**UPDATE** Discounted smart strips available through our friends at Energy Federation Inc.
Today I helped audit a home in Waltham. The family had a large, but not unusually large entertainment center. TV, DVR, DVD player and one or two other gizmos.
When everything was turned OFF the system was pulling 140 watts. That is $280 each year — if always off!
If you are buying/receiving electronics for the holidays this year, or if you’ve got some in your house already, do yourself a favor and get a smart strip.
There are many on the market, some are smart, some are wicked smart, and some are just plain old power strips. If you have a DVR, you want to make sure that is, unfortunately, always drawing power so you can record your favorite Seinfeld episodes at 3 am automatically. Smart strips have at least one port for items that need to draw power all the time.
Alternatively, you can plug your DVR directly into the wall and put everything else on a plain jane power strip that costs $10, as long as you remember to flip the switch before you go to bed.
Afraid you’ll forget to flip the switch? Smart strips will turn everything off automatically when you turn off the TV.
In many communities you can borrow a kill-a-watt from the library for free to see how much energy various items around your home are drawing.
So is it worth spending $30 to save $250 each year? You do the math.