How would you feel if you have to pay for something that you didn’t even use? Most people will feel bad unless they have a lot of money that they don’t care about. Paying for standby power or vampire power is one such thing. In one of our previous article (Switch off the Plug Point) we talked about standby power. Standby power or vampire power is the “electricity” that you do not consume but you still pay for. Many appliances like television, set top boxes, music systems, computers, etc. consume electricity till they are switched off from the main plug point. And thus you may end up paying for something you did not use. To check how much a device may consume on standby check this link from Lawrence Berkeley lab: Standby Power Summary.
How Power Strips or Surge Protectors can help
Power strips or surge protectors also known as extension blocks have been in use for quite some time. Most people use them along with desktop computers and/or modems/laptops. They have multiple electrical power points that can be controlled from one single main electrical socket. It not just provides multiple connections from one point but also ensures the safety of the appliances by making sure that the safe amount of current is flowing through the appliances.
Typically most people like to hide the wires hanging around for various appliances and thus most electrical points are hidden thus making it very inconvenient to switch off the appliances from main. Instead with a power strip a single plug point that is visible can be used, with the power strip and all the other wires hidden from the view. This allows for an easy way of hiding the wires along with managing the power supply of various appliances.
Smart or Energy Saving power strips can help further
These days, smart or energy saving power strips is also available in the market. These power strips have inbuilt logic to automatically cut off the power supply when the amount of electricity drawn by the appliances go down by a certain limit. With a special designed sensor circuit they cutoff the power from mains when the electricity drawn is less than certain threshold.
As these strips are dependent on the wattage, one has to make sure that the stand by power of the appliance is not more than the wattage specified for the strip. In case the appliance connected has more standby power then it may not work. For e.g. if the wattage limit is 30 W and a plasma television having standby power more than that is connected to it, it may not work. So one has to make sure that the right kind of appliances are connected to the power strip.
Some strips also have dual control mechanism i.e. some of the points switch off automatically and some do not. These are good when you want to connect a TV and a DVR from the same power strip, but you do not want DVR to switch off automatically as it may be recording some programs. But still the TV switches off automatically because of the smart strip.
As the smart power strips are a little expensive in India currently (most of them are imported), one should try to use a regular power strip, if one has a habit of switching off plug points. Try smart power strips only if there is heavy use of appliances and they are left switched on for very long period of time. These strips are good for use in offices, and can help save good amount of standby power, as the tariff rates for electricity are also higher for commercial connections.
Some Good Surge Protectors
About the Author:
Abhishek Jain is an Alumnus of IIT Bombay with almost 10 years of experience in corporate before starting Bijli Bachao in 2012. His passion for solving problems moved him towards Energy Sector and he is keen to learn about customer behavior towards Energy and find ways to influence the same towards Sustainability. More from this author.