||3.8||11.62||14|
Congrats to Mrs. Frugal and family at Cool to Be Frugal on the arrival of her 10 lbs., 2 oz. bouncing baby boy!