I've been on a tear of late to eliminate or minimize standby loads. This arises from data revealing that during spring and fall, when HVAC use is minimal, standby loads comprise 25%, 5 kwh / day of our home's total usage.
5 kwh / day exceeds the total usage of our entire kitchen - fridge, chest freezer, range, dishwasher, etc.
At national average electric rates of $0.11 / kwh, each Watt of standby usage works out to a buck a year, so the sneaky little loads add up fast.
An early victory came in the form of learning that the starting battery trickle charger on our standby genny consumes 30-35 Watts. A $40, 10 Watt PV panel from Amazon has allowed me to kill that load while still maintaining the genny's cranking battery.
We have 3 garage door openers, specifically Overhead Door Phantoms. They are quiet and have been relatively trouble-free. Imagine my shock at learning each uses 14.5 Watts while sitting and doing nothing.
Doing the math, the three (aptly named) Phantoms have cost us $200 in standby power since we built the house in early 2008.
Coincidentally, your recommendation is how we are now operating - 1 bay is unplugged, 1 bay is left plugged in (wife and kids) and 1 bay is rigged with an extension cord for intermittent use (my occasional use car)
House is 3400 SF, 5 residents, future aging family apartment included.
We don't "need" 3 garage door openers, and this thread wandered off into a multi-page debate about lifestyles, but my original complaint / inquiry was about excessive standby loads by the garage door openers and how I might mitigate them.
As to your client, start assisting her, but be sure to invoice for advice given and value received
I appreciate everyone's feedback regarding the specifics of my garage door opener standby power.
As to the much wider philosophic differences, I'm "through with engines"
Seems to me the quick easy would be to install a simple switch to shut off power once all the vehicles are in the garage for the night. Most garages have all of their garage door switches centrally located near the entry door to the home. bundle up the positive leads to a switch and let the owner turn it off once the garage is full and on again the following morning.
Unless they are night owls, they should be able to cut their yearly phantom load by 1/3. Cost = $5 plus install time.
Thanks, but alas not so easy - door opener receptacles in ceiling hardwired back to elec panel dedicated breaker. No handy wall switch...
I haven't tried it myself, as we don't pay that much attention to phantom loads in my shop, we're more about the bigger stuff. Still, I would think there would be a way that if you kill the on/off switches, which send a singal to the motor unit, there would be a way to shut that off by the same means. Might have to add ind. relays at the main units as well. Just a thought - trying to brainstorm here is all...
I appreciate the extra set of eyes on this one - I just don't want to incorporate extra complications into operating the doors as such would eat into the convenience of having them in the first place.
The first time I or my wife rolls up and the door won't open, necessitating a walk up around in down and back will be cause for complaint...same when kids are all loaded up and have to get back out and turn power on - we often run late anyway.
I will solve this in a manner transparent to users.