Wednesday, October 27, 2010

D.I.Y.D: Using Outlet Timers To Shut Down Power Vampires

Most of the time you are going to find me talking about developments that will eventually impact your lives. Despite the (hopefully) exciting nature of these developments, the vast majority of readers won’t experience the full benefits for some time.

That is where these D.I.Y.D (Do It Yourself, Damnit) posts come into play. I will regularly post things you can do in your daily lives that will save you money and help you lead a more sustainable lifestyle.

One of the most common suggestions made when talking about methods to reduce your energy consumption around the house is to connect your energy hungry appliances (televisions, entertainment systems, etc) to a surge protector and turn the protector off when you are not using the appliances.

While this is a great suggestion and does provide a noticeable level of relief on your electric bill, it can become somewhat of a hassle. This is especially noticeable when you have a large entertainment system or computer system that is constantly draining power, but to unplug it when you aren’t using it means you would have to move a large desk (or in some college student’s cases, an elaborate systems of milk crates).

To help make it easier to stick to this plan, go out and buy an outlet timer and plug your surge protector into it. These allow you to set certain times during the week where the timer will switch off the surge protector for you.

An example of this would be that you have your outlet timer switch everything off during the hours you are at work and at night while you sleep. Timers are relatively cheap and eliminate the ‘I can’t believe I forgot to switch off my entertainment system…again’ moments.
You may ask, “But dude, what if I am playing Halo: Reach on Xbox at 3 AM and the timer shuts off my system. Won’t that lose all my progress?”
To this concern I respond, “Well, person who still says ‘dude,’ I would be more concerned about playing video games at 3 AM, go to bed.”
Yes, it is convenient to have your entertainment system supplied with power all the time because you can turn it on at will, but these are also some of the largest unnecessary drains on power found in households.

By introducing a little discipline to your life, an outlet timer becomes a small and effective step towards making your home more energy efficient, and will make the wait for new energy technologies to become available less strenuous (while also developing some good habits along the way).

1 comment:

  1. Great idea! Im totally going to use this for my apartment.