Homeowners may have many different gadgets, lights, devices and appliances tucked into outlets or power strips. Some of these items may be sources of energy drains; they aren’t in use, yet they continue to suck electricity.
Coffee makers that keep time, gadgets with their lit up screens and other devices with lights and digital features could be continuously in use even if they aren’t actually being used. To minimize energy vampires and ensure that those gadgets don’t suck the budget dry, homeowners can plug into energy-efficient power strips to help control their electricity flow.
What are Energy-Efficient Power Strips?
While energy-efficient appliances often bear the ENERGY STAR label that helps homeowners know that the model saves energy, this label won’t be present on energy-efficient power strips.
Power strips are unique in that they offer a range of outlets so that homeowners can plug in multiple gadgets. They can’t really offer decreased energy savings in the same way as many energy-efficient options.
However, these power strips have one important capability that lets them be controlled easily and efficiently, while minimizing energy waste in the process. Energy-efficient power strips are smart, and they connect to the internet.
Their connectivity also means that many of them can be controlled virtually and remotely via a phone or tablet. These smart power strips might require users to download a compatible app to exercise remote control, though.
How does the internet connection let homeowners save energy? By having the convenience of controlling the power strip from anywhere, homeowners can turn off their power at any time if they aren’t in use.
Homeowners could forget to turn off a strip that is sitting underneath a table. They might be on vacation when they realize that gadgets are still plugged into the strip. Using their phone, the entire power strip could be turned off.
The Internet of Things
This type of connectivity is referred to as the Internet of Things. Using smart powerstrips and smart plugs, homeowners could theoretically remotely control many of the items in their home that are powered by electricity.
The Internet of Things also lets homeowners utilize smart virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa to control their items, too. Using voice commands homeowners can turn gadgets and appliances on and off; they might even be able to brew coffee!
Choosing the Best Smart Powerstrip
Smart power strips—or energy-efficient power strips—are offered in different designs. Some look like traditional linear power strips, while Inverse explains that others are shaped a bit like a cube or even offer a stacked design.
When shopping for smart powerstrips, though, homeowners need to be mindful of finding the option that is compatible with their smart assistant or other tech.
Many of these smart power strips offer not just electrical outlets for standard plugs but USB ports for charging gadgets, too.
Tips on Using Smart Power strips
Like other powerstrips, smart powerstrips cannot and should not be plugged into each other. This is called daisy chaining, and it could be a fire hazard.
Don’t overcrowd powerstrips, and unplug items when they aren’t in use. While homeowners can turn them off remotely, it’s still a good habit to remember unplugging unused items.
Homeowners also could use smart plugs for appliances that are often in use but still may need to be controlled remotely. For example, the coffee maker would be an ideal appliance to plug into a smart plug.
Are Smart Power Strips Expensive?
Homeowners who want to invest in energy-efficiency but who might not have a huge budget for updates and upgrades could consider upgrading their outlets and power strips to a smarter option.
Smart power strips range in price, but some are less than $20. Again, though, homeowners should make sure that the powerstrip offers the compatibility they need.
Can’t Upgrade all the Outlets?
Homeowners might not want to upgrade all their outlets to smart technology. Some homeowners are more comfortable trying out new tech to decide if it meets their needs.
Even if all outlets aren’t ‘smart,’ homeowners can take some simple steps to get their energy drains under control:
- Unplug all unused gadgets and small appliances. This includes the coffee maker if it isn’t brewing.
- Turn off lights when leaving a room
- Swap light bulbs for LED bulbs
- Program the thermostat to ensure that the home stays at the most optimum and energy-efficient temperature (78 degrees in summer, 68 degrees in winter)
While energy-efficient power strips can help homeowners take control of their energy waste, homeowners may want to try a power strip or plug to see if this technology meets their needs. When shopping for smart plugs and power strips, homeowners also should check to be sure it offers the compatibility they need.