Phantom Load - How it's Robbing you and How to Stop it.

Phantom Load - How it's Robbing you and How to Stop it.

December 09, 2017

Phantom Load – How it is robbing you and how to Stop it


Phantom power or Standby power is the energy consumption that takes place with modern equipment even when the device is turned off. It may be hard to believe, but some devices may even draw approximately the same amount of power when it is off as when it is on. Case in point, a typical satellite dish and receiver could draw around 30 watts of power when it is on and the same 30 watts of power when it is off.  Standby power is not all bad, It’s there for a reason. It keeps programming up to date and allows your remote to communicate with the receiver in your TV. But these devices are designed to work in a power failure so cutting them off overnight or for extended periods at a time poses no issue.


According to an independent study conducted by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory the components in a typical home entertainment system could consume the following power annually when turned off. The estimated costs are calculated using the national average power rate of $.12 per kWh.



Power consumption Per Year

Estimated Annual Cost @ .12/kWh


129.43 kW


Game Console

418.77 kW


Desktop computer

598.53 kW


Two TVs with remote

135.34 kW



286.45 kW


Subwoofer speaker

135.34 kW



This is wasted power that can mitigated by turning your power strip off when not in use. But there is an easier way. What if your power strip was smart enough to do this itself? What if you could program your power strip to turn off late at night and turn on again early in the morning before you wake? You would save power and money and never be inconvenienced because it would all be done automatically. Well that can be done with modern smart power strips or smart plugs that can be programmed to automatically turn off during your sleeping hours and on in the morning before you wake.


If you would like to measure the power being consumed by your devices or appliances when they are off you can install a smart plug equipped with power monitoring capabilities. These plugs will measure the power consumed on a period of time, and record this on your smart phone. Simply install the plug and set up the app. Plug your device or appliance into it. Turn the device off and record the power consumption overnight. If your DVR is drawing 100 watts of power in the off or standby position, and you can eliminate this phantom power for 8 hours per night, that’s 292 kWh per year saved. At $0.12 per kWh cost that is $35.04 saved annually. Your smart strip or smart plug doesn’t cost you money. It saves you money. At that rate the smart plug or smart power strip would pay for itself very quickly. Then it’s money in your pocket.


Modern technology helped to create phantom loads, and now modern technology is helping to solve them. Empower yourself and take control of your home. You will conserve energy and save money. What could be better?

If you would like to estimate your Phantom Loads we've included a link below to a site with a Phantom Load Calculator. This site includes other tools such as a lighting calculator as well.


For more information, check out the HowitWorks article at