Bob Vila Radio: Smart Power Strips

Even when not in use, home appliances consume energy if they are left plugged into an outlet. Look to new smart power strips to minimize the extent to which you are paying for electricity you don't actually use.

You’ve probably heard about vampire electricity, the electrical power that can suck the life out of your home power usage. It’s what you’re wasting when you leave your phone charger plugged into the wall when the phone’s finished charging, and it’s what your TV is using when you turn it off and it goes into standby mode. All those little watts add up to a huge waste of power per household every year. Smart strips can help you get some of that power back.

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Listen to BOB VILA ON SMART POWER STRIPS or read the text below:

Smart Power Strips

Photo: duke-Energy.com

A smart strip can sense when an electronic device is not in use, and it cuts power to that outlet in response. You can create relationships between devices—when your TV is not in use, your smart strip can cut power to game boxes or DVD players, for example. Other smart strips have motion detectors and can turn off lights when nobody’s in the room.

You don’t want to cut power suddenly to devices like computers and laser printers, of course—those need their shutdown routines to turn off safely. Most smart strips have one or two outlets that are always on, so you can plug your PC into one of those to keep it safe. But when you do power down, you can be sure that all the peripherals plugged into the smart strip will turn off as well.

Bob Vila Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 75 stations around the country (and growing). You can get your daily dose here, by listening to—or reading—Bob’s 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day.