The origin of the energy we use at home.
What is phantom power?
The silent expense in the household
Phantom power represents 7-11% of the total electricity cost in Spanish households. Find out why that happens, and learn how to avoid it to save on your power bill.
Turning off unnecessary lights, keeping our home at a comfortable temperature around 20-21ºC, and using appliances bearing the A energy label are all just some of the measures that can help us cut our electricity costs. However, there's a type of energy consumption that we're not usually aware of and that continues to increase our bill every day: phantom power consumed by electrical appliances. We tell you all about it and what you can do to avoid it to achieve a more energy efficient home.
What's the phantom power used by household appliances?
Phantom power, also known as standby power, refers to the electricity consumed by certain electrical appliances and devices when we are not using them.
Even if an appliance or electronic is in standby mode, it will continue to consume electricity as long as it is connected to the general supply network.
How much electricity does phantom power account for?
In Spain, household energy consumption averages 3,487 kWh per year, of which phantom power accounts for about 300 kWh, according to data from the Spanish Institute for Energy Diversification and Saving (IDAE). According to these figures, phantom electricity consumption represents 7-11% of the total annual consumption of Spanish households.
Phantom power is a relatively modern concept as it's associated with the design of many new generation appliances. These devices have a transformer inside them with two coils that adapt the mains voltage to the specific voltage required by each device.
Now, even if we're not using these devices, one of the coils will always stay on while they're plugged into the mains. This is the reason why, when they're kept in standby mode, we can still see in many electrical devices a red pilot light that lets us know that it's in standby mode or a clock on the front of many oven models, for example.
Ways to reduce phantom energy consumption
Much more than just energy
A simple way to understand your energy, control your consumption, and make the best decisions for your home
Household appliances that use the most energy in standby mode
Dryers, dishwashers, fridges, washing machines, and TVs top the list of appliances with the highest electricity consumption, according to the Spanish Organization of Consumers and Users (OCU), but would you like to find out which appliances use the most energy in standby mode?
Overall, the following appliances’ phantom power consumption represents an expense of €23 per year:
On the other hand, there are also very efficient appliances in terms of overall energy consumption, but with high phantom power consumption, such as desktop computers or voice assistants.
TVs, DTT decoders, video game consoles, home theater systems, and printers are also at the top of the list of devices with the highest standby power consumption. However, the amount of time they are in use must also be taken into account.
If you want to check the phantom power consumption of your household equipment yourself, you can do so very easily by installing an electricity meter, which will enable you to identify which devices use the most energy.