When it comes to saving energy and electricity bills in a home, large items like washing machines, refrigerators, and air conditioners often come to mind. These are the appliances with one of the highest electricity consumption in a typical home. In fact, they are good places to start looking for opportunities to save substantial energy.

That said, it's also important not to overlook the electrical consumption of various electronics around the house. Many of these units may appear small with few moving mechanical parts. Intuitively, you may think that they can't possibly use that much electricity. However, this is not always true. When using an electricity monitor, some people found that their particular TV and cable box combination consumed more energy than their refrigerator. Therefore, seemingly small electronic equipment can generate surprises in terms of energy consumption. Furthermore, even if these individual electronic items are small users of electricity, their collective energy consumption adds up to a considerable amount because there are usually a considerable number of them in a typical home.

So let's take a look at a TV and its peripherals and see what we can do to save money there. TV peripherals generally include things like cable box, DVD player, VCR player, game console, etc. When these items are not in use, they are generally in some kind of standby mode, drawing some power from the electrical circuit. This reserve energy is effectively wasted. Standby power is estimated to represent about 5% of the electricity bill in a typical home.

Note that these peripheral equipment works in conjunction with the TV turned on. It makes no sense that they are on when the TV is off. So wouldn't it be nice to have a device that automatically cuts the power supply to these TV peripherals when the TV is off? This way, the peripherals won't consume wasted standby power without doing anything.

Fortunately, there is such a device. A manufacturer has created a smart power strip that offers not only surge protection, but also automatic switching technology. Like a normal power strip, it has multiple outlets. However, one of the outputs is a control output while most of the remaining outputs are controlled outputs. To set it up, simply connect your main equipment, in this case, the TV, to the control jack. Then connect the peripherals to the controlled outlets. Now, every time you turn off the TV, the power strip detects the reduced current draw at the control output and cuts power to the controlled outputs, thus turning off the peripherals.

This arrangement can be repeated with a computer and its peripherals. This time, connect the computer to the control jack and the peripherals such as a monitor, printer, scanner, speakers, modem, etc. to controlled intakes. Now when you turn off the computer or put it on standby, the smart power strip turns off the computer's peripherals.

You can see that a smart strip not only protects you from power surges but also solves the problem of standby power waste, saving you money and energy.