Winter Readiness Tips: Part ThreeMarch 16, 2015
Looking ahead to warmer weather, our last Winter Readiness installment highlights the different types of technology currently available to help you control your electricity usage all year round.
Plug-in Power Meter
Do you want to know how much electricity your computer is using, both when it is turned on and off? A plug-in power meter tells you how much electricity the electronic device, appliance and other items plugged into the meter are using at any given moment. Knowing how much electricity the items in your home use can help you figure out where to save energy and when to take advantage of lower-priced hours.
Power Use Monitor
Taking power meters a step further, power use monitors show you how much electricity your whole home is using at any given moment. Instead of plugging into a single outlet, these monitors clamp on to the wires coming into your home’s electrical panel to detect how much electricity is being used throughout the entire home. With this type of power meter, you can see how much electricity your bigger ticket items, like your dishwasher and air conditioner, use when they are running.
Smart plugs allow you to turn devices, such as televisions or lamps, on or off from your smart phone or tablet. You can also set schedules to automatically turn devices on or off at certain times of the day. Some can even provide energy usage information to help you determine how much electricity the plugged in devices are using. Search “smart plug” on the internet and you’ll find a wealth of information on the many smart plug products currently available.
Advanced Power Strip
Many computers, televisions, and other devices draw power even when they are turned off. This “vampire power” can be as much as 10% of your annual energy usage. An advanced power strip will help reduce this usage by preventing devices from drawing power even when they are turned off. The Department of Energy provides a helpful guide for choosing the right advanced power strip for your needs.
If you are interested in any of these technologies, your local home improvement store or online retailers could be a good place to start. One technology that doesn’t require any shopping is the Power Smart Pricing mobile app. To access the app, go to m.powersmartpricing.org in your smartphone’s browser.