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Slaying Your Worst Electricity Vampire

Back in August, 2010 we published an article about the "energy vampires" in your home that suck power even when your devices are turned off. And one of the worst offenders in your home can be your DVR box (digital video recorder), which depending on the model, can be a real energy hog when it is turned off but still plugged in. The challenge with a DVR box, is that a simple power strip or timer (which are great for shutting off vampire power from appliances like computers, speakers, plasma TV’s, etc.) don’t work with something like a DVR box, that you want to have power when it is time to record a particular show (helpful accessory: digital timers).

To the rescue is a smart device called a "Programmable Power Outlet", that sells for under $20. In this video and article, we discuss:
  • How it Works

  • What We Like About It

  • How It Saves You Money

 

HOW IT WORKS


The "Programmable Power Outlet" is a small device that you plug an appliance into, and then it automatically provides power in accordance with the times that you have programmed in. The device can be plugged directly into a wall outlet, or it can be plugged into an extension cord or power strip (helpful accessory: energy saving outlets).

So for example if you have set your DVR to record a show at 2pm in the afternoon, then you can program the Programmable Power Outlet to come on 10 minutes before 2pm (to give the DVR box time to warm up) and then it can be programmed to turn back off for after your recording is scheduled to be finished.

The Programmable Power Outlet has a heavy-duty design, so that it can handle the load of multiple appliances. Being rated to handle up to 15 amps, you can also plug your TV and gaming consoles along with your DVR box into the device, and save all of them from sucking vampire power when they are in standby.

You can program in up to 14 settings, with a total of 98 on/off events. And these events can be can be programmed daily or weekly. The device also has an “ON / OFF” override button on it, so that you can still turn your appliances on when you need them.

In addition, the device has a "random" mode, so you can use it to control lights when you are on vacation, to give your home a "lived in" look to deter burglars.

One downside to using the device however, is that you will need to locate the device where you can have easy access to it, if you need to frequently program it or use the override ON / OFF button (helpful accessory: programmable wireless outlet remote controls).
 

WHAT WE LIKE ABOUT IT


There are a number of things that we like about this smart device. First, at under $20, it is a good value. Next, because it is programmable, when you set your DVR you can set the Programmable Power Outlet at the same time, even if you want to record on a daily or weekly basis. And we liked that it has an simple ON / OFF button so you can easily over-ride the the settings, without disturbing them. Lastly, we liked that it had a battery back-up, so that if there is a power failure at your home, you don’t have to re-program the device.

However, for some people, they may find that the digital display is a bit on the small side.
 

HOW IT SAVES YOU MONEY


If your DVR model is a big hog (like some of the Motorola models which can consume up to a whooping 28 watts when they are in standby), even if you never turned it on, it would still be costing you around $50 per year in vampire electricity use . Probably more than the cost of your DVR subscription fees! With the Programmable Power Outlet, the DVR is only turned on when you need it, and so you avoid the standby electricity use. At a cost of under $20, the benefits can pay for the device in just a matter of months.
 

SUMMARY


Vampire power is a waste of energy, and hopefully this video and article has helped you learn a way to slay one of the worst vampire hogs in your home.

Related Articles . . .

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