What a waste
Martin Rowe, Senior Technical Editor- November 1, 2000
Lately, I’ve been looking around at how much electricity I waste. I’m not talking about leaving the lights on when I exit a room. I’m talking about those AC/DC power supplies that nearly everything uses—from PC speakers to baby monitors.
Even when you shut the equipment off, you’re burning electricity because the power supply’s transformer is still connected to the wall outlet. Don’t believe me? Try plugging one of those supplies into the wall without connecting it to anything else. Come back an hour later and feel the warmth.
I started looking for ways to cut electricity uses in my home. It’s more difficult than I thought. I unplug my PC speakers’ power supply, but only because the outlet is above the computer table. If the outlet were below the table, I would have to get on my knees to unplug the power supply and would probably bump my head on the table in the process.
My powered FM antenna doesn’t even have a power switch. Not only is the antenna’s power supply always heating the room, but the antenna circuitry always draws power, too. I have a switched power strip, but I mounted it in an almost inaccessible place inside the locked stereo cabinet for safety reasons.
Then, there’s the baby monitor. The transmitter stays on 24 hours because if I shut it off and unplug the power supply in the morning, I’ll surely forget to reconnect it before my daughter’s bedtime.
For the monitor’s receiver, I have two power supplies—one for each floor. The upstairs supply stays connected 24 hours a day because the outlet is inaccessible (again for safety reasons). At least I can unplug the downstairs supply when it’s not in use.
I often leave my home PC on for hours because Windows takes so long to load. Even when “powered down,” my home PC draws power. One of the keyboard LEDs stays on unless I remove AC power from the system unit.
So how can we cut this waste? Switched power strips help. I’ve started regularly throwing the switch on my PC’s power strip. Let’s look for ways to unplug or switch off these power supplies. We’ll save money and use less energy. T&MW