How To Eliminate Phantom Loads

March 19, 2013 · 0 comments

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Phantom loads are plaguing the world and are a huge problem for those of us living off the power grid. What is a phantom load?

Everything possible must be done to eliminate phantom loads or at least reduce them. But how do we do that?

The simplest way to eliminate a phantom load is to unplug or disconnect the phantom load.

You can simply unplug an item when not needed and plug in when needed. This is the least expensive method but most inconvenient. The problem with this option is most will forget or just not bother as it is too inconvenient. I know most of us who dream of leaving city life think we will have so much free time but the truth is we won’t and we don’t. Off grid living is a never ending battle. Anything we can do to simplify our lives is a good idea.

A more convenient method to eliminate phantom loads would be to put all phantom loads on power bars.

Items like televisions, surround sound systems etc… could be plugged into a power bar and then turned off when not needed. This works but is still a little inconvenient.

Plug phantom loads into a power bar.

The better method of eliminating phantom loads is to add a switched outlet or wire a switch in the same electrical box as the outlet.

You could plug the television and DVD player into the same switched outlet. When you want to watch a movie, simply turn on the one switch to power the TV and DVD.

Switched Outlet

This best setup (and most complicated to wire) is to wire a switch or switches in a convenient location to operate outlets that are in inconvenient locations.

For example: You have a television in your bedroom that is on the opposite side of the room as the bed. You could get out of bed to unplug the television or you could wire a switch close to the bed to operate the outlet the television is plugged into. This is quite common in hotel rooms.

Switched Outlet

Get Rid of (or Disable) Clocks that Plug into the Wall

Clocks that plug into the wall outlet are not an efficient use of electricity. They most often contain inefficient transformers that make a lot of heat and use a lot of electricity to make that heat.

Wall WartSome of them have wall warts instead of internal transformers (as seen to the right).

Try this:
Get close to your clock that is plugged into a wall outlet. Listen to it. Is it humming? Is it warm or even hot? The humming noise is the transformer converting the 120 volt AC to a lower DC voltage. Transformers can be very inefficient therefore making lots of heat. If your clock is warm or hot it is wasting electricity.

Now go check out your battery operated clock. It likely does not hum and is not even warm let alone hot. It couldn’t be. If it was allowed to get hot, the battery would be depleted in a matter of minutes.

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