February 28th, 2012 at 5:00 am
Ever wonder how much electricity your appliances and devices really use? We see the bill every month and when it changes, we’re not always sure why. We expect air conditioning in the summer to cause a spike, but not all changes are obvious.
We also hear alot of tips on energy use and what things to do, or not to do, to save a few watts. For instance:
- Don’t leave your phone charger plugged in when not charging your phone. A trickle of energy is used even when the device is not there.
- Turn your cable box off as well as your tv when you shut down. Leaving it on drains a significant amount of power.
To help avoid some of this needless energy use, Belkin has introduced a line of products in its Conserve line that help you get control.
First is the Conserve Insight product. This is a device that sits between the wall outlet and your device. There is an energy use monitor attached that displays watts, CO2 output and cost per month or year.
I ran an experiment with my laptop just to see how much energy the various states of power required. The results showed that power consumption ranged from 1.8 watts when shut down to 37 watts while I was writing this blog. Sleep mode brought it down to 8 watts and Hibernate brought it down to 2 watts. Almost as low as when shut down entirely. I always knew it saved energy, but now I know how much.
Then I plugged my smartphone into it and found that without the phone plugged in it’s just a trickle, not measurable by the device. Actual charging drew about 6 watts.
Lastly, I plugged in my cable box and with the TV on it drew a whopping 113 watts. With the TV off, it went down to 18 watts. But when I turned off the cable box, it only dropped another watt, to 17. Not much of a difference here. Interesting.
So based on my data collection, neither of these energy saving tips amount to significant savings. That’s not to say you should leave things on or plugged in when not in use, but at least it’s not a reckless waste.
There are more energy conservation products in this line. Two of interest are the Conserve Socket and the Conserve Smart AV power strip.
The Conserve Socket is a single outlet device that will automatically shut down all power after a selected time of 30 minutes (for small appliances like curling irons or coffeemakers), 3 hours (for phone chargers, ipods, cameras), or 6 hours (for larger charged appliances like vacuums and drills). I’ve got one of these for my smartphone, so after 3 hours, it no longer draws those 6 watts, or the trickle when I unplug my phone.
The Conserve Smart AV is an auto-off surge protector for your TV/home theater system. It has different outlets, one for the master device like the TV, several for the items, like your cable box, that need 24-hour power, and two for devices that don’t need full time power, like your dvd.
The benefit of this is that when you turn off the master device, the ones that need power will be able to get it, but the components that don’t will be completely shut down, with no residual drain.
We’re all tightening our belts. I like these products because they give me a little bit more control over needless energy use. See the entire line of Belkin Conserve products at their website.