Install Smart Power Strips

Did you know that most of your electronics are drawing power when they are not in use?  This “vampire load” adds up to cost the average home $200/year!  Installing smart power strips can reduce vampire loads and save you money.

Easy
Households: 1 completed, 18 committed
200
Points ?
$80
Annual Savings
$20 - $100
Upfront Cost
These are estimates
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Energy and water savings

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400
kWh Electricity
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0
Therms Natural Gas
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0
Gallons Gas
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0
Gallons Water
  • Save energy and money
  • Simplify your system by managing many devices at once
  • Reduce carbon emissions and air pollution

Overview

The Action
We will install Smart Power Strips and reduce energy loss.
Is this action for me?
Yes!  Anyone can do this action.
When and Who?
This action can be done any time and by anyone.
How long will it take?
Quick - a bit of time to find the right power strip, purchase and install.
What is the cost?
Around $20-50 and up per power strip.

Benefits

  • Save energy and money

  • Simplify your system by managing many devices at once

  • Reduce carbon emissions and air pollution

Resources

Programs

Learn more about how to choose a smart power strip from Energy Saver.

Sign up for a No-Cost Green House Call with CYES and start saving energy.

The Basics

Many electronic devices draw power 24 hours a day, whether you are using them or not.  Smart power strips are an easy way to stop this extra power use and save you both energy and money.

Checklist

Identify electronics with vampire loads
Cluster electronics
Choose your power strip
Install and save

What is a smart power strip?

A smart power strip is just the same as your normal average power strip except that is has added features that allow you to shut off the power to devices when not in use.  There are a few different types and designs so you can find one that works for you.  First step - find your vampire loads!

Find your electronic energy wasters

First, identify the devices where you could benefit from a smart power strip.  The two main areas of vampire loads are home entertainment centers and home offices.  Any device that has a remote control is a great candidate for an energy saving power strip.  Often TVs and stereos that appear to be off are actually on standby mode, waiting for a signal from a remote control.  Also any device with a status light or a digital display, like computers and printers, are drawing energy when you are not using them.

Unused chargers left in outlets are especially wasteful.  Basically, with the exception of light fixtures, most of what you leave plugged in likely has a vampire load.  Most devices use less energy in standby mode than when they are in use; however round-the-clock energy losses really add up!  Experts estimate that most households lose an entire month’s worth of energy to the vampire loads each year.

Cluster for easy efficiency

Once you have identified the devices that have “vampire loads”, consolidating them will help make it easier to manage the loads.  Often homes include clusters of devices used during a specific time period each day.  For example, entertainment systems often include televisions, cable boxes, DVD or CD players, game consoles, and other feed-ins that are all used at the same time.

A home office might include a computer, an external monitor, a scanner, a printer, and various chargers also used at the same time. Often these devices will only be used during short time periods of the day.  After you find these clusters in your home, set them up to use a single power strip (or two if needed).

Choose your power strip

The next step - choose your power strip.  There are five main types of smart power strips:  Timer, Activity Monitor, Remote Switch, Master-Controlled and Masterless.  When and how you use your devices can help you decide which one is best for you.  Below is a brief guide on how to choose.  They are listed in order of cost with the last two being the more expensive options.  Learn more about Smart Power Strips.

Timer Power Strip:  Is your usage predictable and regular? Then a programmable timer might be the right choice. Strips with digital and analog timers can turn devices on and off based on a specific schedule that follows your use.  They come in both digital or dial timers.

Remote Switch:  If your schedule is varied and you are good about remembering to turn things off, a remote control switch might be right for you.  These power strips come with a remote control where you can easily switch the power off to all devices on the strip with a simple click.

Master Controlled:  If there is one device that is the primary device on the strip, like your computer or TV, you can choose a master controlled strip.  These strips automatically turn off the energy to all devices on the strip when you turn off this master device.  This makes it easy as you don’t have to remember to turn anything off.  Look for a power strip with one outlet labeled “master”.

Masterless:  If there isn’t one device that makes sense as a master, a masterless power strip will turn off when all the devices on the strip are off.  One possible drawback - sometimes turning off a high powered device can turn off the whole strip.  These could also be called “automatic switching” or “power detection” strips.

Activity Monitor:  Go truly high tech with an activity monitor strip.  These strips come with a motion sensor that will turn power off when you’re not around.  One possible drawback - sometimes the motion sensors don’t work perfectly.

Install your smart power strips

Once you choose your power strip, purchase, install and save!