Now that you’ve been thoroughly horrified, it’s time to make like Van Helsing and hunt these energy vampires down, one by one. Thankfully, the answer to ending idle current usage isn’t unplugging every appliance in your house (although that’s arguably the simplest solution). There are several ways to not only track energy vampires, but prevent them from using energy when they’re not in use.
This clever little gadget fits between your electronic device and the power outlet, and lights up when power’s running through it. Simply flip a switch on the side of the plug to sever the flow of power from the wall to your device.
These clever chargers from Bracketron detect when a connected device is fully charged or unplugged, automatically shutting themselves off and thus consuming no idle power as a result. The Mushroom model includes an integrated cable, and is available in three models that are compatible with different types of portable devices. The Stone charger, meanwhile, is compatible with USB mobile devices and sports a a foldable, snag-free design so that it can be easily carried in a purse or bag. (While you’re at it, check out the laptop chargers by iGO as well.)
Most of us have too many gadgets to survive on two hole outlets. As a result, we load up six or more plugs into a power strip and pray the surge protection holds. Unfortunately, most of these strips employ an all or nothing strategy: either all the plugs are powered or they’re all turned off. Some smart power strips allow selective powering of individual outlets, while at the same time eliminating vampire energy when the devices aren’t in use. Some especially promising models include the GreenGenius, TrickleStrip, iRemoTap, and ZuniDigital’s “Smart Green Surge Protector.”
Other ways to vanquish vampire energy include:
- Changing the settings on your computer so that system standby and hibernate features are enabled both in the Battery (DC) and Power Adapter (AC) settings, That way they’ll work whether the computer is plugged in or running on battery.
- Turning off the clock display for non-essential appliances like coffee makers, microwaves, and ovens.
- Some appliances, like refrigerators, ovens, and washing machines, can’t be unplugged. Start off on the right foot by replacing outdated versions with Energy Star-rated alternatives to use less power right from the start.
How have you dealt with energy vampires at your home or office? Tell us in comment!
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