Saving money on energy in your home needn’t be complicated. In fact, homeowners and renters could save an average of £140 on their annual energy bills just by switching off unused appliances and devices.
Some appliances, like a fridge or freezer, need to be left on all the time, or kept on standby, like a smart speaker. But many appliances are left on that don’t need to be. This background electricity use is known as ‘Phantom Load’, because of the way in which energy is invisibly drained without users necessarily knowing about it.
Understanding Phantom Load in your home, and what’s contributing towards it, is important as homeowners can often make simple changes to their energy usage that can lead to significant savings on their energy bills.
Analysis of Loop data found the average UK household wastes an average of £140 unnecessarily through their Phantom Load, while in some homes this could be as much as £450.
Across the UK that means that just switching things off could collectively save households almost £4bn.
By identifying your home’s Phantom Load, you could also help minimise your environmental impact: if every household in the UK reduced their Phantom Load by £140 the carbon emissions saved would be the same as taking more than 2.8 million cars off the road each year. All that, just by switching off a few appliances.
The worst culprits
Some of the biggest energy-wasting culprits in British homes include set-top boxes, which could cost more than £75 while left on standby for a year, and unused fridges or freezers which could be adding an extra £50 to your energy bill every year.
Another culprit of wasted Phantom Loads is outdoor motion-activated security lights, which can also contribute to rising energy bills, with some over-sensitive models adding as much as £25 over the course of a year.
Here’s a run-down of some of the common culprits and how much they could be adding to your energy bills.
Faulty appliances and systems can also increase your Phantom Load and add unnecessary cost to your bills.
So, tackling your Phantom Load is a great place to start if you want to cut your energy use and save money, while reducing your impact on the environment.