Gifts for Geeks, Part 14: Measure (and Cut) Your Electricity Usage
I love A/V equipment. Heck, I even get a kick out of my kitchen appliances. But many of those items have some sort of "always on" functionality that eats electricity even when they are not in use. Here are two items that can help you get a handle on what those appliances are costing you -- and help you cut back as well.
Other than my refrigerator and TiVo (both of which I'm glad to have running 24/7), and possibly the clock on my stove, I don't need many appliances to draw electricity all day. Does it really matter that my TV knows the current time, or that it is always "warm" and turns on 5 seconds faster than a cold set? What about my DVD player? It doesn't even have a clock, but that little red light is always glowing on the front.
I've often wondered how much these little guys are costing me, and I've always wished there was an easy way to keep them from burning kilowatt hours (other than risking life and limb to climb behind my entertainment center to turn off my power strip when I'm finished watching TV). These two gadgets can help.
First is the Kill A Watt EZ plug-in power meter. It will tell you what kind of draw your appliances have, and it will also give you a running and projected cost! Find out how much your old VCR is costing you by the day, month, and even year. Is it worth it to even leave it plugged in at all?
Next we have the Smart Strip Power Strip. This nifty little device is a standard multi-outlet power strip with 2225 joules of surge protection. But what sets it apart are it's four (out of 10 total) programmable outlets that sense when an appliance (computer, TV, etc) is no longer being used and automatically shut off. Even devices that aren't "always on" can leak current, but the Smart Strip prevents that from happening. Good for your electric bill and good for the environment.