I am on a quest to root out the ghosts in my house. These phantoms are constantly using my electricity and I get nothing in return. Except a higher electric bill. Armed with my new friend, TED, I set out to find these little phantoms. My average nighttime load is about 600 Watts. Some of this 600 Watts is known.

  • Landscape lights – 50W
  • Garage Lights – 17W
  • Kitchen Night Light – 9W
  • Fans and noise makers (Sleep aids) – 200W
  • DVR computer – 65W
  • Nursery Night Light – 9W

This total is 350 Watts. That leaves 250W of unknown phantom loads.

How many electric clocks do you have? If your house is like my house, then you have one on just about everything. Microwave, range, VCR, Telephones, and your regular bedside alarm clock. Now think about all of your “toys” that have a wall charger. Cell phones, iPods, laptops, shavers, even your Wii. Do you leave them plugged into the wall all the time? Sure you do. It is easier that way. Well, don’t. That little wall wort is costing you money. One last new phantom, digital converter boxes. Since I don’t have cable or satellite TV, I get over-the-air TV. I needed converter boxes. I purchased two Zenith DTT900. I wanted these because they only use 1 watt when not on, and only 13 watts when fully powered up. I set the sleep timer for 3 hours. This will turn them off if I forget. If both of these were to run an extra 16 hours a day for an entire month, that would be almost 12 kWhrs. Sure that is only costs me a dollar but that releases 25lbs of CO2 for no good reason at all!

I figure I can save some watts by replacing the fans with real noise makers. They use about a 60% less energy and I feel they are better because they don’t move the air around.  Unplugging all the wall worts when not in use will help a little. Installing a smart power strip to shut down extra computer stuff and TV stuff will also help. My goal would be to shave off 200 Watts. At 12 hours a day, that would 72 kWhrs a month. About $7.20. I can pay for my upgrades in a little over a year and a half. After that, it is money in the bank!

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