Phantom power is the electric current drawn even when no equipment is plugged in. The device doesn’t need to be turned on or draw any electricity for phantom power to be active. It’s called “phantom” because it can’t be seen, and you might not know it’s there unless you’re watching your electricity meter or if you have a device that explicitly measures phantom power.
Phantom power can account for up to 10% of your electricity bill, so it’s essential to track it and take steps to reduce it where you can. One way to do this is to plug all of your electronics into a power strip and then turn off the strip when they’re not in use, and this will cut down on the amount of phantom power your electronics are drawing.
You can also buy electronics that use less phantom power. For example, LED lights to use far less phantom power than traditional incandescent light bulbs. So if you’re in the market for a new light fixture, consider an LED one to reduce your phantom power consumption.
Phantom power, also called standby power, refers to the energy wasted around your home when devices are plugged in and using power, but you’re not actively using them.
Think about all the devices currently plugged in at home: laptops, gaming consoles, TVs, kitchen appliances, alarm clocks, and even electric toothbrushes. The average home has dozens of items plugged in at any given time. What’s more, 75 percent of the electricity these devices consume is used when they aren’t even on. That’s a lot of energy. All that phantom power can add up to 10 percent of a home’s energy costs.
What Is the Mechanism of Phantom Power?
A phantom circuit generates phantom power that distributes direct current evenly between the two signal lines of a balanced audio connection. Consider a balanced XLR cable for ease of use. Three pins will be visible:
- A grounding wire
- The positive audio signal
- The negative audio signal
Pins 2 and 3 carry the audio signal from your microphone. Phantom power applies +48V DC to both pins at the same time.
Most importantly, the power is routed through a balanced wire; it does not affect the audio quality or adds noise to the signal. A switch to turn phantom power on and off is found on nearly all current mixing consoles. Some high-end equipment can give individual channels phantom power, while lesser mixers can provide it.
Keep Track of your Power
You can buy an electricity usage monitor device to see how much power your appliances and devices are used in standby mode. These devices let you plug in various electronics or appliances and see how much power they’re taking, even when turned off.
You may also watch your hourly (smart meter) data on your local hydro company’s website to see how much energy you use at night and when you are not at home.
There are several ways you can track and reduce your phantom power consumption. Some common tips are:
- Plug all electronics into a power strip and turn it off when not in use
- Buy devices that consume less phantom power
- Install an electricity usage monitor to see which appliances and devices are using the most power
- Please turn off your electronics when you’re not using them
- Use a bright power bar to reduce phantom power consumption
- Consider an LED light bulb over an incandescent one
Keep an Eye on your Electrical Devices
Phantom electricity can be drawn by appliances all across the house, and it’s modest in certain circumstances, such as with smart light bulbs. Even while in standby mode, entertainment-related gadgets such as set-top boxes for recording TV shows and gaming consoles can consume much energy.
Depending on the model and settings, some gaming consoles consume a large amount of energy in standby mode, even when you aren’t using them. Wouldn’t it be better to spend your money on a new game rather than having your console running when you’re not there? The same can be said for other items you may not have considered, such as tiny kitchen appliances, which can still consume power when not in use.
Electricity usage monitors are a great way to see which of your appliances and devices use the most standby power. They’re easy to find and use, and you can get one for pretty cheap. With this knowledge, you can better choose which appliances to unplug or even replace with more energy-efficient models.
Think about your daily routine and see where you could make a change. For example, if you can’t live without your morning coffee, try unplugging the coffee maker when you’re not using it. If you can go an hour or two without needing it, you’ll save some energy in the long run. The same goes for other appliances in your home.
It’s essential to be mindful of phantom power and the amount of energy. You can reduce the amount of power your electronics consume, even when they’re turned off. You can make your home more energy-efficient and save some money on your electricity bill with a bit of effort.
To sum it all up
Now that you know a bit more about phantom power, you can take steps to reduce the amount of energy your electronics consume. Be mindful of the devices you use and how much power they’re drawing, even when turned off. You may be surprised at how much electricity some of your devices use in standby mode! You can make your home more energy-efficient and save some money on your electricity bill with a bit of effort.