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Save Money Without Doing Anything. Seriously.

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This actually is about something you can buy that will save you money the first day you start using it and you never have to worry about it again. It could possibly cut your electric bill by quite a bit of money while at the same time help curb global warming. What could it possibly be?

It’s the Smart Strip power strip that I recently bought and installed in my office here at home. I used to have to a. remember to turn the power strip off and b. dig through 75 miles of cable under the desk to do so. But I saw this online and thought it was a great idea, and then my wife said they featured it on Oprah, so what the heck, we bought one.

You plug stuff in like any other power strip, but the difference is that some of the outlets are controlled by one main outlet. So here in my office, I plugged my computer into the main outlet, and plugged the monitor, printer and speakers into the controlled outlet. When I turn my computer off, the power strip automatically shuts off all power to the computer and the controlled devices, so there isn’t any phantom power going to them. Up to 40% of your monthly electric bill is due to phantom power, devices using electricity while they are “off”. This is a good way to stop this.

No, this is not a paid review or anything else like that. I just like the idea of spending a few bucks to save a lot of bucks, without any effort. I think we are going to get one of these for our television set up now. I figured I would let anyone know that doesn’t know about these things along with letting them know about how much energy and money phantom power uses in your house when you aren’t looking. See? Told you you could save money without doing anything…well, after you buy one that is…you can find them at Amazon or a bunch of other places. They are called the “SMART STRIP Smart Power Strip” if you start looking for one. Of course, you can use a regular old power strip, which we don everywhere else in the house right now. But it has made things easier here in my office as I no longer have to crawl around under there trying to find the power button!


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Comments (11)

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  1. phantomdata says:

    You know, I’ve never seen any real data surrounding the “phantom power” drain.

    US A/C is around 120V, and I can’t imagine a phantom device taking more than a couple hundred milliamps… say 200miliamps for this… so 0.2amps
    P=VI, so 120*0.2=12W.

    Power’s typically charged at what? 0.08/kwhr? So, for a watt hour that’d be 0.08/1000 = 0.00008 per watt hour.

    Say there’s 24kwhrs in a day so 12*24=288whrs @ 0.00008 = 0.02304 dollars a day or 69cents a month.

    Now, let’s say it draws a full amp… you do out the calculations and get 24*120= 2880watts @ 0.00008 = 0.23 dollars a day. I’d say a full amp for “phantom” mode is pushing it amazingly far.

    I’m just throwing this out there. I haven’t double checked my numbers, so feel free to look over it – but I think it’s a good rough idea. 23cents for a WILDLY inefficient “phantom” mode considering that you could power a motor with milliamps of current at that voltage.

  2. david says:

    If you add up how many things in your house are plugged in 24/7 and not being used, the numbers add up. Check out http://michaelbluejay.com/electricity/transformers.html for way more info then I can explain!

  3. phantomdata says:

    Well, I’ve already done the cost computation for an inefficient stand-by device to be 2cents a day.

    So if we assume that all devices average out to inefficiency at using 12W of power, I’ve got

    computer (12)
    + monitor (12)
    + cell-phone charger (12)
    + wii (12)
    + ds-charger (12)
    + tv (12)
    + ps2 (12)
    ——-
    84Watts
    * 24 Hours
    ——–
    2.016 KiloWatt Hours A Day
    * 0.08 / KiloWatt Hour
    ———
    0.04 dollars a day

    I suck at math, so double check – but that seems pretty low to me. A watt is a pretty small unit of measure, considering that the power company bills you for THOUSANDS of watts per hour.

    At one year you would have saved $14.60 (if my numbers are right) by keeping these devices off at all times. You’ve ALMOST recouped your power strip.

  4. I didn’t do the math like phantomdata did, but I looked around my house for where I could use this and the answer is… nowhere effectively. I have laptops and use them to some degree most of the day (enough that wouldn’t want to power them down and start them up). Laptops are also very power efficient.

    I have an entertainment center and there’s a chance it can be used there, but there would have to be some kind of way to let Tivo do it’s job when not in use, so I guess requires some power applied to it and the cable box at all times. Perhaps it’s still useful there, but it’s going to take quite some time to recover the costs, I think.

  5. david says:

    Thanks for the math, Phantom, will have to check into that some more!

    And LazyMan, we have a powerstrip for our entertainment center as well, but the Tivo and Cable box are plugged in to a different strip that remains on at all times. Everything else – TV, stereo, iPod dock, DVD player, all get switched off on their powerstrip.

    I am thinking of getting a Kill-A-Watt to see just how much juice my house uses when I am not using any of it!

  6. phantomdata says:

    I would be very curious to see what your kill-a-watt (if you buy one) reads. I’ve been very tempted to purchase one of these myself, but haven’t seen any objective or informed reviews of it.

  7. david says:

    I am curious now too Phantom…anyone out there have one that knows more than I do about this stuff? Anyone want to send me one? 🙂

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