Every Day

Phantom Energy

So you say “What is phantom energy?” Phantom energy is the electricity that items in your home are using when they are turned off but still plugged in.

Do you have any idea how much this phantom energy is costing you? I didn’t until I actually took the time required to research it. How did I do this? Well, there are two ways to do it.

You can use an energy meter like mine which is pictured above or you can purchase one of your choice on Amazon or another store. I wouldn’t spend a whole lot of money on doing this because cheaper meters are pretty accurate for our purposes.

Mine measures the watts used for each item and converts it into a monthly or yearly cost. I have owned it for years. You first have to plug in how much you are paying per kilowatt hour. If you can’t figure it out from your bill, call your electric company and they will tell you. It works well enough for me to be able to decide which items in my household are drawing the most phantom energy. Because it also tells me how much energy we are using each month for each item when it is being used and plugged in, it helps me determine what the “energy hogs” are. 

If you don’t want to spend any money to find out, you can use a
calculator like this one to figure it out. Personally, I like using my meter. It is a lot less time consuming although it will take you a while to get all of the usage for all of your items that are run by  electricity.

My meter has to be plugged in for at least 45 minutes to get an accurate reading. So it takes a while to do this with every appliance in the house both plugged in and turned off and when the appliance is turned on and being used. Although it isn’t much hands on time.

So you ask, did I find any surprises?  Yes!  I found that the cable boxes that my cable company is providing me with are drawing 18.2 watts even when we are not using the cable TVs. We have three televisions in our home so this adds up to quite a bit of money a year. So we have plugged the TVs, cable boxes, dvr’s, etc. into power strips in each of the three rooms so that we can easily turn it all off when they are not being used. That way they are drawing 0 kwh’s.

I also found that our dehumidifier in our basement is not at all energy efficient. It is probably because it is 9 years old. We will be keeping an eye out for a more energy efficient one on sale. We only use it in the spring and summer months so we have time to get a good deal.

Our refrigerator and our freezer are pretty energy efficient considering they are plugged in 365 days a year for 24 hours a day. They and the dryer are some of the biggest usages of electricity in our home along with the A/C in the summer. A clothesline or drying racks are a whole lot cheaper than paying to dry your clothes.

We found that LED bulbs take hardly any kwh usage. We have replaced all of the bulbs in our home with LED’s and it dropped our electric bill by about $15.+ a month. Yes, it is expensive to replace all your light bulbs with LED’s. However the LED’s last 10-15 years so you only have the upfront cost during that time period. But we are saving a fortune in electricity during those 10-15 years. If I didn’t replace them, I might as well have just thrown $15. in the garbage every month.

So you say, it seems to be a lot of work to get all of this information and use it to your benefit. Is it worth my time? Of course it is. I don’t know what you pay for electricity every year but I paid a total of $ 1937.87 for both electricity and natural gas for my household in the past year. That is a significant amount of money! No matter how much income you have a year, it is to your benefit to do the research and save as much money as you can on your bill.

If your income is being cut or you are in debt, do the little bit of work it takes to figure this out and reduce your yearly outgo for this expense. Every little bit will help you pay your other expenses and get rid of your debt.

I actually like gadgets so I enjoyed this little project. It was fun. And it lets me be aware of how I can reduce my utility bills in 2019. Our gas and electric company has stated that they expect prices to go up 5% this winter. Do I want to pay 5% more? Heck no! So I will be finding ways to make up that difference and more.

So where have you been all week American Dreamer? We have been doing some projects around our home. One was this tracking electricity project. We are trying to get some other projects done so that we will start the New Year feeling ready and good about 2019.

We are also enjoying this time of year by spending time talking to old friends and going out to dinner with our Buffalo ones. And of course, family is always on the top of our list.

So I will pop in once in a while as I have time but we will be mostly taking the next few weeks off and just enjoying things and getting things done. I hope you are enjoying yourselves this month too and getting ready for 2019.

6 replies on “Phantom Energy”

Enjoy your holidays & time with your family.

We installed solar recently, and the solar provider has an incredible web site that has been really insightful for energy production & consumption. A nice side benefit that we weren't expecting from installing solar.

I've also been focused on eating down food that's in our freezer, in order to mostly start fresh in January. Our freezer was too full, and things weren't getting used up in a timely manner. Now I can more easily tell what we have available, and what we actually need.

I've also sold a few things on eBay & the like.

My goal for next week is to keep grocery shopping quite minimal this week, and minimize/eliminate food waste as much as possible before we head out of town.

Hi Hawaii Planner,

You too!

I hope your solar is working well for you.

Food wise we have been doing the same as you. It feels good to eat what you have already paid for.

Hi, AD, this is Chris. Oooh, you have given me an idea of something to get for hubby for a present sometime. He got some kind of thing from our electric company that he can use with his phone that tracks the electric usage for the whole house, but not each appliance separately. He loves to follow this, being the engineer he is. LOLOL! So I am thinking he would like the thing like you have also.

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