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September 27, 2013

Cheap ways to save on energy costs

October is Energy Awareness Month. As the cold months approach, we naturally start thinking of how to lower our heating costs. But, there are other costs associated with our use of energy, and some may be easy to reduce.

The number of electronic devices we use has grown exponentially in the last decade. Most homes have multiples of some devices, and a varied selection of others. Everything from televisions to cell phones, tablets, computers, and games.

Many of these devices, even when turned off, may be wasting energy. According to EPA’s Energy Star, in the average home, “75 percent of the electricity used to power home electronics and appliances is consumed while the products are turned off.”

So, wouldn’t a device that can help to minimize the cost of running all those other devices seem like a good investment? Turns out, there is such a device. It’s called an APS or “advanced power strip” and it can help save money and energy by reducing standby power consumption. The nice thing is that these are not terribly expensive devices.

According to Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships (, these power strips have two types of technologies, Tier 1 and Tier 2. Tier 1 strips have three types of sockets: switched, control, and always on. The switched socket is for devices such as a home theater, stereo, DVD player, printer, etc. Those devices will get shut down when the “control” device (TV, game console, computer) is turned off. The “always on” sockets are for devices that need to always be on, such as the cable or satellite box). Using an APS would immediately reduce the amount of energy that is simply wasted in our homes each day. Tier 2 APS products also address active power consumption, in addition to reducing standby power consumption. A YouTube video is available on how these products are used:

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