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Do Power Strips Save Energy? What Are the Different Types?

power strip

Do you know your appliances consume energy even when you’re not using them? That’s the “vampire load” or “vampire energy” phenomenon. It refers to the devices you leave on standby or sleep mode while plugging in. You may realize it or not, but this may account for hundreds of dollars on your energy bills every year.

However, you can reduce this energy loss with power strips. No, not the traditional ones, but the smart ones. Traditional power strips only let you plug in multiple devices but don’t stop them from using the power when not in use. On the other hand, smart power strips can actually cut off power and save energy side by side.

Wondering how it works? This post will answer your queries about power strips and their exceptional energy efficiency feature. Let’s dive in.

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Traditional vs. Smart Power Strips: Which Saves Energy?

Not all types of power strips can help you save energy. For example, opting for traditional power strips will give you more outlets to plug in devices.

Suppose you leave your devices on standby mode instead of removing them. In that case, you may worsen your energy loss problem as you have just increased your power consumption. Smart power strips, however, can detect devices on standby mode and cut down the power supply. As a result, you save energy even when you forget to remove the devices from power.

So, if energy-saving is on your mind, opt for smart or advanced power strips instead of traditional ones. The former is also environmentally friendly. However, we can’t say for all the smart power strip models. Some might also use energy on standby mode.

power strip
Image Credit: Piqsels

Can Smart Power Strips Save You Money?

Americans are estimated to lose about $200 annually in power losses. Smart power strips can help you curb electricity usage between 20%–50%¹. As a result, you can save a significant amount of money in the long run.

However, that’s not always the case. You need to choose the suitable power strip model, ensure it is energy efficient, and probably turn it off after use.

Should You Turn Off Your Smart Power Strips After Using Them?

You can save money and power by turning off your devices after using them. This means whether you’re using a smart power strip or a traditional one, it’s better to turn it off when not in use. But does it make a significant difference in your total power consumption? The shortest answer is not much.

woman turning on power strip
Image Credit: Devenorr, Shutterstock

This little amount of energy that power strips consume is called phantom energy. Over time, the cost of this phantom energy keeps adding up to your bill and may cost you hundreds of dollars annually.

Whether you leave all or just a few devices plugged into your power strip, doing it for the entire day can cost you money. If energy efficiency is your primary concern, it’s better to turn off your power strip when you’re not using it.

Are Power Strips Environmentally Friendly?

Experts argue that the energy consumed by vampire load is enough to power 11 million homes in the US. An average US household releases approximately 4,000 pounds of CO2¹. So, the vampire load is expected to account for 44 billion pounds of CO2 emissions annually.

If you’re concerned about the environment, you’d know it’s not a good sign for the future. Although not exactly the solution, power strips (especially smart devices) can save the environment from this disaster by reducing the vampire load. However, as we discussed, not all models will give these results. So, always go for the quality ones.

close up plugging in a cord to the outlet
Image Credit: Clint Patterson, Unsplash

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Conclusion

Power strips help plug in multiple devices to a single power source. However, it may contribute to the vampire load. Thus, if energy-saving is on your mind, it’s better to stay away from traditional power strips and opt for smart ones.

Smart power strips detect devices on standby and cut off their power supply. This helps save energy and significant money on your bills. However, only quality smart power strips perform this function.

Simply put, smart power strips can help you save energy, but always use them properly. If you’re still unsure, turn the device off when not in use.


Featured Image Credit: anmbph, Shutterstock

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