This handy little device is called “Kill A Watt”. I have one. It’s been very educational. You can buy them at most any hardware store and our local library will even check one out to you for free.
What is does is measure the amount of electricity flowing to any device: computer, TV, DVD player, stereo. You may or may not know this, but many devices draw electricity even when they are off. If you have a tv with a remote, it’s sucking electricity 24/7. All so you can have that “instant on” feature we absolutely can’t live without (forgive the sarcasm). This post meshes well with our thirty second rule I talked about earlier, only it could be almost a 24/7 rule.
It’s estimated that about 10% of our electricity use in our homes goes to phantom power. and that might not seem like much, but would you enjoy getting a check in the mail for 10% of your electricity use each month? I would.
Newer TVs and devices can get an Energy Star rating, and that’s better, but plug strips are becoming very popular. We have a TV/DVD/Apple TV in our bedroom. The TV and DVD are Energy Star and draw barely 1 to 3 watts while off (that’s not bad, but two devices x 3 watts x 24 hours x 365 days adds up). Plus, as big a fan as I am of Apple, our Apple TV (an older model, I’m an early adopter), was drawing 29 watts just sitting there!
So I got a plug strip. After, all, it’s not often we watch TV in bed, so even the 3 watts was more than we wanted to consume. Now, when we want to watch TV, I click on the plug strip. The down side is instead of instant on, I have to wait about 15 – 20 seconds. What’s unbelievable about this is that in our culture we would actually notice that. We should all just step back, take a deep breath and relax. We’d all be healthier for it.
I recommend you get or borrow a Kill A Watt and check out the phantom power in your home. It may be educational for you, too.