1:5:10:365 EcoTip Blog

January 21, 2008

:021 Auto-Off Powerstrips

Suggested Review – :002, :003, :004, :005, :019

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet.


1:5:10:021 Tip: In tip :019 I talked about how one of my computers with all of its peripherals had a trickle current that was using 40 watts of electricity even when the computer, monitor, printer and sound system were switched off in standby mode. This was needlessly costing about $80 a year. I suggested plugging the set-up into a power strip that could be shut off whenever the computer wasn’t being used.

What I have found is that my DSL cable box needs to have the “trickle current” or I loose my settings and have to wait for it to reprogram in order to connect to the Internet. That means about 5 watts of “trickle current” is essential for keeping my system functioning. That means switching off everything else should save $70 not $80 a year – which is still pretty good.

I have now purchase a “smart strip” which is able to automatically monitor power use and shut off the trickle current when the equipment is in standby mode. If you are dedicated to shutting your equipment off with a manually operated power-strip every time, that works fine, but I prefer the auto-off function. It remembers when I forget.

Tomorrow I will talk about using your watt monitoring meter to check you refrigerator electricity use and determine how to save energy from this big energy hog.


Additional Information

The auto-off power-strip I am using is the “SmartStrip”. It has one “control outlet”, three “constant hot outlets” and six “automatically switched outlets”.

The control outlet is for the item that will determine when the others should be shut down. I used it for plugging in my computer (“trickle current” savings 10 watts).

I have used “constant hot outlets” for my DSL cable box (5 watts) and my telephone answering machine (2 watts).

The “automatically switched outlets” are used for my monitor, printer, sound system which have a combined “trickle current” use of 25 watts.

 I had to play with the sensitivity adjustment a bit to get the power-strip to automatically shut down the trickle current when the computer was shut down. But now it works great.

The following is the smaller smart strip from Amazon:
SmartStrip (click here to go to Amazon)

Here’s the smart strip that I purchased. It turns out I could have gone with the smaller less expensive one because I have extra unused outlets:
SmartStrip (click here to go to Amazon)

(in the interest of full disclosure – I have signed up as an Amazon Associate. If you use this link to purchase a “Kill-a-Watt” I will receive a commission – I think it is 4%).


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