Monday, February 28, 2011

Bye Bye Standby

Remote Control Outlet
Vampire power. Some people call it ghost power, phantom power, or standby power. Basically, they all mean the same thing - power that is consumed by devices even when they are supposedly turned off.

Last year I devoted an article to vampire power and what it can really be costing you. Some worst case scenarios may include home entertainment centers or computers with peripherals using 30 or 40 watts of power, even when "off"!

Now consider all of the devices in your house that are always plugged in - TVs, monitors, stereos, cell phone chargers, coffee maker, microwave, alarm clocks, etc.

In 10 years, 100 watts of 'vampire' power could cost you $650 (assuming devices should be off 14 hours a day, and a 12.5 cent per KwH electricity cost).

Luckily there are many solutions to vampire power. You can unplug devices when not in use (this is somewhat tedious and difficult for hard to reach plugs). You can attach consumers to a power strip and "flip the switch" when not in use.

You can also use "smart strips" as discussed in the original article.

Or you can use any number of remote-controlled switches.  There are a number of remote controlled switches available on the market - most involve plugging a sensor outlet into an electrical socket.  That "sensor" outlet receives the on/off signal from a remote control.

One of the most highly rated, highly reviewed, and cheapest solutions is the Stanley indoor remote controlled electrical socket three-pack (photo above).  This system is nicely designed in that when connected to an electrical outlet, it doesn't block both outlets.

If you check out Amazon, you'll see a number of remote control switch/outlet products from Bye Bye Standby, Woods, and others.  As always, shop around, and enjoy having this additional tool in your vampire fighting toolbox.

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