Report Number




Electric Power


Leaking electricity or "parasitic load" is energy wasted by electronic devices when they are not performing any useful function, typically in an "off" or "standby" state. Before this study, little was known about the magnitude or source of this waste. While whole house losses have been estimated to be approximately 50 watts, little data has been available to quantify energy waste from individual loads. This paper summarizes measurements of over 600 consumer electronic devices taken by researchers at both the Florida Solar Energy Center and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Combined they form the largest data set of consumer electronic loads ever assembled. Measurements were recorded at national electronic stores, a nationwide retailer and in individual's homes. Measured loads include heat pumps, televisions, videocassette recorders, digital video disk players, cable boxes, portable stereos, DSS receivers, telephones, and other miscellaneous residential electronic appliances. Detailed power consumption of each device was measured in the most common modes of operation (on, off and standby) and the features most likely to affect energy consumption were recorded. Loads for each product type and category are summarized in all modes of operation and methods to reduce parasitic loads are proposed.

Date Published



Reference Publication: Floyd, D., Webber, C., "Leaking Electricity: Individual Field Measurement of Consumer Electronics," Presented at the American Council for an Energy ­Efficient Economy, Asilomar Conference Center, Pacific Grove, California, August 23­28, 1998.

Local Subjects

Electric Power


FSEC Energy Research Center® Collection



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